After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Who were the Magi? The word is difficult to translate. They are commonly known as the three kings because they brought three gifts and there are prophesies about the Messiah being worshipped by kings. But they probably came from a tribe of Persian priests. Magi, with its derivative our word ‘magic’, has become a derogatory term associated with astrology and the occult, clearly forbidden in Scripture. Wise men is probably the best translation. These were respected Godly foreigners who had travelled a great distance, expending tremendous effort to meet this baby.
What about the star? Can it be explained scientifically? Nobody really knows. It probably wasn’t a bright star at all, but to those observant wise men, it was hugely significant.
So what about us? Let us be clear that Scripture condemns astrology, horoscopes or discovering the future through fortune telling or dabbling in the occult. As wise men, we are called to travel whatever distance and expend whatever effort it takes to follow the star, Jesus, son of God, and then to worship him. This involves obedience to his teaching, steps of faith and possibly physical travel without being sure where you are going to end up.