“With No Malice”©2012
A General Interest Opinion Column by an opinionated person.
Vic Topmiller Jr.
“The hour in which the Prince of Peace was born”.
William Cullum Bryant.
In Those As These
“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea 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 have come to worship him. When Herod the king heard these things, he was troubled and all of Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where the Christ should be born. And they said to him, in Bethlehem of Judea; for thus it is written of the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah; for out of thee shall come a governor that shall rule my people Israel. Then Herod, when he had privately called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.”
The first name we come in contact with in our new Christ Child adventure is Herod. What a way to start. But, don't leave, it gets better as we go.
Now this Herod, known in history as “Herod the Great” was a real pile of junk. He had no justification or qualifications for being the tetrarch (governor) of Galilee except that the Romans had appointed the grandfather a ruler and his father a ruler before him. It's still amazing and must be the manifestation of some psychological phenomenon that jerks with no credible credentials and the least ability to govern still rise to the top of the political heap. In other words, they didn't earn it.
Now, what was the star that the “Wise Men” saw? A supernova? Probably not. Haley's comet, probably not, either. As it is, our super wise guys at the observatory can calculate this stuff backwards and they decided that the dates for this comet were several years prior to the birth of the Jesus. Besides, I've seen Haley's comet and it wouldn't lead anyone anywhere.
But there is one intriguing possibility that is studied. Looking backwards at the time of the birth, there would have been the alignment of three stars, (planets) Jupiter, Saturn and Mars. But, probably not. How could the alignment of three stars (planets) lead us to the Savior?
But I like the idea that if God could align three planets and make them traverse the universe with perfect precision, then wouldn't he have just made the perfect star, not a planet and put it into the hands of an angel?
These “Wise Men,” I love to say that, because they had no apprehension about loading their camp on their camels and heading across the known world, following a star on a journey the destination for which would only be revealed when they got there.
Now, here is what you've got to know to make this story come together. These wise men were actually rulers in their own right. Probably not rulers as in kings but as held in regard by a king for their unique knowledge of the skies, their intuition about things of astrology and probably were advisers to the king about things unexplainable and mysterious. Hence, it would be good for them, if a major astronomic phenomenon appeared in the sky to be able to explain it to the king. Plus, they probably - more than probably - were from Babylon, the land of the Hebrew captivity and would have learned a lot of the Hebrew Old Testament stories about the coming of the Savior. Thanks to Isaiah, Daniel and Micah and other prophets.
So here they come with this large caravan. And that is the point. They would not have traveled small. Banditry along the highways during that day was like a profession. You just wouldn't travel small. Besides, this wasn't a weekend camp out, this was a trip of six or seven hundred miles and these guys knew the good life. They would have had large tents, guards, slaves, porters, family and other things that I couldn't think of. So, the point, when they arrived at Jerusalem, they didn't sneak in the back door, they made a big scene, no way around it. Guess who would have known immediately. Herod.
Immediately, Herod would have called his advisers together and asked: “what is this thing that is going on?
Do you think that they were so far removed from the scriptures by now, after living the luxurious and powerful lifestyle that Herod had created for them, that they would have forgotten the prophesy of the “Coming Messiah?” Probably not. They probably knew them well, but let's face it, when you're a king and you didn't earn it, you think you are the “Messiah” and by hook or by crook you're going to keep it that way.
So Herod did what any false prophet would do, he called in the Wise Men – said: “my people said that this new king would be born in Bethlehem. Go over there and find this new king and bring me word so that I may worship him also.” Yeah – right.
And from here on we find out just how wise the men really were.
That's My Opinion.
“The Real Meaning of Christmas”