“After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was” (Matthew 2:9).
What exactly was the “star” the Wise Men saw in the east?
Frankly, we don’t know. The Greek word is a very general one that could refer to any bright object in the sky. It might mean a star or a planet or a meteor or even a comet. It could refer to some unusual conjunction of the planets that produced an extremely bright object in the skies. Or perhaps the “star” was a special heavenly light prepared by God to guide the Magi.
Somehow they knew it was “his” star, which is why they were overjoyed when they saw it (Matthew 2:10). It led them to the home where Mary and Joseph were taking care of the baby. That doesn’t sound like a comet or a meteor to me. It sounds more like a special light from God sent to direct the Magi to Jesus.
They followed it until it came to rest over the place where the child was. The word “until” means the guidance was very precise. The star was a kind of divine GPS that led them from Persia in the east to Jerusalem in the west and from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and then to the precise house where Jesus was staying with Mary and Joseph.
The star seems to have appeared in the east and then disappeared. That explains why they were overjoyed when they saw the star as they traveled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem (Matthew 2:10). The reappearance of the star meant they were on the right track.
Soon they would meet the infant “King of the Jews.”
God always gives us enough guidance to do his will. Did they know the star would reappear on the road to Bethlehem? No, but it happened in the ordinary course of events. As they followed the light they were given, God sent the star to lead them to the exact location of the child.
God arranged their journey from Persia to Bethlehem so that they would meet Jesus and worship him.
It is no different for us.
Let us lay aside our cares and follow the Wise Men on their journey to Bethlehem. A baby lies there who is the Light of the World. The King in the cradle. Immanuel. God with us. The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Jesus, Savior, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Lord Jesus, may we be like the Wise Men who were guided to you by a star. Give us wisdom to seek you and light to find you. Amen.
Musical bonus: In a world filled with doubt and skepticism, Gordon Mote reminds us that The Star Still Shines.