When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.” When King Herod heard this, he was greatly troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Assembling all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it has been written through the prophet: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; since from you shall come a ruler, who is to shepherd my people Israel.” Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star’s appearance. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search diligently for the child. When you have found him, bring me word, that I too may go and do him homage.” After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.
Are You Looking?
Of all the people in the world, why was it the wise men of the East who saw the star and found the child Jesus? Unlike everyone else, they were looking. They knew the prophecy of the coming king of the Jews and looked for a star to indicate his birth. Perhaps they knew the prophecy of Balaam, given long before the birth of Christ, which said that a star would come forth (Numbers 24:17-18). Since they came looking for Christ even though they were gentiles, they must have had a sense that the Jewish Messiah would be more than just a regional king. He was destined to be the king of all nations. The magi perceived the sign and responded on behalf of all of us, welcoming the new king.
Today, we often continue to overlook the presence of Jesus in the world even though he gives us many signs. God has arranged the world to point us toward his Son, giving us little signs and occasionally even big ones—like the star. When we take time to see the signs, we experience epiphany moments: moments when things suddenly become clear and we can see what is beneath the surface. God has a plan and seeks to lead us closer to him each day. He uses each day’s events and the people in our lives to break through to us. We have to take time to look and listen in order to respond.
Tomorrow Exodus 90 begins. It is time for a new beginning. You will have time to look and listen for the signs that God has given, so that you can find his presence in your life and follow him more faithfully. Like the wise men traveling as a group, you will have a fraternity of men seeking the Lord with you. Like the threats of Herod, there will be challenges. God will lead us to him if we let him. These 90 days will provide us time for a new epiphany. We’re excited for the journey – let’s begin.