We have all read the Christmas story many times, but do we really know what it says? Have we looked deep into the Scriptures to see the new treasures of truth God has for us as we learn about the birth of Jesus. As I opened God’s Word to write this, I asked Him to show me a new truth, something I’d missed regarding the visit of the Magi—the Wise Men. The more I studied, the more I learned. It made me realize that all these years I had been relying on the story I had been taught as a child–and not what the Scripture actually states.
History traces the lineage of the Wise Men to the time of Daniel. Some theologians believe Daniel actually taught them the prophecy regarding the coming of Jesus Christ. The Wise Men, Gentiles and astrologists, were known as being “king makers.” Matthew gives this account as additional proof that Jesus is Sovereign King not only by His lineage, but by the fact He is worshipped by those who knew He was the prophesied King.
Matthew begins with the Wise Men’s visit with Herod, who held the title “King of the Jews.” No wonder Herod was agitated to learn the Wise Men were looking for [Him] who has been born King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-8). The Wise Men said “for we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” If you were a king maker wouldn’t you first look in the royal city of Jerusalem for the King who was to come?
Tucked in the book of Numbers I read: “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob” (24:17a). The word for star is ‘astēr’ and it means “His blazing forth, His shekinah glory.” Throughout the Old Testament the glory of God is manifested by blazing light. It was the glory of God which lead the Israelites, filled the temple and hovered over the Holy of Holies. This blazing star was the glory of God, the sign of the Son of man.
The Wise Men had come to the general area, but “after hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was” (vs.9). This is the reason they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. In the Greek it means right before their very eyes they saw the star in its rising. Also note that Jesus is no longer a baby in a manager but a child somewhere under the age of two (see Matthew 2:16).
“After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him” (vs. 11). Try to imagine what this experience must have been like. Here is the star, the shekinah glory of God, hovering over your head. You approach this humble abode, step through the front door, and immediately you come face-to-face with the Child, God’s only begotten Son. Everything within you cries out “O Worship the King”! Then, once you regain your composure, you present your gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
This year why not use the Nativity scene as an opportunity to share with others His story of love, salvation, and redemption? Explain how the star represents God’s blaze of glory and how the Wise Men (which should be positioned away from the manger in the Nativity scene), travelled to worship the Sovereign King.
He has come and He is coming again. One day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (Phil 2:9-11)! Like the Wise Men, we will all worship the King.
TO PONDER IN YOUR HEART: May I find a new truth about the old, old story this Christmas season.