Today is Epiphany. It is the day in the Church year set aside to remember the arrival of the Magi to worship the Christ child in Bethlehem. When the Magi arrived in Jerusalem and inquired of King Herod about His birth, they told him, "We saw His star when it rose and have come to worship him." (Matthew 2:2 NIV)
The Magi were not kings, they were astronomers. They were stargazers. They watched the heavens for signs of important events on the earth. They came "from the east" (Matthew 2:1 NIV). At the time of the birth of Jesus, "the east" meant Persia. Magi in Persia were considered the wise and learned ones.
Why would pagan stargazers associate a star rising with the birth of a king for the Jews? Centuries earlier, when Judah fell and her nobles were carried off into exile in Babylon, one of the brightest and best, Daniel, interpreted a dream for King Nebuchadnezzar. The interpretation of the dream was clearly given to Daniel by God, and Nebuchadnezzar was impressed and grateful.
Daniel 2:48 gives us the king's response: "Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon." (Emphasis added)
Some time later, Babalonia was conquered and its kingdom became the kingdom of the Medes and then the Persians. I believe the Persian Magi (wise men) had been taught by Daniel to watch for the coming of God's anointed One - God's Messiah.
The birth of God's Son was hidden from Israel's king and revealed - made manifest - to pagan Magi and lowly shepherds. Even in His birth, Jesus is not restricted as only the Savior of Israel. He is the Savior of all humanity. He is the Savior of common folk (shepherds) and Gentiles (the Magi). Ancient Scriptures and the teaching lore of Persia were not the only revelations of His coming. Nature itself gave witness in the form of the star of Bethlehem.
Epiphany means manifestation. The arrival of the Messiah was both hidden and revealed. Jesus was seen at His birth by those who sought Him. Jesus is still found by those who seek Him. To know the one, true God, get to know Jesus. Read His life story in the Bible in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Pray for Jesus to become a living reality in your life. Trust Him by faith to forgive the past and give you a new start. Follow Him whole heartedly into the new life He has for you.
Jesus is the Light of the world. Magi found Him by following the light of a star. His light still shines into the hearts of those who believe in Him and follow Him. Like the Magi, I'm seeking to follow the Light I have been given to the very presence of God. How about you?