Over a recent dinner with our family we discussed how translators of the Bible have sanitized the image of the Wise Men, referring to them as wise advisors to a far off ruler(s). Christians in the past went so far as calling them kings, as in, “We Three Kings.”
Of course these three guys were really astrologers, royal astrologers who advised kings on the significance of events in the night sky. So I guess Christians didn’t exactly want to celebrate a false religion at the birth of their savior. Think of all the arguments that such a move has squelched, “Mom, if the 3 astrologers could worship Jesus, then I can be an astrologer and worship him too!”
Nevertheless, God went through quite a bit of trouble to make sure a star led these three astrologers to Jesus. And if you want to be a little more challenged, think about this: God played by their own religious rules to point them to Jesus. While not an outright endorsement of astrology, we do have a picture of God going to extraordinary lengths for the sake of these astrologers and their people.
We can only speculate what effect this star and this encounter with the child-king had on the three astrologers, but I think this star/astrologer business does reveal some concrete bits of God. The lines were blurred a little here. God used a religious system that is taboo to point its adherents to the truth of Jesus.
This does not mean that astrology in itself can lead us to God. Far from it. God wanted to shove these guys away from all of that. Why else would he send them on a two-year chase of a star to a far off country?
And so we have a picture of God reaching out to people who were previously on the outside, guiding them in. We also have God speaking the religious language of this people, a thought-provoking development if there ever was one for us.