Now consider what the wise men did: they saw the heavenly star and they followed it, but they made a great mistake. They received the vision, but they soon turned to their human concept and exercised their natural understanding. They realized that this star signified the King of the Jews; therefore, they reasoned that they should go to Jerusalem and inquire of those who would be familiar with such matters. And their going, as we know, caused much trouble. I do believe that if they had not turned to their natural concept, but continually looked away to the star in the sky, the star would have gone before them all the time, leading them directly to the place where Jesus was. They need not have gone to Jerusalem. They were thoroughly wrong and caused many young and innocent lives to be taken. The Jewish religious leaders had the knowledge and the wise men had the vision, but those who received the vision made a great mistake and, apart from divine intervention, would have caused the loss of the little child Jesus.
When they arrived in Jerusalem, we read that Herod was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. Herod, yes, but why Jerusalem? Were they not for Christ? Why was all Jerusalem troubled at the birth of the One for whom they were waiting? This is religion. I’m afraid that many Christian teachers will be troubled by the Lord’s return.
Then Herod called the chief priests and scribes of the people together and asked of them where Christ should be born. The scribes were those among the people who had doctors’ degrees in theology. Immediately they answered, "Bethlehem!" And they gave him the right book, the right chapter, and the right verse! They quoted Micah 5:2. But did any one of them go to Bethlehem? Not one! They were troubled by the news, but no one cared to go and see what happened.
Then the wise men left Jerusalem, and we read, "Lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them....When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy." When you get into religion, you miss the star, but when you leave religion, the star appears to you. You cannot get living guidance in Jerusalem; you cannot receive the heavenly vision in religion; you have to leave. When they departed from Jerusalem, lo, the star went before them.
Micah 5:2 was the holy writing, the Holy Scripture, prophesying that Jesus would be born in Bethlehem. But just by that verse you could not find Jesus: you would know in what city Jesus was to be born, but you would not know on what street or in what house. I do not believe that the postman today could deliver a letter addressed to John Smith, Los Angeles, California. You see, even if you have the knowledge of the Scriptures, you still need the instant, up-to-date, living star to lead you to the very street and the very house where Jesus is. You may have the Bible knowledge, but you still need the living guidance. The Scriptures can never replace that. It is easy to accumulate scriptural knowledge, but if we would have living guidance, we must live in an intimate relationship with the Lord; we must be one with Him. The Word says that the star "went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was." The heavenly star led them to the very spot. This is all we need. I do believe that if they had no knowledge whatever of Micah 5:2, but just followed the star, they still could arrive at that place. How can we find Christ? Not merely by Bible knowledge, but by the living star. Not one merely with Bible knowledge found Christ, only those who followed the heavenly star.
Do we need the knowledge of the Scriptures? Of course, we do. It helps; but there is a big BUT. BUT the living, instant guidance, the guidance of this very moment to lead us to the very spot where Jesus is, is indispensable. I may know the Bible, but never be able to arrive where Jesus is. It is the living guidance that brings me to Jesus that I may worship Him and offer my gifts to Him.
(Finding Christ by the Living Star, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)