Two-thousand years ago, the Jewish people found themselves in a sad and sorrowful time. The Roman government had overtaken all that they knew as near and dear for their religion to be promising. You could say that they were living in a time of bad news. A few men found themselves in a unique situation in which they saw a sign, pointing to delivering good news. A light was dawning in the darkness. These men, commonly known as the wise men saw a star, and “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” (Matthew 2:10). This joy drove them to continue traveling. Along the journey, they came to a house. Now at the destination to which this star seems to have brought them, they were at a crossroads: to enter the house, or call it quits and go home. “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:11).
How wonderful that they did not call it quits at the sight of a house, but decided to go in! The wise men had two sights in their journey. The first was the sign, the star (Matthew 2:10). The second was the Savior, Jesus Christ (Matthew 2:11).
When the wise men “saw the star” their reaction was one in which they “rejoiced with exceedingly great joy” (Matthew 2:10). Why? Could it be that the star was their ultimate joy? Could it be that the star was the good news that they had been longing for? Or, could it be that the star was not their savior, but a sign? This sign, was acting as an arrow of sorts. This sign was shouting and exclaiming, “There is a Savior!” Their rejoicing and exceedingly great joy was in the fact that the star was not the Savior, but pointed to the Savior. Their joy was not in the sign itself, but in the anticipation of seeing what the sign pointed to—the Savior.
What is remarkable is not that the sight of the sign—bearing good news—brought them joy. What is truly remarkable is the reaction at the sight of the Savior—they were driven to their knees, “they fell down and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:11). Their purpose was to worship a child, an infant, whom they knew was God in flesh who had come for the purpose of living a life, dying a death, and rising again in order to reverse all of the effects of the first sin back in the Garden of Eden. Where the first Adam failed and was overcome by sin, the second Adam—the true and better Adam—would succeed and overcome sin and Satan.
Worship the Sign or the Savior
These men rejoiced not in the sign itself, but in what, or better yet, who the sign pointed to—Jesus. The sight of the star brought them joy, but the sight of the child brought them to their knees. The sign drove them to the Savior.
The star was simply a sign, heralding the good news of God himself—the Savior. The sign is never the Savior, but always points to the Savior. The sign should leave us standing, but the Savior should leave us falling. The sign should bring us joy, but the Savior should bring us to worship.
Do we fall before the sign bearing the good news, or the Savior who is the good news? Would you fall at the knees of the missionary bearing the good news, or at the feet of God who was born of a virgin and rose from the dead? God is the good news while the sign is simply the deliverer of the good news. For the wise men, the sign brought them to the Savior and the Savior brought them to their knees. Can we say the same for us?
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born
O night divine o night
O night divine