“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’ . . . . When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!”—Matthew 2:1–2, 10 (NLT)
Some people spend their whole lives searching. They search for the right job, the right man or the right woman, the right house, the right car. They search and search, yet oftentimes discover that it’s not easy to find what they're looking for. Sometimes, our searches take us far from home, across the world, to new and unfamiliar territory . . . just like the crew from the Enterprise on Star Trek!
The mission of the Enterprise is “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no one has gone before.” Like the characters in Star Trek, the wise men boldly went on a mission . . . they were in search of a King.
But who were these men? The word used in the Greek often referred to a group of wise men, likely Persian or Babylonian (“the East”) priests and astrologers, who devoted their time to interpreting signs and prophecies. With the influence Daniel had on the government of Babylon and Persia 600 years prior, the detailed prophecies of the coming King (such as Daniel 9:24–26) found in the Hebrew Scriptures, and the large number of Jews that maintained a presence in the area after their return from exile, it makes sense that these magi would look to the Scriptures for great signs and miracles.
A number of scholars believe the wise men knew to look for the star because of the reference in Numbers 24:17 about the star and scepter that was to come out of Jacob. Did they believe the God of Abraham was the true God? It’s very possible. With everything that took place during the time of Daniel, from the great dreams of Nebuchadnezzar to the fiery furnace to the lion’s den, it’s extremely likely that a pocket of Babylonian and Persian priests and scholars had been converted and passed this down from generation to generation.
These wise men devoted their lives to finding the King. Consider that these men, who knew to look for the star as a sign of the Messiah’s coming, were Gentiles . . . Gentiles who trusted in God’s Word as truth, so much so that as soon as they saw the star, they left their land and embarked on a long journey in search of the promised King and Messiah. Then, after seemingly hitting a dead end with Herod in Jerusalem, the star appeared again to light their way to the King they sought. And Scripture tells us that when they saw the star, they were filled with joy.
To me, the great lesson here is that the Lord can use anything to get our attention and draw us to His Son. For these men from the East, it was a star. God can use a star, a stone, a book, an ad, nature, or you and me! If you think about it, He probably used someone to help guide you to Jesus, and He wants to guide others to Jesus through you. You can be the star that lights someone’s way, that helps someone who is searching and seeking find their way to the Savior!
Here’s the thing, though: In order for God to use us to guide people to His Son, our lives must reflect the radiance and glory of Jesus. We need to live “in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ” (Philippians 1:27 NIV). When we do this—when we seek Christ Jesus, when we follow His example, when we abide in Him—Paul says we will “shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life” (Philippians 2:15–16 NIV).
Fellow Christ-followers, this is our great calling in life. This is our mission, our purpose. It’s why God has placed you in your current job; it’s why you’re enrolled in the school you attend; it’s why you live in your neighborhood; it’s why you are a member of the family you were born into. If you’ve ever had aspirations of being a big star, this is your chance! Be a star for Christ, one that leads people to worship Jesus.
If you’ve never done this, Christmas is the perfect season to start! Invite a friend to church, do an outreach in your neighborhood, or invite a relative or coworker over for Christmas and show them what this wonderful celebration is all about. Start shining today!