Every year we read once again of the journey of the Wise Men from the East who came so far to find the new-born King that they might worship Him. Every year our attention is focused on that mysterious star which they somehow knew marked the Savior’s birth, and set them off on their long and difficult journey. We remember that following their stop in Jerusalem, where they were directed from the Scriptures to turn to Bethlehem, that “behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him” (Mt. 2:9-11).
Over the centuries that have passed since the Wise Men made that epic journey to seek out and worship the Savior of all the world, there has been much speculation about that star. Was it an alignment of planets? Probably not. How would that lead them to the home where Jesus was? Was it a special star prepared by God for this purpose? In one way or another it was prepared by God, and it was used by Him to lead these first pilgrims from the Gentile nations to the infant Savior’s presence that they might worship Him.
Can we follow that star? That wondrous star served its purpose. It focused the attention of the Gentile nations upon another even more glorious and far more spectacular Star. Jesus tells us plainly in Revelation: “I am . . . the Bright and Morning Star” (22:16).
That is the Star which the Wise Men sought out. We have been brought to the brightness of this Star by the calling of the Holy Spirit. Even as God guided and directed the travels of the Wise Men through their earthly pilgrimage that they might bow the knee before the Christchild, so also God has directed our lives that He might lead us to know the glory of our Savior’s birth. We have seen the glory of the true Star of Bethlehem, the glory of salvation for all the peoples of the earth. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined” (Is. 9:2).
The words of Simeon also point us to the light of our Savior: “My eyes have seen Your salvation which You have prepared before the face of all people, a light to bring salvation to the Gentiles and the glory of Your people Israel” (Lk. 2:30-32).
These words of Simeon remind us of another prophecy recorded by Isaiah, and how its fulfillment began with the coming of the Wise Men and continues with our own coming to seek Jesus. Isaiah spoke to Zion saying: “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 shall 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” (Is. 60:1-3).
Without doubt the light that brought glory to Zion was the light of our Savior’s birth. His lowly birth in this sinful world brought a glorious light to all the world.
May we “Follow That Star” all our days until we reach the eternal glory which He shall reveal to us in heaven.
–Pastor Theodore Barthels