Through the Bible Day by Day
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
THE WISE-MEN FOLLOW THE STAR
The expectation of the advent of a great king was far-spread at the time of the Nativity. It was probably founded, so far as the East was concerned, on the prophecies of Balaam and Daniel. See Num_24:17; Dan_7:13-14. There are evidences of the same expectation in the classic literature of the West. Our Lord was the desire of all nations; and the corruption and anarchy of the Roman Empire made the longing still more intense.
God comes to men in the spheres with which they are most familiar; to Zacharias in the Temple, to the shepherds in the fields, to the Wise-Men by a portent in the heavens. He knows just where to find us. “Lift the stone, and I am there.” Be sure to follow your star, whatever it be; only remember that it must ultimately receive the corroboration of Scripture, as in the present case, Mat_2:5. A miracle may be wrought to awaken and start us on our great quest, but the miraculous is withdrawn where the ordinary methods of inquiry will serve. The news of Jesus always disquiets the children of the world; they know that it means division.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
GOD RULES AND OVERRULES
The suggestion has been hazarded that “the star” was an unusual combination of three planets; but this would conflict with the disappearance and reappearance of the guiding light. Some experiences during the Welsh Revival seem to point to a connection between high spiritual experiences and a burning glory. Probably only the eyes of the Magi beheld this great light. See Act_9:3; Act_26:12-14.
When we follow God’s guidance, we may be sure that He will not fail to bring us to our goal. He who brings us out will also bring us in. He will perfect that which concerneth us. These Wise-Men prostrating themselves before the newborn babe were the first of a great procession of the kings of intellect who have followed them to the same spot. After all, does not all true science bend before the mystery of life? We cannot fathom the mystery, but we can adore. We can also present our gifts. “Jesus is worthy to receive riches.” It was thus that the Father provided beforehand for the expenses attendant on the approaching visit to Egypt. The Herods of this world are always plotting against the Lord’s Christ, but it is in vain. See Psa_2:1-12; Act_4:25.
Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men.
“OUT OF EGYPT DID I CALL MY SON”
The death of those little children was very pathetic. From the first it seemed as though our Lord’s advent would bring not peace, but the sword. Their mothers have long since been comforted, but it was a bitter experience. The little ones were the nucleus of the great attendant crowd “that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth,” Rev_14:1-4.
They are dead that sought the young child’s life. Such is the epitaph that may be written for those who have set themselves to oppose the cause of Christ. Voltaire’s house in Geneva is now used as a Bible Society depot. Many of the books that made Christians tremble for the Ark, are to be found on the top shelves of second-hand libraries. There is no permanence in destructive criticism. The young child comes up out of Egypt. There is a sense in which the life of Jesus is the epitome of the story of Israel and the experience of each Christian. See that you do not linger in Egypt, but come up in the pathway of separation and consecration to His high purposes.