What a joy it is to celebrate the birth of our Savior. His birth was like none other in history. This divine birth was marked by many miracles prophesied of old. One of the most intriguing and questioned miracles is the Star of Bethlehem. It is one of my favorite things to study, and I have done so for more than 10 years.
Matt. 2:1-12 “Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time, some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.” King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. He asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?” “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’” Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!” After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.” NLT
Though this star is an amazing miracle, we must not forget that Jesus Christ is the true star of Bethlehem.
Balaam prophesied of His coming in the early days of Israel. Numbers 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near. A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel. He will crush the foreheads of Moab, the skulls of all the people of Sheth.” A star will come out of Jacob…the light of the World. It should not surprise us that God used a celestial miracle to mark the birth of our Lord. Psalm 19:1 tells us that “the heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
The coming of the Messiah, God come to earth, the forgiveness of sin, and the ultimate restoration of our sinless world surely affect even the cosmos. The light of the world has come.
First, let’s look at the problem…What was it? Secularists point to the star as an impossibility.
Yes, a new star is possible, but not likely, and it certainly could not point to a house. Of course, this opinion discounts the miraculous power of our God. There are generally four accepted possibilities of what this star was.
Planets moved in retrograde motion.
A comet that’s tale pointed to the house.
The formation of a new divinely appointed star.
Or the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, reminiscent of the pillar of cloud and fire.
In the end, the star was simply a miracle.
Second, we look at the purpose. What was it for? We know, of course, that the star served to point the Wiseman to Christ. The light pointed to the light. In his gospel, John uses this analogy, stating, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” John 1:9-10 The light of Christ still shines in our dark world. Interestingly, Paul refers to us as stars serving the same purpose. Phil. 2:15 “so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky” We are to be stars shining in the heavens pointing people to Christ just as the Star of Bethlehem did.
Third, let’s look at the precedent. Will it happen again? His first coming was marked by this star. His second coming will also be marked by signs in the heavens. Acts 2:19-20 “I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.” Rev. 1:7 ““Look, he is coming with the clouds,” and “every eye will see him, even those who pierced him”; and all peoples on earth “will mourn because of him.” So, shall it be! Amen.” When God leaves His throne and the splendor of heaven to enter into our fallen world…all of nature is affected.
We wait as we see the signs in the heavens that mark the soon return of our Lord. Each Christmas, the miracle of the star reminds us that Christ is the Light of the World, it should motivate us to be lights pointing to Christ, and it should challenge us as we see the signs of His return. It should also remind us that our God is a God of the miraculous. Those things that man cannot understand or explain are simple for our God. The greatest gift, the greatest miracle you can experience in your life, is salvation. Jesus, the light must come into your life and change you.
Peter says it like this, 2 Peter 1:19 “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts.”
This Christmas season, allow the morning star to rise anew in your heart.