“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” – Matthew 2:1-2
Many people want to be a celebrity or some star. They want to be the person everyone looks at and says, “Wow!” Once a year musicians, actors, & directors have an award ceremony to show off their accomplishments. Everyone down deep would like to be famous and have people fawn over them. Nate Saint, a missionary pilot in Ecuador during the 1950’s, got the point hence his statement, “People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives… And when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.” Most people in the world have accomplishments that last for a moment or a few years at most. But what if a person could have a lasting affect for eternity, an act that is known or noticed forever? Daniel (Daniel 12:3) tells what it takes to be a star, and Matthew uses a real star to illustrate the point.
1. Stars are characterized by heat. “For our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:29) The temperature of a star directly relates to how bright it is. The cooler stars are dimmer, and the hotter stars are brighter. A star’s color is also directly related to its surface temperature. Cool stars look red while hot stars look blue or white. Fire and heat in the Bible have been associated with fervor and passion. If we want to be stars, we must be hot for Christ. This star must have been hotter and brighter than any of the others in that night sky to attract the attention of the Magi, so ought we to be passionate for Christ. Somebody asked John Wesley why so many people would come to hear him at his revivals. His answer was, “I set myself on fire, and people come to watch me burn.” Was not it said of John the Baptist that he was a burning and shining light?
2. A star’s distance will also affect its brightness. “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them hath he set a tabernacle for the sun, Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the ends of it: and there is nothing hid from the heat thereof.” (Psalm 19:1-6) The sun is nearly 93 million miles from the earth. It may seam like a long ways away, but it actually takes the light from the sun eight minutes to reach earth. The closest star (other than the sun) to earth is named Proxima Centauri and is 4.2 light years from earth. The light we see from that star tonight actually left that star 4.2 years ago. The absolute magnitude of Proxima Centauri is four times that of the sun, but we don’t notice it because we are alot closer to the sun. God probably had a star come alot closer than four light years to catch the eye of the wise men. Alot of Christians don’t want to get close to someone to bring them to Christ because they think that person will find some glaring fault in them. Yelling half way down the street at the lost will not get the job done either. Matthew says that the wise men rejoiced to see the star. People will be refreshed to see a fervent Christian getting down in the trenches to reach the lost. Proximity to the target also increases accuracy. Seriously, how many people miss at point blank range? Psalms says that nothing on earth is hid from the heat of the sun due to its proximity to the sun. When I talk to a person about Christ, I want to know that I am hitting the target.
3. The star did not bring attention to itself. “Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:2) The Chinese deified the stars, but the Babylonians put their gods in the stars. They realized that God was leading them to Christ. Notice the phrases “his star” and “worship him” in verse two. If they worshiped the star, they would not have followed it. Scripture does not say where they came from, but you could probably rule out the Chinese for that very reason. Tradition says they came from Babylon (now Baghdad, Iraq) which is very plausible since the Babylonians were familiar with the Jews. The wisemen knew that the star was not the end but a means to get them to the Savior. I would not be surprised if we saw them in heaven. If you would like to be one of God’s celebrities, you must bring theirs eyes to Christ. John said that he must decrease and Christ must increase. This star was never seen before and has never been seen since. It completed its mission and exited the stage. Once a person has been introduced to Christ and has decided to trust Him, we must move out of the way and let Holy Spirit take over. We must make sure people follow us until they learn to follow Christ on their own.
4. The star spoke the language of the magi. “Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. And they were all amazed and marvelled , saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts2:6-8) The success of Pentecost was that every man heard the gospel in his own language. A person cannot get saved until he first understands the gospel. In Babylon religious worship waas equal to astronomy, and subsiquently astronomy was their way of searching the will of their gods. Babylonian priests would predict with all certainty because they aquired the prediction from the gods themselves. God knew that the wise men understood stars, so He used a star. God knew that a certain star at a certain time and place would comunicate the divine message. Paul said that he wanted to be able to relate to everyone. To be a star one must turn many to righteousness, and to do that one must make sure he is understood.
In Matthew, the wise men are not the main characters, neither is Herod nor even Christ. The star is the main character. God shows us quite graphicaly how a real celebrity brings people to Christ. Many people want to be stars, but they are going about it the wrong way. This Christmas season put the characteristics to the test. Be hot for God. Get within range of the lost. Reflect the attention to Christ. Speak their language. Be one of His Stars!