“Artaban” I smiled and told beautiful eyes
“Artaban? What Artaban?” I thought he looked pretty cute when he tried to squint his already tiny eyes
“Not What Artaban. It is Who is Artaban” I replied sheepishly
“Nah” I almost screamed. How could even think that I have another boyfriend, when he is all I ever really wanted.
“Then?” He was staring at me
“Do you know the story of the three wise men in the bible?”I asked him
“yes” he nodded his head
“Well, Artaban was the fourth wise man. He was the one who always missed seeing Jesus while he searched for Jesus for 33 long years”
“Really? Where did you read it? It was never mentioned in the bible, was it?”
“I read the story many many years ago and every time I hear the story of the three wise men, I think of Artaban”
“Don’t know, may be that for some people the journey of life is pretty easy and for others life is a struggle”
Beautiful eyes was looking at me and I asked him
“Do you want to know the story of Artaban?”
“Artaban, like the other three magi was a Zoroastrian proficient in Astronomy and medicine”
“yes, they were. Artaban saw the star of Bethlehem rising and he knew it signified the birth of the promised messiah of the Hebrews. He and the other three magi decided to take gifts and meet the new born king. They were to leave at a pre determined time and follow the star. Artaban sold everything he owned and bought the most expensive blue Sapphire, a red ruby and a white pearl as a gift for the new born baby.
On the day of departure he straddled his best horse and was few miles away from the meeting point, when he saw a man lying in the road and crying. He was sick and dehydrated. The astronomer in Artaban knew, he can’t waste another second, because his friends would leave very shortly. The physician in him knew, if he left the man, he would die”
“Which one would you chose?” I asked beautiful eyes. “Which path would you take? On one hand you have sold everything you owned for this journey, you are just miles away from the meeting point or would you help a sick man?”
“That is a difficult choice to make, isn’t it?” Beautiful eyes whispered
“Artaban chose to help the sick man, he took him to a nearby inn and stayed with the sick man and nursed him till he got better, but when it was time for him to leave, Inn keeper asked for money. Artaban didn’t have any money. He only three precious stones. He took the blue Sapphire from his bag and gave it to the inn keeper. Artaban consoled himself be thinking that he still had another two more stones to give as a gift.”
“Then what happened?”
“Artaban reached Bethlehem and the first house he saw, he went and knocked at the door. A woman opened the door and Artaban saw that she was crying”
“Why?” Beautiful eyes asked
“Why? Because king Herod ordered his soldiers to kill all the boys under the age of 2, hoping he can get rid of the new born king the other three magi came to see. The woman showed her son who was in the living room and begged Artaban to help her save her son’s life. Artaban looked outside, he could see Herod’s soldiers going through the houses looking for boys under the age of 2. So Artaban stood near the door. When the soldier came to check, he gave him the precious Ruby he bought as a gift for the newborn king. Soldier was happy to receive such an expensive Ruby, so he left without killing the baby. Artaban consoled himself thinking that he still had the precious pearl to give as gift to the new born king.
By then Jesus was already in Egypt, so Artaban travelled to Egypt. But again Artaban missed seeing Jesus. For 33 years, Artaban searched for Jesus. Finally he heard that Jesus was in Jerusalem and Artaban came to Jerusalem. It was the day of Jesus’s Crucification and the roads were full of people. Artaban desperately looked around to see Jesus. Then he saw a group of men dragging a slave girl, She looked at Artaban, because she was from the same place and pleaded to him, “Help me, my father borrowed money and couldn’t pay back. These people are taking me away in lieu of payment. Artaban only had one precious pearl with him. He had kept it for 33 years! But the girl’s crying touched his heart. He gave the pearl to the leader of the men as payment and freed the girl.
Suddenly there was an earthquake and slab of stone from the nearby building hit Artaban on his head. The girl whom Artaban saved, took his head and laid on her lap. Artaban was dying and he whispered “Lord, when did I ever feed you? When did I serve you, for 33 years I have looked for you, I never once saw you and a voice from heaven said
“Truly I say this to you, all that you ever did for your needy brothers you did for Me.”
I looked at beautiful eyes. He was deep in thought. Then he looked at me and asked
“What are you searching for Nina?”
I didn’t answer, because at that moment, I knew, that he knew the answer.
“Artaban” I smiled and told beautiful eyes