We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him."
Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV)
Over two thousand years ago, Magi living in the east marveled at the appearance of an unexplainable star which prompted their search for the prophesied newborn king of the Jews. Departing from Persia, they began their five-to-six-hundred-mile trek westward toward Jerusalem.
Matthew's gospel account of the Magi stopping in Jerusalem to ask King Herod for directions suggests that the star they saw "when it rose" disappeared and was not actually visible for the greater part of their journey. King Herod, noticeably disturbed by their questions, personally did not see the star. However, after consulting with the chief priests and scribes and hearing the prophecy, he sent the Magi on their way toward Bethlehem. Soon the star reappeared, going ahead of them. "When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy" (Matthew 2:9-10, KJV).
Many of us can relate to the uncertainty of being lost on the highway. Yet, the apprehension we experience on one of today's well marked multilane highways pales in comparison to the Magis' sense of remote isolation in the vast, rugged hill country of Judea. Our immense relief on seeing a familiar landmark or road sign holds no likeness to the "exceeding great joy" that washed over them as they saw the star shining overhead once again.
For much of their journey, the Magi were not guided by what they saw, but by what they believed in their hearts to be true. Consequently, they journeyed to Bethlehem by faith, continuing through uncertainty until they found the king they were seeking.
Can you relate your journey to the Magis'? Where is your Bethlehem? What are you seeking? Is your terrain uncertain?
Walk on! Follow what you believe in your heart. You may see a great light!
" . . . for we walk by faith, not by sight." 2 Corinthians 5:7, ESV