“When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.” (Matt 2:10)
The gospel of Matthew is clearly written for a Jewish audience. It regularly points out when prophecy is being fulfilled. There are numerous mentions of being clean or unclean, and other references to the Old Testament law.
And yet peppered all-throughout are Gentiles. Even before the telling of Jesus’ birth the reader was introduced to the non-Jews in his family tree. And now that he has been born, who rejoices exceedingly with great joy? In Matthew, it is the Wise Men.
These Wise Men are strangers in the land. They saw his star, telling us they looked to the stars as interpreters of the events here on earth. They understood that this star announced the birth of a king who would rule even over them.
How is it possible that they would grasp this great truth from the stars? Divination was forbidden by God, and yet God apparently communicated to these pagans from the East in a manner they would understand. What a mysterious God we serve, that he would do this to draw these men.
Yet the star is not enough. They arrive at Jerusalem, and only when the Word of God is read can they can continue their journey. The star hinted at what the Word proclaimed loudly: The King had been born in Bethlehem. This passage is not an invitation to look to the stars, but to grasp the Word which reveals Christ plainly.
At the beginning of the incarnate life of Christ it was Gentiles who honoured him. The rulers, the chief priests and scribes did not come. These pagan Wise Men rejoiced at him. Jesus is not only the King of the Jews. He is King of the nations. Of us. Rejoice!