By Ranil Wijeyesekera –
The star of Bethlehem is important to the Christian Faith. It involves the wise men who probably came from different cultural background. The incarnate Jesus experienced all trials and sufferings of man. The wise men blessing and gifts denotes their experience coalesced with Jesus giving a worldwide blessing to the King of Kings. The Bethlehem Star shows that even the stars acknowledged the saviors’ of the world’s birth.
Predestination, incarnation had a role to play in God’s Plan before the Creation of the World. We should understand the son of man, Jesus is hundred percent divine and hundred percent human. Jesus Birth, life and death and resurrection were the cornerstone in God’s Plan of a New Creation. Let us consider this in the background of Jesus’ birth and life. Permit me to meditate on the word of God. Let us test theories and prove them in life’s journey with the prompting of the Holy Spirit..
Jesus the word was present at Creation. The Universe was created by the Word spoken by God. God the Holy Spirit was also present at Creation. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are divine and equally God. There are no other Gods. Satan is Lucifer a fallen Arch Angel and a created being. The Trinity are not created beings but were always in existence.
The Trinity consisting of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit act as the perfect team sharing in Creation, Saving Grace and Sustaining. Each of us is uniquely knit and molded in the Womb with a Divine purpose in mind. God knows what everyone will do even as he gave us free will. He will however make use of all of us to further reach nearer his Divine Plan. Likewise Gods plan include a multi ethnic and multi cultural society. Man is called to multiply and reach the furthermost places on Earth. Different locations call for different groups to adjust for the conditions on the ground. God promised Abraham to be a Father to many nations. The Jew and Arab have been a Blessing in many ways to all of us. Christians are as Abrahams spiritual children are blessed and have become a Blessing to many. The wise men are example where the east and west meet. All cultures kneeled down to Jesus.
The Organic Church, Christ’s Bride and Members of the Body of Christ act to complement each other and use their Spiritual gifts to combine in a effectiveness much more than the sum of each individual part. The Trinity likewise is the perfect complement of each other and is in perfect harmony. Christ is coming again to Judge the Resurrected people. People of all Tribes and Nations will populate the New Heaven and Earth ruling as Joint Heirs of God.
God’s intervention is always timely. He acts at the right place and at the right time. The Scriptures foretell of a Savior the purest possible sacrifice for all our sins. Incarnate and transformed, God became man through Mary and the Holy Spirit. His teaching confirmed His firm grounding of scripture, and knowledge of people and their trades which he used to tell us eternal truths through parables.
Jesus the Word became incarnate man. He gave up the qualities of Omnipotence, Omnipresence and Omniscience and became a baby in a carpenter’s household. To be able to shed all powers was the most difficult thing to do in Heaven and Earth. The star of Bethlehem was above the lowly Stable that Jesus was born. Christmas is disputed to occur in winter or spring. It is celebrated on 25th December. This was an earth shattering moment where the all powerful God became the Suffering servant.
We are elected. It is foreordained. All things are predestinated. Jesus Christ never disobeyed. All events were foreordained in Christ’s life that the sinless Divine Sacrifice is the saving of the Many.
God created the stars and it was good. The Jews had a belief that the stars foretell events in the future. When the wise men spoke to King Herod that a Messiah was to be born and that it was shown in the stars he believed. Are stars made by God to control the future? Is the future foreordained? The best answer was Jesus’ birth, death and resurrection and other important events. Are they fixed in the stars? Did the wise men see the Glorious future? Can man divine what the stars foretell? The answer is no. Any attempts in the use of the occult are forbidden and causes Death. Complications make it impossible. Does man interfere with God’s plan? Yes and I firmly believe that man’s disobedience is such interference. It is our struggle to master the mysteries of creation and the distorting creation itself. An example is that the occult when helping a man to win a desire will always cause other complications in body, mind and soul which include eternal damnation. The effects of the occult on earth, environment and universe itself are detrimental and immense. God’s plan is absolutely fool proof. It optimizes different factors giving us and our world the best possible solution. Man’s body, mind and heart dwell in perfect harmony.
Who were the wise men. There is a theory that their origins are in Babylon. Daniel was truly a man of God. When he demonstrated the power of God and he was made the leader of the wise men. This would have a lasting impact on the occult. The wise men were taught to accept the good in Culture and renounce what is not in harmony with Gods Word. This had a lasting impact on the Truth.
The Devil acts through the occult. Fallen man accesses Satan and his Demons through the Occult. We Christians have access to the gifts of the Spirit which are superior to the occult. We must pray that disembodied spirits are laid to rest. We are blessed to be a blessing to other. In a fallen world where divination, astrology and vastu vidya(equivalent to feng shui) prevail we are to be the light to the Nations. Miracles, Healings and Prophecy and signs and wonders show unbelievers the truth. It is not for us to be critical regarding cultural practices and rites but by a demonstration of the Power of the Holy Spirit be a living example of the Truths. Culture and world view must be transformed where it is necessary. We should pray for evangelism and Revival. Every effort should be made for us to mature in Christ and obtain the Fruits of the Spirit.
