Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wise Men

Even though the wise men didn’t show up for a couple of years later, I find them a fascinating part of the Christmas story. Here these guys were watching the night sky in the east and something unusual happened, a star appeared. Somehow, they knew that meant something important had happened and they set off after it. That seems to indicate that this wasn’t the kind of star we see in the sky, but it was a bright light close to the earth. They follow it to Israel, like one might seek the end of a rainbow, but then they catch it. Only it doesn’t show them anything, so they ask the ruler. After some research, they discover that the child was to be born in Bethlehem, but not just any Bethlehem. There were actually two Bethlehems. Their research revealed which one.

It wasn’t like today. They couldn’t Google, “odd star in the sky” and find out what it meant. They had to pull out the books to find that information. So, when they started looking in the book, they were looking for prophecies about the birth of a ruler. In other words, they were digging through the Old Testament in search of the prophecies about the Messiah. What they found led them to the conclusion that he was to be born in Bethlehem. When they got to Bethlehem, that is exactly what they found.

Do you comprehend what an odd thing that is? These days, we have a lot of fantasy stories that give prophecies about the birth of a child on the night of the second full moon of the tenth month who will grow up to rule the kingdom. That’s easy enough to accomplish in fantasy, where we can craft events to lead to such an event, but it is humanly impossible to accomplish that in real life. For that to happen, a person must either have foreknowledge of future events, have the ability to manipulate future events or both. Any such ability is amazing, but for it to span a period of hundreds of years is awesome.