Bible Reading: Matthew 2:1-10
The wise men were heathen astrologers from the east. They had undoubtedly observed in their study of the stars the appearance of a new star in the heavens. Upon inquiring about its possible meaning, they must have been informed of the ancient prophecy of the mysterious Prophet Balaam: “I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel…” (Numbers 24:17). Thus, the wise men came to Jerusalem in search of Israel’s new born King.
I find it incredibly ironic that heathen astrologers sought the newborn Christ, while Jerusalem was ignorant about Him, King Herod was threatened by Him, and Israel’s priests and scribes were indifferent to Him, which is proven by the fact that they didn’t even bother to travel six miles to Bethlehem. Perhaps, this explains to us why the Scripture calls these pagan priests wise men. It is simply because they alone sought Christ, as all wise men still do.
Notice, three things about the star of Bethlehem. First, it was a sign that Jesus had come (v. 2). Second, it was a source of “great joy” (v. 10). And finally, it showed the way to Christ (v. 9).
In Daniel 12:3, we are told that the “wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.” It is Christians who serve as the stars of Bethlehem in the world today. It is our lives that should serve as signs or proof that Christ has come. It is our testimony that should provide a source of great joy to an otherwise joyless world. And it is our witnessing that should show men the way to Christ.
Are you shining for Christ today? Does your life and testimony prove that Christ has come, provide others with a source of great joy, and point this world to the unspeakable gift that God gave on that first Christmas day? If not, why has your star fallen and what will it take to restore it to God’s firmament where it can once again turn others to righteousness and shine brightly forever and ever?
We three kings of Orient are
Bearing gifts we traverse afar
Field and fountain, moor and mountain
Following yonder star
O Star of wonder, star of night
Star with royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy Perfect Light. (Rev. John Henry Hopkins)