No Ordinary Star, No Ordinary Child (Matthew 2)

11:30 AM

Matthew 2

The story of the Magi is a well known Christmas story full of mystery and wonder. The story centers on a special star and a special child. It displays God’s sovereign control, even in dark times, over the prevailing outcome of worldly events and the triumph of His plan for mankind. 

The Magi were considered “ wise men” from the East. There is much we do not know about them. We do not know exactly how many traveled, or from exactly what place or exactly how far, or exactly how long it took to get there. But, we do know they traveled at least 100s of miles from the East and it was in response to a star they were convinced represented the birth of a special king. And not just any king but specifically the King of the Jews. One has to wonder if they were perplexed when they got to Jerusalem and no one knew about this child they kept inquiring about, not even Herod. 

The star they followed could not have been an ordinary star to ignite such a special journey that took time and resources and for which they brought special gifts to honor a child with. In fact, they knew it was special and called it “His star”.  The Bible seems to indicate that this star reappeared to them in Jerusalem and guided them to the exact location of the Christ child. This is mysterious too: “How could a star in the universe go before the wise men? It could not. Bethlehem is to the south of Jerusalem. Stars do not move south; they move west. Also, stars do not settle over houses, as this one did.” (The Wise Men and the Star, By Eric Hovind.) No one can agree on the exact events that would have created such a special “star” in the night sky during that ancient time. In fact, some believe it may not have been a star at all but the Shekinah glory of God.  Whatever it was, God was in control of it! 

Why did these Magi travel to worship a baby as a future King of Israel if they were not from Israel? Well, many believe that they were familiar with the Israelite prophecies from back when Daniel was given a position in the Medo-Persian empire as ruler over the Magi of that time.  They referenced prophecy:  ““In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: “ ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’ ”” (5-6‬) They acted on belief in God’s Word. 

This was not the only prophecy fulfilled in this story and concerning this child. Because Herod was a self proclaimed “ King of the Jews” and a brutal, fearful, power hungry man, this small child was a disturbing threat to him and he determined to kill him. But God sent his parents to Egypt to keep him safe, fulfilling prophecy:  “where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: “Out of Egypt I called my son.”” (v15)

And prophecy was fulfilled again upon their return to Israel: 

“But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets, that he would be called a Nazarene.” (v22-23‬)

So, you see, God knew from the beginning exactly how events would play out and how this special child would fulfill His prophecies.  The Magi were more in tune to God’s words and prophecies than the Israelites at that time. What a special privilege they were granted, to personally encounter and worship the Savior of the World.  

There are many applications from this story to encourage us today. God’s Word reveals His plans for His people. God is at work in all events, even the troubling events of our modern world. Evil people in positions of power can not thwart His purposes or plans. Those who know His Word, trust His Word and act upon His Word get front row seats to see Him in action as He reveals Himself to those who seek Him. 

“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)

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