Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah,
Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah;
For out of you shall come forth a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:1-6)
There is a lot of tradition surrounding the magi. For example, Christmas carols have been written about the three kings who visited the Christ-child. However, Scripture says nothing about this. What we know for certain is that these visitors were wise men, perhaps astronomers. Additionally, speculation has considered the presence of “His star,” as referred to by the magi. Scholars suggest it might have been a comet, an alignment of planets, or perhaps an actual star. Whatever the case, what is important is that the “star” is referred to as Christ’s star, because it fulfilled the function of lighting the way to the Lord. Likewise, we too must be Christ’s light in the world, leading others to Him.
Consider the magi’s reaction to the news of Christ’s birth. Upon receiving the news of the Lord’s arrival they responded with full-hearted devotion, traveling a great distance to ﬁnd Him through a journey that would probably have taken several months, if not a couple of years. Once they arrived, the magi were ready to worship the King. Contrast that with Herod’s response. He only wanted to ﬁnd Jesus in order to kill Him.
Following Jesus’ birth, the small town of Bethlehem had even more incredible honor of identifying itself as the birthplace of the Messiah!
- In what ways can you be more like the star of Bethlehem as it guided the magi to the place of Jesus’ birth?
- Herod was threatened by Jesus. Is there someone you know who feels threatened by Jesus? How can you reach out to that person?