Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
Readings for January 6, 2021; Epiphany
Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-11; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12
On coming to the house, [the Magi] saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. Matthew 2:11
Have you ever stopped to consider the Magi, the wise men, in the Christmas story? If you are like me, you may have just thought of them as a nice added touch to the Christmas story. From our traditions and the little plastic figure nativity scenes that we have displayed in our homes we usually see three wise men standing around baby Jesus in the manger. Although these inaccurate details enhance our Christmas morning scene, there is a much greater significance to the Magi.
The night of Jesus’ birth brought together a bunch of individuals, all of whom were most likely Israelites, besides the angels of course. There was Mary and Joseph, a bunch of local shepherds, and maybe even the inn keeper or a couple passersby. It would be safe to say they were all Israelites from the tribe of Judah. But then, thrown into the story, come these non-Israelite Magi. According to thesauruses, words associated with Magi are priests, kings, and wise men. They were men of society, men of wisdom, and they were men that lived nowhere near Bethlehem. We don’t even know how they each came to be together since they could have each came from different lands. So think about it. Why did they bother?
They bothered, because in their wisdom, they believed the prophecies of the Old Testament, especially through Isaiah. They knew that the one true God- the God of the Israelites- had foretold the coming of the Saviour of the world. So when they saw the magnificent star, they knew with their heart they needed to follow it. These non-Israelite, these gentile, individuals travelled by foot and camel days, months and even years to find that promised child. With that kind of dedication they knew that if the prophecy came true, then that child would be their Lord and Saviour too. Even in his early years, through the wise men, we see how Jesus was to draw all people to himself. Yes, through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus. In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence. (Ephesians 3: 6, 12)
So as you put away your nativity scenes for another year, may you consider yourself in the place of one of those Magi, having the assurance that right from the start gentiles- you and me- have been drawn to Jesus our Saviour, and we too are the purpose for his birth, life, suffering, death, and resurrection. Right from day one Jesus has called you to him, to present yourself to him with the gift of your heart and your life. May each of your days be one where you seek him with a repentant heart and find him, whether in the manger or at the cross or in glory. He came for you, he sacrificed himself for you, he desires to walk with you, and he is waiting for you in eternity. In this assurance you too are as wise as any wise man!
Prayer: Dear Jesus, unlike the Magi, I have no gift to offer. Everything I have is a gift from you. So I offer myself. Forgive me my sins and cleanse me. Take my life and my abilities to be used for your glory and praises. In your name alone I pray. AMEN!