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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,
Matthew 2:1God wanted the people to know about the coming of Christ to the earth. The priests should have taught the people to look for the Saviour; but they themselves did not know of His coming.
So God sent angels to tell the shepherds that Christ was born, and where they might find Him.
So, too, when Jesus was presented at the temple, there were those who received Him as the Saviour. God had preserved the lives of Simeon and Anna, and they had the joyful privilege of testifying that Jesus was the promised Messiah.
God meant for others, as well as the Jews, to know that Christ had come. In a country far to the east were wise men who had studied the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and who believed that His coming was near.
The Jews called these men heathen; but they were not idolaters. They were honest men, who wanted to know the truth, and to do the will of God.
God looks upon the heart, and He knew that these men could be trusted. They were in a better condition to receive light from Heaven than were the Jewish priests, who were so full of selfishness and pride.
These wise men were philosophers. They had studied the handiwork of God in nature, and had learned to love Him there. They had studied the stars, and knew their movements.
They loved to watch the heavenly bodies in their nightly march. If a new star should be seen, they would welcome its appearance as a great event.
On that night when the angels came to the shepherds of Bethlehem, the wise men had noticed a strange light in the sky. It was the glory which surrounded the angel host.
When this light faded away, they had seen in the heavens what looked like a new star. At once they thought of the prophecy which says, "There shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel." Numbers 24:17. Was this star a sign that the Messiah had come? They determined to follow it, and see where it would lead them. It led them into Judea. But when they came near to Jerusalem, the star grew so dim that they could not follow it.