Dear redeemed ones in Christ,
“After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jersualem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him… Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.’
“After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they 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. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” (Matthew 2:1-2, 7-12)
We all know the story of the visit of the wise men to see baby Jesus. But in their visit we find the reason why we can rejoice in the birth of a Jewish baby so many years ago.
As you remember, when Mary and Joseph took baby Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem when He was forty days old, Simeon took Him in his arms and said that He is “a light to lighten the Gentiles.” As the gentile wise men traveled from their county to Judea, they said that “his star” led the way! The Lord was providing light to lighten the gentile wise men all the way to where the child Jesus was so they could worship him.
Yes, Jesus was born to be Savior of all mankind, gentiles as well as Jews. The Epiphany, the day we remember the visit of the wise men (January 6th), is good news for all of us who are not Jewish by heritage. Here, for the first time, Jesus is worshiped and adored by Gentiles. And God led them to do it! It was good, right, and proper for these non-Jews to worship the Jewish boy because He was and is the Savior of all.
The Epiphany season has long been celebrated in the Christian church as a season of mission work; of bringing the light of the Gospel of Jesus to all nations. As Peter once said to the Jewish ruling council of his day, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jews and Gentiles alike are saved exactly the same way—by the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the son of Mary, the Son of God.
May our Epiphany prayer be one of asking the Lord’s Spirit to send us out mightily into the world with the good news of salvation in Christ. In so doing, all people might find Jesus to be their light in a dark world of sin and death.
A blessed Epiphany to you all.