Today, January 6th, is Epiphany! What a totally churchy word, but it is such a cool word when you understand what it means. Epiphany is the 12th night after Christmas Eve, when Jesus’ birth is commemorated. It is when the Church marks the visit to the baby Jesus by Kings, or Wise Men, from the east. “After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 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.’ ” Matthew 2:1 (NIV) No one knows exactly when the Magi came; it could have been anytime from his birth to two years later. The timing is not what is really important. What is really important is what it meant and what we can take away from the story to order our own lives.
The first piece of significance you will see is a brief description of these men. They were men of power (hence they were called “magi”). They were men from another country and culture (from “the east”). Most importantly, they were men who “saw his star” and “came to worship him”. Later in Matthew we come to know that they bring very expensive gifts befitting of a king (gold, incense and myrrh).
So today is called “Epiphany” because these Magi came to proclaim that Jesus was the King, the long awaited Messiah, the Christ. The word comes from Greek and means to show, referring to Jesus being revealed to the world. They were the first step in the revelation of who this baby was and would become. LiteraryTerms.net defines ‘epiphany’ as “the moment when a character is suddenly struck with a life-changing realization which changes the rest of the story. Often, an epiphany begins with a small, everyday occurrence or experience”. To find Jesus was an epiphany, a life-changing experience for these men. Matthew said the men were “overjoyed”!
The Life Application Study Bible (NIV) says this: “The Magi traveled thousands of miles to see the king of the Jews. When they finally found him, they responded with joy, worship, and gifts. This is so different from the approach people often take today. We expect God to come looking for us, to explain himself, prove who he is, and give us gifts. But those who are wise still seek and worship Jesus today, not for what they can get, but for who he is.” I love that!!
So here are a few take-aways for us:
- If we are wise, we will be actively seeking something that is bigger than ourselves, something that gives our lives true meaning and purpose.
- If we are looking up, we can still find our way to Jesus, just as these Magi did.
- Jesus came for all people, as represented by these men from another part of the world at that time.
- Truly finding Jesus will be a life-changing experience, as it was for the Magi.
- Once we have found Jesus, he will help us find our ‘star’, our purpose, our ministry.
We don’t know how long the Magi had been looking up, scouring the skies for a sign, something to lead the way, to guide them. Then they saw it…a star so bright, so out of place in the typical night sky that they noticed it immediately! They had to go. They had to follow. They had to leave behind their families and their normal lives in pursuit of it.
God wants to do the same for you and for me!! He wants to lead us in some amazing direction. Somewhere new. Somewhere exciting. Somewhere better than we could ever imagine. Not necessarily out of the area, but maybe. Not necessarily away from our family, but maybe. Definately He wants to lead us away from our ‘normal’!! Definately He wants to lead us to a place where we will be overjoyed! Are we looking?? Are we willing to see?? Are we willing to go??
I am…how about you??
Happy Epiphany to you all!!