Letters to the Family of God
by Joe Franzone | December 15, 2022 | Pastor's Blog
December 15, 2022
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
When King Herod heard this, he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “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.’”
Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
What are we to think about this star? We find it mentioned only in Matthew's Gospel. Nevertheless, it continues to captivate people. Especially at this time of year, articles are written or reposted suggesting the star's possible kind.
Matthew gives us no insight other than it was a star. However, three views have attracted the most attention.
One view is the star was a comet. We know that Halley’s Comet appears around every 75 years. It would have appeared around 12 BC, too early for the birth of Jesus. But comets can appear and then disappear for thousands of years. Maybe this was one?
A second view was the star they say could have been a planet. Jupiter and Saturn converging, to be exact, taking place every 20 years.
At that time, Jupiter was understood to represent royalty and Saturn the west. The convergence, some have said, of King (Jupiter) is coming in the west (Saturn). The wise men were from the east and were heading west.
The third view is the star was a nova or supernova produced by an astral explosion. Around 5 BC, such a thing took place.
These views are interesting, but the Bible shows no keen interest beyond the fact there was a star. Its only claim to fame was it served as a marker that helped lead the wise men to Jesus.
But the wise men needed more than a star. The astronomical event was paired with theological truth. The providence of God here is nothing short of remarkable. The wise men were heading into unknown danger in Herod’s palace. But this would give them their final clue needed. The teaching of Scripture!
The very ones who wanted nothing to do with the Messiah gave the scripture Herod used to create his evil ploy (vs.12,16), but also sent the wise men to worship the Messiah.
Herod's intentions were criminal, yet God used an evil man with homicidal intentions to send the wise men where they needed to go—Bethlehem.
But this is not new. God’s sovereign purposes cannot be frustrated. Moses had Pharoah, Nehemiah had Sanballat, Tobiah, and Geshem. Paul had Judaizers and Jesus the Pharisees. Nevertheless, with all the cruelty, contempt, and evil scheming of their advisories, God sustained them, and not one of God’s purposes was prevented.
Take heart, Christian. Pharaoh did not break Moses. Nehemiah closes his letter with a humble and confident prayer. Paul would write near the end of his last letter the Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly Kingdom. (2 Timothy 4:18) Jesus is on His throne, and the wise men worshipped this same Jesus (v.11), giving Him gifts; with a safe return home.
I hope your Christmas season is very meaningful and wonderful.