Herod had preemptively narrowed down the birthplace of this newly born King-of-the-entire-Jewish-race that the wise men from the East were searching for. He cross-referenced it with the scribes who were collecting and processing the census information that was just taken on the entire Roman empire. And he called the foreign men to him secretly – the ones in search of He who had been born King of the Jews. He wanted to share the information he had gathered. And to gather one last piece of essential information.
“When, exactly, did that star that you saw appear?” he asked them. The one that blazed hot and burned in their hearts as it rose alongside the sun in the eastern sky of their Eastern country. The one that sent them on a hasty journey to a country with whom their people had a notoriously difficult past. His star.
They told the king the details of the timing. And he sent them on their way. To Bethlehem – that small city-of-David village that was only about six miles south of where they stood. The King of Judea sent those men off to search for the newly-born-King-of-the-entire-Jewish-race. The King of kings who the heaven of heavens cannot hold. He sent them. And told them to ask questions. To interrogate the people if they have to. To do whatever they could to search the entire village until they find Him.
“And then, when you do find Him,” Herod said (because they who seek Him with their entire heart always find Him), “report back to me. That I may also come. And fall upon my knees. And touch the ground with my forehead in profound reverence. And worship Him.”
So they left, embarking upon the last leg of their journey in search of the King-of-the-entire-Jewish-race. The highest-top-of-the-tree-Immanuel. When suddenly, in peculiar vivacity, the star appeared again. His star. Blazing hot and burning bright. Unexpected… yet sure. Impossible… yet there.
the star went before them
“Look!!” they exclaimed. “It’s back! It’s there again!” All the questions and interrogations Herod had demanded of them? They were unneccessary. Because God had other plans for leading them to His Bethlehem Babe. The star they saw in their country-of-the-East that was rising-in-the-East was back. Going before them. Leading them forward. Lighting the path and leading the way straight to the Messiah-King. His star. Bringing them right to Him. Moving and leading. Step for step. For all six miles. Until it stopped. Standing still above a small home that was neatly tucked away within that little village. The place where Jesus lay.
And when they saw it, they rejoiced. Exceedingly. Abundantly. In the kind of way you do when God acts on your behalf again. When He shows His glory again. When He confirms that you’re on the right track. And then leads you all the way to the finish line. The promise fulfilled. And your joy fulfilled right along with it. The men who had turned their hearts after seeing His-star-in-the-East and traveled in the opposite direction to seek Him out? They unknowingly illustrated the very meaning of repentance. And when they were still six miles out, God saw them coming. And ran to meet them.
They saw His star. And they rejoiced. Vehemently. Almost violently. (Intensely for sure.) With joy. And gladness. And delight. Because they saw the star. His star. And they were about to meet the Messiah-King.