Epiphany of our Lord

“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born king of the Jews?  For we saw His star when it rose and have come to worship Him.’” ~ Matthew 2:1-3

HE STILL SEEKS WISE MEN.  This is not the phrase you see this time of year.  In fact, nobody would buy it or understand it.  Instead, we see the bumperstick “Wise men still seek Him.”  We would all agree that it would be very wise to seek Jesus!  But, alas!  We are not wise!  Even the fall into sin could be understood in light of Romans 1:22, “claiming to be wise, they became fools.”  The Gospel is foolishness to those who are wise (1 Corinthians 1:18-19).  In Matthew 2, it is the Lord Who is seeking the magi!  The best translation of the Greek word magi is . . . you guessed it . . . magi!  If we call them “wise men,” it is only because they were wise in their dark arts.  They were definitely pagans.  As Chaldeans rulers, they may have had some lingering memory of what the faithful Hebrews told them in Babylonian exile, but they were still wandering and wondering souls.  They were lost.

We must gladly remember this.  This is consistently Biblical from the beginning to the end.  We don’t end up believing in God because we find Him.  Or seek Him.  Or make a decision for Him (read Ephesians 1:3-14 sometime!).  Or even “accept” Him.  Uh. . . . you can’t do that either.  Only the Holy Spirit can create the new life that we call saving faith (1 Corinthian 12:3).  God was not lost in Genesis 3 or any chapter after that.  God is the One Who has been seeking and finding as a Good Shepherd looks for His Sheep.  He is the One Who drew the wise man out of their spiritual darkness to the place where they could interact with the King of kings.  The Light of the world was shining forth through this toddler (Jesus was living in a home in Bethlehem by the time the magi arrived) that themagi would eventually “find.”  One tiny, lasting word from one of Yahweh’s dear people in exile was enough to prepare the wise men to travel to see the true King when the star drew them forth.  And . . . coming to the place where Jesus was, they fell down before Him and worshipped Him.  They opened up to Him their gifts, which were gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  The first two were kingly gifts indeed, but the last one, myrrh, which was used in the burial process, was already revealing that this tiny eternal Messiah would be the Savior of the world.  He was born to die and born to save the lost.

God finds us.  He sent Jesus to find both Jews and Gentiles.  He sent Him to save both the low-born and the high-class.  He came to save the notoriously sinful, but also those who still think that they are wise in their own eyes.  Yes, He still seeks wise men!  He still seeks those flirting with all kinds of false spirituality and the deep darkness of self- worship.  He is seeking all those trapped in the new age movement and worshipping idols in temples.  Christ came to liberate us from the our bondage to sin through His liberating life and salvation through His atoning death and glorious resurrection.  He puts down a name through Word with water in Baptism to find, to save, to keep.  This very Lord, Who once was so tiny and helpless, is now at the right hand of the Father with all things under His feet.  He is the very merciful and conquering Lord Who stoops down to strengthen with His Body and Blood in the bread and wine of Holy Communion.  Jesus is a King Who stays for us with the forgiveness of sins until the closing of the age (Matthew 28:20).

As recorded in George Malech’s Book, “History of the Syrian Nation and the Old Evangelical-Apostolic Church of the East,” there is a group of Christians who claim that their origins go back to the mission work of the converted Magi who told of the newborn King.  They also have a record of the names of the 12 ruling magi who came to see Jesus.  Do we know this for a fact?  No, because it is not recorded in the Holy Scriptures.  But . . . what we do know from Word of God is that Jesus is our Savior.  He has come for both Jew and Gentile.  He has delivered us from our spiritual blindness.  He has given us His Words.  These are the very words that we gladly get to tell to those who around us in a lost and hurting world.  Arise, and shine, your Light has come!

Blessed Epiphany!

Rev. Tim Droegemueller

 

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