马太福音2:1 当希律王的时候，耶稣生在犹太的伯利恒。有几个博士从东方来到耶路撒冷，说：2 「那生下来作犹太人之王的在哪里？我们在东方看见他的星，特来拜他。」3 希律王听见了，就心里不安；耶路撒冷合城的人也都不安。4 他就召齐了祭司长和民间的文士，问他们说：「基督当生在何处？」5 他们回答说：「在犹太的伯利恒。因为有先知记着，说：6 犹大地的伯利恒啊，你在犹大诸城中并不是最小的；因为将来有一位君王要从你那里出来，牧养我以色列民。」
Matthew 2:1-6: After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 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.” 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’
How did the Magi know to follow the star to see Jesus? For one thing a new star in the sky would have caught their attention, especially one that seemed to move in a particular direction. Could they have read Numbers 24:17 that speaks of a star coming out of Jacob? Some of those wise men from ancient times probably read the Old Testament Scriptures just because they contained prophecies that came true. We don’t know what led them to Jesus, but we do know WHO led them to Jesus. God wanted the Gentiles as well to see the Savior that was come into the world.
Matthew will quote many of the prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus, detailed prophecies like this one that named the exact place he would be born hundreds of years before it happened. This is one of the ways in which God still brings people to believe in Jesus as the Savior. If you have doubts about this, just examine the prophecies and see how perfectly Jesus fulfilled everyone. No other religion in the world can claim this except for the Christian faith. Our faith is not a blind faith that has no connection to real facts. Just the opposite is true. Our faith is based on verifiable facts and witnesses that God has provided for us.
If you have a friend who is a skeptic or unbeliever, you might try showing them all the prophecies which Jesus fulfilled. After all, God still leads people to find Jesus, just as he led the Magi.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for giving me such wonderful details about the birth of my Savior so that I can see how he fulfilled all the prophecies that were made about him! Help me not to ignore them or to gloss over them, not only for myself, but in teaching others, lest our minds be filled with unnecessary doubts. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
马太福音2: 7 当下，希律暗暗地召了博士来，细问那星是什么时候出现的，8 就差他们往伯利恒去，说：「你们去仔细寻访那小孩子，寻到了就来报信，我也好去拜他。」9 他们听见王的话就去了。在东方所看见的那星忽然在他们前头行，直行到小孩子的地方，就在上头停住了。10 他们看见那星，就大大地欢喜；11 进了房子，看见小孩子和他母亲马利亚，就俯伏拜那小孩子，揭开宝盒，拿黄金、乳香、没药为礼物献给他。12 博士因为在梦中被主指示不要回去见希律，就从别的路回本地去了。
Matthew 2:7-12: 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
I can understand why Herod was upset. He was a scoundrel who was known to assassinate anyone who might rival his throne. Caesar once said that it was safer to be a pig in Herod’s sty than a relative living in his palace. But why did the leaders of the Jews not care? I think it is because the church in Jerusalem had become more political than spiritual. The Sadducees liked to curry the favor of those in power. The Pharisees claimed the backing of the people and believed they were saved by keeping the law. Who needs a Savior if you think you can save yourself?
It shouldn’t surprise us then that God chose Mary and Joseph to be his parents. They were just ordinary people, but people who believed. It shouldn’t surprise us that he chose little Bethlehem to be his birthplace, where Mary and Joseph now lived in a simple house. It does surprise us that he brought powerful people from a distance to worship Jesus to present him with expensive gifts, fit for a king.
God’s grace is still a surprising thing. It is ignored by the powerful and the self-righteous, but treasured by all those who find in Jesus the true Savior that we need. I pray that not a day goes by in which I am not surprised by the grace and mercy of God my Savior.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for this day. Your mercies are new every morning. Keep me from becoming apathetic about your grace, and about the story of our salvation. Renew in my heart every day true repentance for my sins, so that I hate what is evil and put my hope in you alone for may salvation. I ask this in your name. Amen.