Wednesday, December 16
Read Matthew 2:12
The Scriptures are silent regarding how long the wise men stayed with Joseph, Mary and Jesus, and we will respect that silence. However, Matthew leads us to believe that once their discovery was made, and the gifts were given, perhaps not wanting to interrupt their humble dwellings with their regaliant presence, they mounted their camels and began their journey home. Or, perhaps they bedded down for the night, but at some point, God awakened them and told them not to go back to Herod, but to return home by another route, and they obeyed that warning.
We have no further account of these wise men. The Bible does not tell us whether they became believers in Christ as their Savior and Lord, in anticipation of what He had been sent to do to save men from their sins, or what report they made to the people in their own country of their journey to Israel to see Him.
God is faithful to send people warnings when danger is near. God did not want Herod to find out where Jesus was, so He instructed the Wise Men not to go back to him and tell him what they had found. The Magi LISTENED to God, and they went home a different way.
Some have questioned God’s use of a “star” in leading these men to find the Christ-child. They point to the fact that God spoke to Mary, Joseph, Zechariah and other characters in the Christmas story through dreams and angelic visits. Why did He use a “star” for these men?
First, in Matthew 4:15, quoting the prophecy of Isaiah 9:2, Matthew said, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.” In Matthew 5:14 and in John 8:12, the gospel writers describe Jesus as the Light of the world, and those who follow Him will never walk in darkness. In Philippians 1:15-16, the Apostle Paul said those who tell others about Jesus shine like stars in a dark night sky. The light of truth is what those who live in the darkness of sin need to see.
Secondly, these men were astronomers who studied the heavens. Having been taught biblical prophecy by Daniel, and knowing when that prophecy was to be fulfilled, they were looking for the sign that confirmed the time. What these men saw and followed was not a “star” like we see at night, but the very appearance of the Shechinah Glory; the visible manifestation of God’s presence. So, having heard the revelation of God from the teaching of Daniel, and seeing the very glory of God in the heavens, these learned men knew that something special was happening, and they deduced from the Scripture (not the star) that the King of the Jews had been born. While many people may have seen the “Light”, only those who had learned the Scriptures could discern its meaning.