As you listen to this variation of the story, put yourself in Artaban’s shoes; try to experience everything he does.
Artaban leaves his Palace with a pouch of precious gems for the new king. On his way to join the other three wise men, he meets a crippled mother and her sick child. He stops to help them. His act of kindness delays him just enough to miss the rendezvous with the other three men.
Artaban continues on, trying to make up time. But once again, he meets someone in need: a widow and three children. They have been evicted from their home. Artaban uses one of the precious gems to buy shelter and food for them.
Once again, he sets out. But once again, he meets someone in need. Artaban never does catch up with the others. Worse yet, he eventually gives away all his precious gems.
Years pass and Artaban grows old and feeble. He ends up far from his homeland in a city called Jerusalem. There he survives as a beggar.
One day Artaban sees a criminal being marched off to be crucified. His heart skips a beat. For some reason he feels very close to this unfortunate man. He wants to help him but can’t because he is too old and feeble. Artaban is broken-hearted.
As the victim approaches the place where Artaban is standing, he turns, looks at Artaban, and says, “Don’t be broken-hearted Artaban; you have been helping me all your life.”
For a few minutes, just rest there, experiencing how Artaban felt at that moment.