The Star of Bethlehem

Text: Matthew 2:1-10

The star of Bethlehem, as it has been called, is the most peculiar star in history.  Identifying it as a constellation or Jupiter doesn’t hold water given the specific elements of the star.  It moves.  It locates a specific home.  It appears, disappears and is only seen by certain people.  Knowing the things we know about the star, most astronomical phenomena can be cancelled out since they don’t meet the criteria.

Angels in the bible are stars.  Revelation 1:20 The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.  If I had to pick an explanation, I’d pick this one.  In California the stars (movie stars) are in the city of angels (Los Angeles).  So it’s not a stretch.

There are a couple of verses about Jesus Christ being a star.   Revelation 22:16 I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.  Balaam prophesied, Numbers 24:17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

God chose not to make plain whatever this star was, but he did make it clear what this star DID.  So what did the star do?  Here are the six points of the star of Bethlehem.

A light that heralded the King of the Jews

  • …for we have seen his star in the east… (vs 2)
  • Salvation is of the Jews.
  • The wise men say they are here to worship this King of the Jews, so they believe him to be deity.
    • God’s final redemptive work
    • God manifest in the flesh to provide a body that would serve as the pattern for many bodies to come.

A light that threatened the culture

  • Herod hears this and is troubled.  All Jerusalem is troubled with him. (vs 3)
  • The presence of Jesus Christ always threatens the old man and the culture.

A light that exposed religious hypocrisy

  • Chief priests (vss 4-6)
  • The scribes misquote Micah 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.
    • John 7:27-These same people pretend not to know.
  • Herod (vss 7-8)

A light that was not seen by unbelievers

  • …inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. (vs 7)
  • A telescope wouldn’t help you.
  • Revelation was based on the heart.

A light that shepherded men to Jesus Christ

  • …and, lo, the star,  which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. (vs 9)
  • It went ahead of the wise men as they went south from Jerusalem to Bethlehem
  • It stopped over the house in Bethlehem where Jesus was.

A light that was the source of joy because of the work it did

  • When they saw the star, they rejoiced… (vs 10)
  • Joy’s refreshing
    • Proverbs 25:25 As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.
    • This is my testimony of coming to love the Bible.  I love the Bible like I love cold water after a hot, humid, hard, football practice.  Cold water would hit the back of my throat and all my muscles and sensations would breathe a collective sigh of relief – “aaaaahhhhh”.
    • Chinese Christians receiving their first Bibles in suitcases from missionaries.
  • Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
    • Testimony of salvation and the spirit of God in you rejoices that truth has worked in a sinner’s life.
    • 3 John 1:4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.  It is a shepherding quality.
    • 1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at his coming?