“Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews? We saw the star when it rose and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:2
In most nativity scenes, you will find the presence of three wise men offering gifts to baby Jesus. Although they were never at the actual manger (their visit was later), they are included in the nativity scene because they are an important part of the Christmas story. Scripture tells us that a star led them to Jesus. But why were they following a star to begin with? How did they know about the birth of this Jewish King? The answer to these questions may shock you.
The first time that Magi (wise men) are ever mentioned in the Bible is in the book of Daniel. Daniel was a Jewish exile that was taken captive by the Babylonians. Daniel 2:48 tells us that Daniel was placed in charge over all of the Magi in Babylon. There is no question they heard from Daniel about God’s plans to send a Messiah to the Jewish nation. Many Jews remained in Babylon after the exile, and their teachings were passed down from generation to generation. These teachings came from the scriptures that Daniel and the Jews would have had in their possession (the Torah) along with the Book that Daniel, himself, wrote.
Remember, the wise men were stargazers. They took their cues about life, death, the present, and the future from the stars. These astrologers would compare what they saw in the sky with what they read in the Jewish scriptures. So when they read in Numbers 24:17 that, “A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel,” it was plain to them that a Great King would come and be announced by the brilliant light of some type of an astronomical light.
But why did they follow this specific star…this specific light? The answer is because in Daniel 9:26 he foretold that the Messiah would come 490 years after the command to rebuild the Temple had been given. The wise men were able to calculate back and realize that this was the time on God’s clock for the Messiah to come. These men made a journey of several hundred miles through distance, difficulty, and danger because they chose to believe God’s Word.
It really wasn’t the star that led these men to Jesus; it was the Scripture that led them to the star that led them to Jesus. The world tells us there is a God. The Word tells us who this God is and how we can get to Him.
Application: Have you, like the wise men, believed the Word of God and followed it to the Son of God?