Where is he that is born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. Matthew 2:2
To me, one of the most wonderful and mysterious signs of the unfolding Nativity story is the majestic, noble star. The spectacular luminary was a definite, unmistakable sign and wonder. It was a beauty. Amid all the hurrying and scurrying, words, promises and journeying happening on the ground, it moved with a fierce and silent dignity, to Jesus, Immanuel.
We see no star directly prophesied. The closest we come is the reference in Isaiah 60:1-3
Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
We can only wonder at the events that brought this divine shining to the attention of Eastern Maji. What was unique about it? Ancient astrologers frequently marked heavenly phenomenon as part of their religion, but what distinguished this one to them as belonging to the Jews, marking the birth of a king and provoking the need to follow? Not only that, there’s the practical question “How does one follow a star?
The presence of this stellar singularity set in motion more than three seeking sages. It provoked the jealous wrath of a king. Herod suddenly and violently enters the equation with an abundance of oily charm, subtle scheming and murderous motives. Suddenly, the humble birth is encompassed by powerful gentiles, wealth, power, prestige and peril. Enter, the Villain. The Lord leads them, through the star right to the vulnerable babe. Why?
Though the Messiah was born into the sanctity of the Jewish culture, the joy of his birth was for everyone. “Joy to the World”. That’s what the angels sang, and the star brought the revelation to those beyond the borders of Israel. Grace and truth flooded the earth. The star was God’s Grand Gesture, to mark an otherwise subliminal event, missed by most.
In our day, the brilliance of the natal star seems overshadowed by the glaring strobe of celebrity, politics, and other luminaries of fame. The gloom of two prolonged years of pandemic has obscured our vision. We seem to be fumbling around in the darkness. Where are you, God? Why so silent? When will you send salvation? A Deliverer? We need direction. We need a star.
The star represents presence, revelation, illumination, direction. Ever since Jesus came to earth, it has not gone out. Amazingly, as New Testament saints, the light that shone that day has now become part of our inheritance. Believers carry the star. We are the light, the unquenchable, incorruptible illumination of righteousness to the world. In several places in the Gospel, the Lord clearly tells us we are godly illumination to the earth, and we must not let our light go out. It’s a considerable responsibility. How bright are you feeling lately? What are you shining on?
Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, And those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever. Daniel 12:3
The thing about light is that a very, very little of it may be seen from a long way off. Soldiers in World Wars were forbidden to smoke on watch or patrol because the burn of single cigarette in the dark could give away their position to bombers or snipers. The heat of single candle for a stranded motorist is enough to keep them alive in their vehicle through a blinding blizzard. When the power goes out, who isn't scrambling, bumping shins on furniture for that match or flashlight? Light. We can’t live without it.
Though it may feel like it at times, the Lord has not left us without enlightenment. Simple faith radiates our souls constantly, faithfully, confirming His presence. His word is a powerful beam, searching both our hearts and the direction before us. When our courage fails, we keep walking where basic righteousness glows like a moon-lit path under our feet. Every now and again, there will be a star; a Rhema, prophetic word of such clarity, our journey may be immediately, dramatically altered.
Where is your star this season? Over what relationship is it shining? What path is clearest? What circumstances are leading you right now into a revelation of His majesty? Without fail, something is drawing you to your Messiah and helping you grapple with the enemies of fear and unbelief. Follow the star.
When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. Matthew 2:10
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