The Star Leads to the Cross (Part 1)

Have you ever been lost?  I mean, really really really turned around?  I have been many times…AND I have asked for directions!  (I know, pretty shocking to hear that from a guy…)  I was lost because I failed to follow the directions.  The signs were pointing me in the right direction, but I ignored them.  However, when I saw the right sign, AND did what I was told– I got where I needed to go.

Two thousand years ago there were some other weary travelers who followed the right signs and the right directions…and it led them to the right place.  Right where they needed to be.  At Christmas we focus on a baby in a manger.  But don’t stay there.  The manger leads to a cross, and the cross leads to an empty tomb.  And the empty tomb leads us to a throne…and our home forever.

When we go to Matthew 2:1-12 we see the story of the Magi (also called the Wise Men) who traveled across the Middle East to find the newborn Messiah.  They were probably astronomers from Persia.  Since the Jews had been in captivity in Babylon (later conquered by Persia) some 500 years before, and since many Jews chose to stay in Persia, it is likely that these Gentile wise men had access to the Hebrew Scriptures.  If they did they would have read the many prophecies about the coming of the Messiah.  They would have seen in Numbers 24:17 the prediction about “a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel”.  Isaiah 7:14 tells us about a pregnant virgin who will give birth to a son called Immanuel (“God with us”).  Isaiah 9:6,7 tells us about a Child, a Son who will reign over all the earth, and He will be called Wonderful Counseler, Mighty God, Father of eternity, the Prince of Peace.  Certainly no ordinary child, but someone who is also straight from Heaven and equal with God.

How much did these Wise Men know?  We don’t know for certain, but we do know that they saw some kind of bright object in the sky (the Greek word “astra” here in Matthew 2 just means any kind of large luminary in the sky) and it caught their attention.  This star was no natural phenomenon.  As you read the text you see that this thing led them, then apparently disappeared while they met with King Herod, then reappeared and led them to the exact spot where Jesus was.

There’s a whole lot more to find out about this fascinating true story, but this much is clear.  These men, who knew just the barest of information about the Messiah, were willing to travel to the ends of the earth to meet Jesus, bow down to Him, and worship Him.  Are you?

Posted by Jeff Sanders