God’s Purpose for the Star of Bethlehem

Star of Bethlehem

Here is another excerpt from Sunday’s message on The Star of Bethlehem.

God’s purpose for the Star of Bethlehem was to point the Magi to Christ … That is still God’s purpose for us today. God doesn’t want us to get all hung up on the various attempts at explaining the star away or trying to figure it all out. Just as the purpose of a reading lamp is to shed light on the book you are reading, or the purpose of a spotlight is to highlight the person on stage, the purpose of the star is to point us to Christ …

Jesus is the real “star” of Bethlehem. He is the star attraction. He is center stage. He was the motivation for the Magi’s journey and the reason for their rejoicing. He is the reason for our celebration of Christmas today. The babe in the manger is the centerpiece of every nativity scene. The purpose of the star is to point us to him.

So every time you see a star this Christmas, think about Jesus. When you place the star on your tree this Christmas, remember Jesus. When you hear Christmas carols referencing the star, worship and celebrate Jesus. And when you think about the star and how it led the Magi to Christ, ask God, “With whom would you have me share the good news of Jesus this Christmas?”

Jesus is the reason for the season. The purpose of the star is to point us to Christ.

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Related post: What Was the Star of Bethlehem?

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12 Comments

  1. joseph gagliano says:

    The Star of Bethlehem is a magnificent luminary in heaven. The purpose of God is to pinpoint the presence of Christ, 2000 years ago and nowadays.If you see the Star you can be sure of the presence of Christ, not only in spirit but in physical presence on Earth. Last Christmas was a specially significative one, because the presence of Christ is more effective than ever before, so the Star can be seen if you are really attentive and beg to the Lord. All eyes will see the Christ, as the Bible says, and the glorious radiance of the Star, reminds us of the omnipotence of the Father, announcing the coming of His Son. The Christ is our brother, he is our eldest brother, the first one in seeing God in the very presence, thousands of years ago. Since then He is begining to be more and more like His Father, thus stimulating in us the consciousness of our profound divine spark, to make it expand to reach a divine level on conscience. Ask fervorously the presence of Christ and He will answer. The time of changes has come. JOSEPH GAGLIANO

  2. Ray Fowler says:

    Joseph – Thank you for your response, but the Bible presents a very different view of Jesus and the star. The star was a one-time, historical event heralding the physical coming of Christ into this world 2,000 years ago and directing the Magi where to find him. We do not see the star today, either physically or in some spiritual sense.

    Also, Christ is not physically present on earth today. When Jesus Christ entered this world through the incarnation, he was physically present. But following his resurrection, he ascended bodily into heaven and will not physically be present again until he returns. However, after ascending to heaven, he did send the Holy Spirit, and so he is spiritually present through the Holy Spirit today. (John 13-16)

    Also, although Jesus is not ashamed to call us brothers (Hebrews 2:11), he is the true Son of God whereas we are adopted into God’s family. Jesus Christ is not becoming more like God; he is God and was from the very beginning; he is uncreated. (John 1:1-3)

    On the other hand, we will never be divine. We are created beings, loved by God the Father, and blessed with amazing privileges, but we are not and never will be God. Rather, those who come to God through Christ will worship God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit as one God for all of eternity.

  3. Mary C. says:

    You can all relax. Any theory that claims to know what the star of Bethlehem is must make a testable prediction. That’s fair, I think, also scientific. As far as I know, there is only one theory that fits the bill:”A statistical solution to the star of bethlehem problem”. This theory like so many bible stories makes some interesting observation about human nature and weakness.

  4. Ray Fowler says:

    Mary – Thanks for your input. (The article Mary is referencing can be found here: A Statistical Solution to the Star of Bethlehem.) I still think the 7 B.C. date is too early, plus I’m not convinced the conjunction adequately accounts for Matthew’s description of the movement of the star. You can read more of my thoughts on the star here: What Was the Star of Bethlehem?

  5. Thomas Loman says:

    We now have scientific proof for precisely what the Star of Bethlehem really was. Truly remarkable what God has done. Check it out at http://www.bethlehemstar.net — this is awesome! You will be blown away by the greatness of our God.

  6. Ray Fowler says:

    Thomas – Thanks for joining the discussion. I am familiar with the site and with the theory that the star was a conjunction of Jupiter and Venus, but I do not agree with the author’s conclusions.

    I have several problems with the theory. The first is the date of Herod’s death. The website claims that Herod died in the year 1 B.C., and states that “Excellent scholarship confirms that date.” However, the one footnote to support this assertion is a single self-published book by author Ernest L. Martin, who wrote a number of books with sensational views. (Martin’s book on the star is called The Star That Astonished the World.) Most scholars accept the date of 4 B.C. for Herod’s death, which would eliminate the Jupiter/Venus conjunction of 3/2 B.C. as a viable explanation for the star.

    Secondly, I believe Matthew’s gospel indicates that the star directed the Magi not only to Bethlehem, but to the very house where Jesus was. So for me, none of the planetary conjunction theories provide a satisfying explanation.

    I guess those are my two main objections. I also disagree with the website’s interpretation of the symbolism in Revelation 12. It is a beautifully designed site with many interesting facts, but it seems very much influenced by Martin’s book which, as I stated before, seems to make some questionable claims.

  7. Mary C. says:

    Ray, you are mistaken. You skirt the issue. A legitimate theory even worth considering must have a prediction which comes true if it is indeed to be valid. No other theory as far as I know comes even close to making a prediction. Furthermore, no theory as far as I know explains all the known facts. Furthermore, no theory as far as I know even mentions truths about human nature and weakness–which make up tons of bible stories. Furthermore, the theory as far as I know is not a money making or power crazy proposition.

  8. Ray Fowler says:

    Mary – A legitimate theory must also fit all the evidence at hand. As I mentioned above, the statistical theory you reference dates the appearance of the star in 7 B.C. I believe the historical evidence points to a later date, more likley 4 or 5 B.C. Also, the textual evidence in Matthew seems to describe a more specific movement of the star than would result from the triple conjunction of Jupiter-Saturn.

    Rather than call each other mistaken, let’s just say we disagree. Far more important than the date of Jesus’ birth is the fact of his birth – the birth of God’s Son into our world in human flesh to be a Savior for all who believe in him.

  9. Mary C. says:

    Ray, a number of points. First, I forgot to say the statistical theory is simple–which is an indication of good science. Second, the Augustan decreee took place in 8 BC which would very probably rule out 5 and 4 BC. There are other reasons–Herod dying in the spring of 4 BC, for example. 5 BC has definitely been ruled out by most astronomers. Furthermore, 4 and 5 BC don’t have any “significant” astronomical event that we know of. The 7 BC triple conjunction is well known in Babylonian annals.
    But, aside from this, the topic is “God’s purpose for the star of bethlehem”. Figure it out! Most bible stories require us to think clearly, read closely, and discuss rather than to attribute them to a magic show. I suspect many stories are statistical in nature. In fact, the cycles of history are statistical in nature. It is important to understand and presumably get a better grasp of ourselves and the universe. It is NOT just get a question of someone’s birth.

  10. Ray Fowler says:

    Mary – Well, you are certainly persistent! We will just have to agree to disagree on this one.

  11. Mary C. says:

    Yes, I am persistent, and for good reason. I am interested in knowing the truth, whatever it may be, not a confused mass of academic philosophy and theology.

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