“When [King Herod] had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born.” – Matthew 2: 4
Chapter 2 of Matthew is a map of prophecies, all leading to Jesus.
In the Old Testament, God (YHWH) set forth a plan, spoke it to specifically chosen men (the prophets), that they would record his plans for the future to the future generations.
With that in mind, we see that King Herod called to himself a group of people who were trained to read the prophetic writings, make sense of them, and then report the prophecies to him in understandable words.
This group of priests and scribes had decided in their hearts not to serve the Almighty Lord but to serve a king of men. Over the years, they dedicated themselves to knowledge in the Old Testament, to recording every letter of the Law, and to adding mystical interpretations and religious notions to the simplicity of scripture. In a sense, these teachers worshipped knowledge and hated the simplicity of scripture.
Here is the map, that with their knowledge they could not decipher:
Micah (5: 2, 4): Straightforward enough, God said that His Son would be born in Judah, in Bethlehem. [I personally enjoy this prophecy, because it speaks volumes about the heart of God. My interpretation: “Although you may feel you are nothing, Bethlehem, I will make you great. My Son will come from you.”]
Hosea (11: 1): “Out of Egypt I called my son.” This refers to the flight from Jesus’s birthplace to Egypt, until the appointed time, which meant they would then need to flee from Egypt. And so they did. [This reveals the omniscience of God and the desire to keep His son concealed until the appointed time.]
Jeremiah (31: 15): Although King Herod had set out to annihilate any hope of the Messiah coming to power, he could not kill the child he so desired to slaughter. He succeeded in murdering almost all children two-years-old or under at the time. Although God knew and empathized with the aching hearts of the women in Ramah, He also knew with certainty that they would have hope again, because His Son would redeem them.
Isaiah (11: 1): “He would be called a Nazarene.” It’s another way of saying that he would be a “netzer” – or “rod.” This refers to the root of Jesse, His lineage. And yet, the prophecy is far more specific. After King Herod died, the family settled in Nazareth of Galilee, and there Jesus grew up.
There are two types of people in the world: those who desire to snuff out the Light (King Herod and the scribes) or those who desire to worship the Light (the magi).
The scribes – teachers of the law – had the answers, but they missed the plan. They had the map but missed the Light.
On the other hand, simple astrologers saw a star, and by faith they knew the birthplace of the Lord. They went to worship Jesus and did not despise Him.
Do you have all the right answers and yet miss the Light? Or do you look at God’s creation and have faith that He holds all things together?
Take a breath and marvel at the skies. Have faith that you don’t need to know everything, that all things come to pass as He has written. He’s the best Author there is. (Hint: In His story, Light prevails in the end.)