1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” – Matthew 2:1-2 NASB
“Magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem…” They’re not wise men. They’re not kings. They’re not traveling merchants. They’re magi. Magicians. Practicers of the Occult. Astrologers.
“It’s a little like putting drag queens in the nativity play at Bethlehem Baptist. They’re popularly and familiarly known as the wise men or the three kings, but they are more properly Magi: magic. They follow stars. They conjure. They are really more Merlin than Arthur. Matthew never suggests that they are kings. They are practitioners in the arts of the occult. Yet year after year they stand there at almost every manger scene all stiff and innocent and respectable as if they fit in, as if they’ve always been there, as if they’re supposed to be there, as if they’re not flaming pagans intruding upon the birth scene of a little Jewish family.” Sensual Orthodoxy, Debbie Blue
In fact, as they’re following this star, if it were an obvious and bright star that goes floating like a UFO over the manger scene, wouldn’t everyone have seen it and have gone to see what had happened? Instead, no one, not even a king desperate to find the child, could discern where He was. But these Magi, these astrologers, could, because God revealed it to them through their non-Jewish disallowed Magi arts. Because God chooses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.
He is the savior of the world. He is not just the savior of the Jews. He is not even just the savior of the righteous or the religious. He is the savior of the world. He wanted to save Ninevah in the days of Jonah, and He wants to speak to the crazy sinners in this town too. You may feel like you are one of the magi – aliens from another world, who don’t belong at all in our little religious party. There you are sitting stiff and acting like you belong in church. How did you get here? If anyone knew what your life has really been, they would know how crazy it is that you are here acting like you belong. But the good news of great joy – that today is born unto us a savior, the Christ – is for all people. It is for you, however alien the churchy culture is that has grown up around this message.
This is not an invitation to honor astrology or practice the occult. This is an invitation to see that the Great News was so great that it could not be contained, even spilling out to overtake the musings of these magi, who were compelled by the revelation in the stars to come and see this great sight: God Himself was born a child.