Among the obstacles faced by the Magi, perhaps the greatest was the sheer indifference of the Israelites themselves. And yet, the Magi persisted, seeking this new born King. Our essay is based on a sermon from St. Jean Marie Vianney.
Let us consider to what degree the persistence of the Wise men attained. On their arrival at Jerusalem, the star which had guided them on the journey disappeared. They imagined without doubt that they had reached the place where our Saviour was born, and so they expected that the whole of Jerusalem would be filled with joy at the birth of its Redeemer.
What astonishment was theirs to see that Jerusalem showed no signs of joy whatever and in fact, did not even know its Redeemer is born at all! The Jews are so surprised to see how the Wise men came to worship the Messiah, that the Wise men began to wonder why the event was announced to them at all. Instead of bolstering their hopes, it seemed to them that their faith was being tested. Was it not rather calculated to deter them from their journey, and to tempt them to return home secretly, for fear that they might become the laughing stock of Jerusalem?