After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”Matthew 2:1-2 NIV
Matthew starts his birth narrative with the familiar story of the wise men from the East who followed a star to Jesus. Who were these wise men from the East? It is likely that they were Zoroastrian astrologers from Persia, outside of the Roman empire. What was the star they followed? There are many explanations: a supernova, a nova, a comet, an eclipse, a planetary alignment, or an angel with a flashlight. Ultimately we don’t know what this ‘star’ was. But it was something that had meaning to these astrologers, telling them of the birth of a king. And it led them to make a long, dangerous, and arduous journey, carrying costly gifts to give to the new king.
I find it interesting in this most Jewish of the gospels that right off the bat, we see the rejection of Jesus by the ruling establishment. Yet he was worshipped by foreign adherents of another religion. The star called these men to come and worship Jesus. And they followed it until they found him. Likewise, God’s Spirit calls on all men to bow before the Lord of all creation in worship and surrender. We will find eternal life if we follow that star (the Holy Spirit) wherever it leads. If, like most people at Jesus’ birth, we ignore the star, we will remain in darkness.