Matthew 2:1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem 2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”… 9 they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Today is the day of Ephiphany in the Christian church – also the 12th day of Christmas. The word “epiphany” means “to reveal”. In this passage, Jesus’ true identity is revealed by the three wise men from the East.
There is some irony in this passage as well. In Matthew chapter 2 we read that King Herod, an Israelite like Jesus, tried to have baby Jesus killed. Why? Because Herod (king of the Jews at the time of Jesus’ birth) felt threatened when told there was another “king of the Jews”. Surprisingly, it was a group of non-Jewish wise men who readily embraced Jesus as Lord of all. This happens over and over again in the New Testament. The Israelites, the persons you might expect would recognize Jesus as Messiah, rejected him – while people outside of the Jewish race received Jesus with open arms.
Today we have the same opportunity as these characters of ancient times. Today we can, once again, recognize Jesus as our Lord and Savior. Let’s close in a word of prayer.
Heavenly Father, this morning we thank you for sending your son Jesus into the world. Through Jesus you gave us a glimpse of what it looks like to live in your Kingdom, which is eternal. Through Jesus you made an atoning sacrifice for our sin – so that all those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior would not perish but have eternal life. Give us grace today to live as children of your Kingdom. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.