Those who worshipped the stars

Image via the Brooklyn Museum

Today is Epiphany, the day in the church calendar on which the coming of the Magi is celebrated. It is curious that these Gentiles from a far-off land came to worship the King of the Jews, and that Matthew, a Jew writing to Jews, is the one who records the account for posterity.

The Magi—wherever they came from and however many they were—were pagan astrologers. Their occupation was condemned in the Mosaic law (Deuteronomy 18:9-14). And yet it was through that sinful practice that Yahweh drew them to worship His Son.

God used their sin to give them His salvation. How mind-boggling is that?

As the traditional hymn sung in Eastern Orthodox churches on Christmas day goes:

Thy Nativity, O Christ our God,
hath shone forth the light of wisdom upon the world;
for by it those who worship the stars
have been taught by a star
to adore Thee, the Sun of Righteousness,
and to know Thee, the Dayspring from on high.
O Lord, glory be to Thee!

[source, emphasis mine]

Indeed, all glory be to God who draws sinners to Himself in sometimes scandalous ways!

This post draws on material from We Three Kings of Orient Aren’t and That Crazy Star of Bethlehem.