“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,  saying, Where is he  that is born King of the Jews?for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.”     [Matthew 2:1-2]


We are responsible only for following the light we are given.

The story of the Magi here in Matthew is not in our passage in Luke. Why not? Luke was an incredible historian.  “Luke has been established to be a scrupulously accurate historian, even in the smallest details. One prominent archaeologist carefully examined Luke’s references to thirty-two countries, fifty-four cities, and nine islands, finding not a single mistake.” [1] Why did Luke leave out the account of the Magi?.

I suspect that because Luke was a Gentile convert, he was most concerned with leaving a paper trail for the Gentiles to follow. That’s why he concentrated on details emphasizing Christ’s birth as good news for the whole world, not just good news for the Jews. For instance, the angel said to the shepherds, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” [Luke 2:10] The old prophet Simeon rejoiced when he saw the baby Jesus: “For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people; a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. “ [Luke 2:30-32]

It is impossible to record every detail needed to satisfy all the theology professors, sceptics and nitpickers out there. The apostle John must have been thinking of this when he wrote, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.” [John 21:25]

I personally think that God had Matthew, who was a Jew, record the story of the Magi because it especially applies to the Jews. It illustrates what happens when people follow the light— and  the tragic result of what happens when people do not follow the light that is given to them. Matthew writes: “Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” [Matthew 2:1-2]

Not a lot of detail is included in Matthew’s account, but scholars throughout the centuries are well within the mark when they agree these wise men must have come from Babylon. After all, Daniel the prophet had left a tremendous legacy in the years he had served under Nebuchnezzar. (Read the book of DANIEL for yourself.)  Daniel left a copy of this book in the library at Babylon, and these “magi” must have read it and found Daniel  2:44  “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.” This must have thrilled their souls when they read it. The Magi came looking for this king, who would rule an “everlasting” kingdom.

But how were they led to Jerusalem? This is not hard to figure. Daniel was a Hebrew prophet, and was prophesying of a Hebrew king. And the capitol city of the Hebrews was Jerusalem. Dah! Even Homer Simpson could have figured that one out!

But how did they know to leave at that time? Well, when one understands that these Magi would have been familiar with the star charts of ancient Babylonia, it might have been the conjunction of the stars in the constellation Virgo which tipped them off. The particular stars in question hold a position in the sky which would only have been significant to ancient astrologers who mapped the heavens into the constellations they called the Zodiac and which the Bible calls Mazzaroth.[2]

Whatever tipped them off, it was significant enough for them to start off on the  grueling 900 mile journey to Jerusalem.

My point here is that when God gives you light you must act— the light is time-sensitive. Remember God is alive and is always trying to draw you to Himself.  He knows what you are thinking. And when you are finally thinking in the  right direction, He nudges you from within and without to move!

What does a nudge look like? Feel like? I can only give you a general idea, because a nudge is  tailor-made for you personally, so it’s different for everybody.   A nudge by God is whatever it takes to move YOU— to get YOU thinking about eternity.[3]

The wonderful thing about it is, that as you follow the nudge, He lays out confirmations to let you know you are headed in the right direction. And the confirmations are for YOU, not for anybody else. God is trying to lead YOU to himself— not necessarily the person sitting beside you, whose gaze may not be focused on eternity, but only on the things of this world.

I once heard a story that illustrates this: When the Christians in the early church were hiding in the catacombs from the Romans, a convert would leave a trail of raisins through the maze of tunnels as a “paper trail” for others to follow. The meetings had to be held in secret, and only the trusted faithful would know to follow the trail of raisins, picking them up as they went, so that the enemy could not follow.

This story in Matthew illustrates this. The Magi were led to Jerusalem, where they discovered the next “raisin” — that the King of the Jews would be born in Bethlehem. This is a most amazing thing!

Strangers from 900 miles away were led to the King of the Jews, while the scholars and leaders of Israel were completely in the dark about this momentous occasion.  Why weren’t they nudged?

It is a Bible principle that God gives light to those he can trust, and takes it away from those he can’t. If He’s given you light before, and you’ve ignored it or despised it, he won’t give you any more unless you repent. “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required.” [Luke 12:48] “For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.” [Matthew 13:12]

Why is this? Because God is looking at the heart. Only when your heart is right with God will he lead you into the presence of his Son. Israel was a good example. Herod’s heart was wicked and deceitful. The Jews in Jerusalem were callous and hypocritical. Inadvertently, the Magi tipped Herod off to the birthplace of Messiah.  Why then didn’t the Scribes and Pharisees in Jerusalem mount up a group to follow the Magi to their quest, this alleged King of the Jews? They didn’t follow, because they couldn’t be bothered. And they were the religious leaders of Israel!

What is absolutely amazing is how that Messiah prophesied of his coming hundred of years beforehand, and when he finally came, most people in Israel were not only NOT READY, when they found out about him, they either ignored him or stood in his way. The last people in the world who you would have thought would do him harm,  were the ones who ultimately turned against him.  “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” [Zechariah 13:6]

But Herod— no friend of Israel— followed. When Herod discovered that the Magi had outsmarted him,  (because the Magi listened to the nudges God gave them  —“…being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.” Matthew 2:12) —he acted immediately. He had all the male children in Bethlehem slaughtered. (Read Matthew 2:16=18)

My point? The Enemy has always been on the prowl, seeking to devour the man-child. But God has protected him. And of course, God expects you to do the same.

How about it? How much light have you had? How many Christmases have you celebrated? Have you ever followed the light that leads from the manger to the Messiah?

And what about your children, the ones who will have a hard time falling asleep tonight because of the hope and joy of Christmas? Have you filled their heads with talk of Santa and elves and never-never land, but never talked to them about Messiah? About the Lord Jesus Christ?

Look around you. One of these days your children will have grown up and be gone. Will you have left them a paper trail to follow? Raisins in the catacombs?   Do you even know the trail yourself? If you’ve not followed the light to the source, it’s time you started!

Follow the light!




[1] (John McRay, The Evidence Bible, Pg 1279)
[2] MORE DETAIL: a.  Example of supernatural explanation:    b. Example of astronomical explanation:
[3] For instance:If you’ve ever heard  this song and wondered what he is talking about, it’s time you followed the clues to where they lead:
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