The Christmas Story in Matthew’s Gospel — 2
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him."
When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.
So they said to him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet: 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, Are not the least among the rulers of Judah; For out of you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.'"
Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also."
When they heard the king, they departed; and 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 worshipped Him.
And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
The three wise men were in all probability astrologers, men who studied the heavens looking for signs foretelling the things to come. The Reverend E W Bullinger wrote a book called “Witness In The Stars”, which purported to reveal the Christ story from the constellations and stellar patterns in the manner of the astrologers. Even today’s ‘horoscopes’ in magazines and newspapers have their beginnings in this ancient wisdom.
The star over Bethlehem is only mentioned in Matthew, and many attempts have been made over the centuries to ‘explain’ this phenomenon — from Halley’s comet to planetary conjunctions. Is that important? My personal view is that I do not need scientific or historical confirmation. What I prefer to know is what The Lord is telling me through His word.
The Hebrew word for ‘star’ has an interesting origin. It comes from a word meaning ‘as strewn over the sky’. This gives me a picture of something spreading across or encompassing the heavenly realms, but also, as stars can be seen as a symbol for the sons of God, then The Star must represent The Son of God. No wonder that the wise men thought that When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy.
Let our joy be unconfined, just as the wise men discovered, when we realise that our Lord is paramount and most worthy of worship and give Him our ‘treasures’, the best we have to give — the gold, frankincense, and myrrh that is within us — the ‘Christlife’ within, pure holy and sanctified; giving what He has given us back to Him, who paid the price for our salvation.
But we must take care, for there is an earthly king who wants to kill that precious life of our Lord, and who will use every device and subterfuge bring us into perdition. ‘Herod’ superficially means ‘heroic’, but further study reveals the name to mean ‘appearance of a hero’, just as the evil one is comes to us as an angel of light.
‘Meditate On These Things’
2 CORINTHIANS 11:12-15 NKJV
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.
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MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS…
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.
GEORGE and GILL STEWART