The Star That Leads to the Savior

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Most of us read Luke’s account of the Christmas story, but a fascinating detail about the birth of Jesus is found in Matthew’s gospel.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked,

“Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.” ~Matthew 2:1-2 (NIV)

It’s such familiar part of the story that it’s easy to overlook something interesting: why on earth wise men from the east would travel so far to see a Jewish king?

“The east” would be Persia (modern day Iran) and beyond, possibly as far as India and China. How could these men even know about a Jewish king? A glance back at a biblical time line gives us a hint: hundreds of years before, Babylonians conquered several nations and led their captives eastward. Among them? Jews.

The best and brightest young Jewish men like Daniel were carried away and made to serve in King Nebuchadnezzar’s court. However, as they assimilated into Babylonian society, they held fast to their Jewish roots and introduced their scrolls to their captors. Those writings found their way into the annals of eastern history. So when the star appeared in the sky some 600 years later, it didn’t take the wise men long to connect the prophetic dots and follow them to the Jewish Messiah.

Daniel and his friends faced many challenges during their captivity, but they never lost hope. They remained faithful and chose to trust God in the midst of their dark circumstances.

When we face dark times, we have a similar choice:
worry about what we see, or hold fast to Who we know.

In every situation, God is working in ways we can’t understand and working all things together for good (Romans 8:28).

The suffering that threatens to overwhelm you may be the star God uses to lead others to the Savior.

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14 Responses to The Star That Leads to the Savior
  1. Dawn Paoletta (
    December 19, 2013 | 7:01 pm

    Beautiful words and I keep coming back to the star and the Magi this year…isn’t it so God, how truth is revealed layer upon layer?

    • Susan Stilwell
      December 21, 2013 | 4:43 pm

      That’s so true, Dawn. Layer by layer, little by little so we’re not overwhelmed. His gracious favor is amazing!

  2. Laura Rath
    December 20, 2013 | 11:59 am

    Knowing the story/history behind the Scripture verse adds so much more meaning and understanding. Thanks Susan. Merry Christmas!

    • Susan Stilwell
      December 21, 2013 | 4:44 pm

      Thank you, Laura. I love that He is always involved in the details and always works out His plan!

  3. marcia moston
    December 20, 2013 | 7:23 pm

    I was just wondering about this yesterday. Thanks! How true–our limited vision can so easily run amuk if it’s not anchored to what we know is true. Blessings, Susan

    • Susan Stilwell
      December 21, 2013 | 4:45 pm

      Gracious, Marcia — our limited vision can cause us to think and do all sorts of things. How wonderful it is to have our hope anchored securely in Him. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Cathy Baker
    December 20, 2013 | 9:42 pm

    Susan, I always appreciate your depth of insight — and this post doesn’t disappoint. Thank you for sharing!

    • Susan Stilwell
      December 21, 2013 | 4:46 pm

      You’re sweet, Cathy. And He is GOOD. I love the way He connects the dots in my brain!

  5. Sheri DeLoach
    December 21, 2013 | 9:25 pm

    Thank you for the history & insightful spiritual truth!
    Thank you, Cathy Baker for passing it on!
    Blessings to the writer & all who read it & pass it along

  6. Diane bailey
    December 22, 2013 | 5:05 pm

    Isn’t it amazing how God left all if the right clues in places for the right people to respond? God is truely amaZing!

    Wonderful post!

  7. Anna Popescu
    December 22, 2013 | 7:35 pm

    Susan, this was wonderful! For some reason this year the Lord has me reflecting more about Mary and how she must have felt knowing she was going to be the earthly mother of Jesus, so I really appreciate your shedding light on this part of the Christmas story.

    Blessings to you & yours!

  8. Kathleen Caron
    December 22, 2013 | 10:08 pm

    Oh that is a comforting thought indeed. And it is awe-inspiring to think that those “wise men” were faithful to the ancient prophecy of the Messiah’s coming. They never lost faith, even though it was hundreds of years before He came.

    • Susan Stilwell
      December 22, 2013 | 11:26 pm

      So true, Kathleen. I love what Micah (I think) wrote, “Though it tarry, wait for it.” The essence of faith, isn’t it?
      Thanks so much for taking time to read and comment!

  9. Glenda Mills
    December 24, 2013 | 11:01 am

    Worry about what we see…or hold fast to what we know! That’s a great thought and this Christmas in the midst of life’s challenges, I am holding fast to Jesus…Immanuel, God with us. I know Him and He knows me. Sometimes that’s all we need to know to get us through the day.
    Praying for you and your family during this time of care giving. May the Christ of Christmas continue to shine on you and yours.