Jesus Christ’s life was always a sacrifice. The sacrifices in the Old Testament were carried out in the Temple and surrounding. The Tabernacle was the place of sacrifice before the Temple. Killing of animals in temple premises on sanctified Holy ground, adopting methods of draining Blood and pouring it at the Alter caused the animals to die at peace. They were the atonement of sin in the Old Testament. The Blood is then offered to God in the Temples Holiest of Holies, to cancel our sins. In the New Testament Jesus came and died for sins. He was the perfect divine Lamb to be sacrificed for us. He died for us and his sacrificial blood was poured in the Alter in Heaven. We believe the temple is under Gods guidance to King David was built like Heaven.
Jesus Christ’s life was an example of that. The wise men saw Jesus Christ’s life in the position of the stars and Planets. He was tempted, experienced many emotions and trials of man. He was tried unjustly, whipped, scorned and crucified. He never swayed from the task before him to die for the sins of the whole World. Jesus was a pure sacrifice for all our sins past, present and future. He had no anger or hate when undergoing physical, mental and spiritual pain, even the pain of separation from The Father because of sin. Mary was also from Bethlehem. Joseph was from Bethlehem of Judah. Jesus a descendent of King David as promised in the Old Testament. Pregnant Jewish women spent their confinement in reading Holy Scripture, prayer and spiritual song. Mary would have practiced these customs. This was especially so during some months of the confinement. She would have participated in different festivals of first fruit of wheat Barley, Figs and Grapes etc. She spent time in the synagogue with Elizabeth and Zechariahs. Here we read about the Magnificent and the baby leaping in the womb.
The Census organized tribes and sub tribes to home towns. Here people of the same relations were grouped together during the Birth of Jesus. All the families whose fore fathers were from Bethlehem gathered there. Mary, Joseph and other travelers to Bethlehem, the donkey and the wilderness merged together, as they traveled in fear. They passed through David’s valley of the shadow of death in their journey from Galilee to Judah. It is well known that fear helps to unite and strengthen people facing it together. We believe there would have been singing of Psalms etc., during that journey. Bethlehem was crowded and overflowing. At Jesus’ Birth the town was packed with people. The building where Jesus was born was a stable that was eco friendly Material. The smell of cow dung and sheep dung, the company of animals, shepherds and the wise men at Christ’s Birth and Angels guarding Him confirms the best place and time for a Messiah. It also showed events following each other a foreordained. The journey through life for Jesus was predestined to become hundred percent man.
He was born at midnight. At midnight the world is asleep, the animals surrounded Jesus Christ at the time. The Birth place of Jesus was close to Jerusalem and Judea. The Holy land had an earth Fault below the surface of the earth. There is latent seismic activity beneath the surface. The Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee are among the deepest points on the earth. The land from the Hills of Bethlehem to the river Jordan and Dead Sea are probably the steepest change in elevation. The stars or planets coming into line can affect seismic activity underground. This also affects the weather. Such activity may have its impact on the genetic make up of man. This may have being part of Gods plan to make Jesus hundred percent Divine and Human.
The time of Jesus’ Birth was also during the Greek Empire followed by the Roman Empire helping Globalization. Greek Philosophy and Eastern Philosophers mingled in the Middle East a central or transit point. The East wind was a strong wind changing vegetation carving mountains. The Mediterranean Seas meant warm winds.
Wise men with knowledge in astrology saw Jesus’ Birth, Death and Resurrection in the stars. They followed the star to Bethlehem and paid homage to Jesus with gifts and worshipped and blessed Him. All things in earth influenced the divine mind making Him truly a son of man and a Son of God.
God the Father planed the minute details in Jesus birth and life for him to become the Savior of the World. Jesus obeyed in every way Gods plan and fulfilled the scriptures in his life’s journey. The servant leader showed us by example how abundant life should be lived. Jesus in his life and death revealed God to us. His life of service is a role model for us all.
The Jewish faith was instructed by God to care for the widow, the orphan and the alien. They however believed in a false holiness restricted to an elite social group. The Jews were extremely judgmental. Jesus Christ reached out in healing to the sick and the handicapped , touched the leper and the dead in healing which was prohibited and ate and fellowshipped with the drunkard, the tax collector who were considered the dregs of society of that time. He exorcised the demon possessed. He reached out to prostitutes with divine forgiveness and gave women a place in society where they were treated very badly.
Shouldn’t we follow his example in Sri Lanka? Let us reach out to people of different culture,religion,ethnicity,race,age, caste and gender. Justice and restitution is called for. We shouldn’t let our predijuces on minor differences color our thinking and be influenced by opportunities who seek to gain by creating dissension between groups. Let each of us participate in Pirith ceremonies and Christian cell group meetings and not think that the others are sinners. Jesus fellowshipped with the sinners as it was the sinners who needed help.
Adam sinned and was the cause of the death of many. Jesus died sinless and caused the eternal Life of Many. The Wise men followed the Star of Bethlehem and found the Babe who is the King of Kings, our Savior, Intercessor, our Judge and Advocate. Jesus Christ is coming again at the end of time.