After the Wise Men met with King Herod and got further directions on where to find this child born ‘king of the Jews’, they proceeded to Bethlehem. Matthew 2:9-12 “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. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.”
Here we see the provision, protection and love God has for His Son who was now on earth. We know the Magi did not visit on the night of Jesus’ birth as in verse 2 we were told they came to see Herod after Jesus’ birth. Also there is no mention of a stable or animals but a house. (When visiting Bethlehem, guides took us to a house believed to be where Mary and Joseph lived during this time period. It is very near to the stable cave and had several rooms where they could have lived comfortably.) The Magi followed the Star and found where Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus were living. The gifts they presented to them were very costly and befitting a king. We see God’s Sovereignty in the fact that He warned the kings not to go back to Herod. God knew what was in Herod’s heart and protected His Son.
As you prepared for Christmas and the celebration of Christ’s birth, what gifts did you present to Him? Did they include love, worship, devotion, service, monies to be used for His work, passion for telling others about Him, or time to spend in God’s Word studying to learn more about Him? Any and all of these gifts are desired by God and yet in Micah 6:8 He tell us: “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” God desires our hearts be aligned with Him so that we can act justly towards others, be merciful in love towards others and ourselves and walk daily with humility. Let these be your gifts to the Savior this New Year.
The names that Jesus calls himself are truly rooted in scripture, prophesies from the Old Testament. Revelation 22:16“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” Jesus calls himself the root and descendant of David. We can look at Jesus’ genealogy in Matthew 1 and see that Jesus is descended from David. Luke 3 shows Jesus line going back to David and then onward to Abraham. Isaiah mentions the coming Messiah in Isaiah 11:1-2. “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit. 2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might,the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.” Jesse was David’s father, thus the stump of Jesse. Isaiah’s description of Jesus as one filled with the Spirit of the Lord.
Jesus also referred to himself as the bright and morning star. I love this image of the star seen just before sunrise, a bright one that gives hope as we transition from night to day. Numbers 24:17 was part of a prophesy given by Baalem and refers to the coming of a future ‘star’ in Israel. “I see him, but not here and now. I perceive him, but far in the distant future. A star will rise from Jacob; a scepter will emerge from Israel. It will crush the heads of Moab’s people, cracking the skulls of the people of Sheth.” Knowing that Jesus can also trace his lineage back to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and a scepter is a used by a king when ruling, Jesus confirms that it refers to him as He takes the name bright and morning star.
So what difference does all this make to you and me? Jesus’ was the fulfillment of prophesies from ancient times, He was descended from King David and even Abraham, He was the bright hope for redemption, the coming of day and light to the Jews and all people of the earth. Are you rooted and grounded in Jesus? Is He the stabilizing figure in your life giving you hope and a future? Do you allow Jesus to shine in your life, and be your star? Colossians 2:6-7 reminds us, “Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him,7 rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” Having Christ as our root establishes us in faith and allows us to walk with Him in confidence, full of life. Peter gives us another image of Jesus as a star that rises in our hearts as we trust in Him. “And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 2 Peter 1:19
Let the Lord Jesus rise in your heart today. Walk with Him hour by hour and let His light shine through you to a dark and hurting world.