Posted by: pastormikemcdowell | January 6, 2016

January 6, 2016 “Epiphany”!

“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.” (Matthew 2: 1-6)

Good Morning and Blessed Epiphany Everyone!

   Though it does not garner nearly as much attention as the celebration of Christmas, today is an important day of celebration on the church calendar. It is Epiphany. Depending on your particular Christian persuasion, Epiphany marks either the commemoration of Christ’s baptism by John in the wilderness or the visitation of the Magi. In the church I serve, it is the latter that is observed. I have always been fascinated by the visitation of the Magi and the arduous journey they made to Bethlehem when the heavens declared his birth through a bright star in the sky. Though they were not Hebrew, these Magi nonetheless understood this stellar sign to be the clear indication of prophetic fulfillment…the birth of the Messiah foretold from ancient of days. Collectively, they decided to follow this heavenly sign that eventually led them to Jerusalem to the palace of King Herod, and then on to Bethlehem where Jesus, God’s promised Messiah, was born.

What I find particularly fascinating in this account is that neither Herod nor his cohort of religious leaders, the chief priests and scribes, recognized this heavenly sign for what it was. It is clear they understood the prophetic words, for they recited them chapter and verse to King Herod, but none of them, apparently, recognized what these Gentile Magi recognized…the long expected Messiah had been born and was living in Bethlehem! No doubt, they went out and looked up into the night sky as did the Magi, but beyond looking, they were not moved. The Magi, on the other hand, not only looked but also saw what these supposedly wise scribes and Pharisees, and even their king, had failed to see. They saw God’s great declaration of wonder, and in seeing it, they followed with believing hearts. Their reward was to behold and to fall in worship before their Maker and Redeemer…the first of the Gentile world to behold God incarnate.

Christian author and missionary J. Oswald Sanders understood this insight of the Magi. He wrote,

“Eyes that look are common, eyes that see are rare.”   

Are your eyes open to the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. “He is the living God and the everlasting King.” (Jeremiah 10:10) Like the Magi of old, bring your precious gifts to lay before Him in worship and praise. Bring the gift of a heart to serve and a life to live for Him, for He is worthy! Let’s pray!

Infinite Lord; I kneel before You in worship this glorious day. Thank You for the revelation of your splendor before shepherds and kings, and all those who are wise. May my eyes do more than just look…may they see and believe. This I pray in Jesus’ wonderful Name. Amen!



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