The James Webb Space Telescope is scheduled to replace the Hubble Space Telescope in 2014. The Webb Telescope’s main scientific goal is to observe the most distant objects in the universe beyond the reach of either ground based instruments or the Hubble. The Webb Telescope is sophisticated and powerful telescopic power. Telescopes allow us to see what the human eye cannot; stars that are unseen to the naked eye. There are many stars that cannot be seen without the aid of instruments like the Webb telescope. There are many stars that whose glimmer can be seen. There was one star that was clearly seen by the magi long ago. It was the nativity star, or the celestial spotlight.
What did the celestial spotlight reveal?
First, the celestial spotlight revealed that this was a divinely orchestrated event. Was this star an extraordinary astronomical event such as a radiant planetary conjunction, or a brilliant supernova, or maybe a dazzling comet? God said it was a star, and so a star it is. It was hung in the heavens by the Creator for this very special occasion. The Creator stretched out the heavens like a curtain (Isaiah 40:22; Job 9:8). He commands the stars to hold back their light and in other cases He makes them shine (Job 9:7, CEV).
Second, the celestial spotlight revealed the Christmas season is about Christ. The magi said, “For we saw his star” (Matthew 2:2). It is right to observe the centrality of Christ in the passage. It is true that the text mentions Jesus and His mother, but Matthew goes on to make explicit that the Magi worshipped Him. The gifts they offer him are very valuable (cf. Carson, “Matthew,” 89). The star served as the celestial spotlight on the newborn King.
Third, the celestial spotlight revealed the place of all earthly kings, including Herod the Great. He who was appointed “king of the Jews” under the authority of Rome would be overthrown by a heavenly coup. The rightful “king of the Jews” was born, under the authority of Heaven. There is a fear and uneasiness generated in the hearts of those who refuse to give over the governance of their life to Christ.
Fourth, the celestial spotlight cast by the star revealed that God is pleased to use us. The celestial light is still shining through us. It is a sign that God is up to something bigger than us, His stars! “God and sinners reconciled” and “to fit us for heaven to live with Him there.” Let us be happy to be an instrument of pointing people to the newborn King. Like the star in Bethlehem, let us be a light that dominates the darkness. “Let your light shine before others” this Christmas season. The stare shone for one reason; so should we shine to spotlight Christ. They star was a means, the Person was the end.
O star of wonder, star of light,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
(John H. Hopkins, Jr., “We Three Kings,” 1857)