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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Not Just Any God Will Do


January 6 is the Feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord. The word "epiphany" means that something is revealed. Epiphany is a season which focuses on the manifestations of Jesus' divine nature. God reveals His glory most supremely in the flesh and blood of a man, Jesus Christ.

The Gospel reading for this day is Matthew 2:1-12, the story of the wise men. The Holy Scriptures actually tell us very little about these fellows. And several misunderstandings have piled up over the years.

The songs says, "We Three Kings," but the bible says nothing about them being royalty. They are called magi which means that they were wise men or scholars. We don't know where they came from exactly, though Persia is a good guess. The Scriptures merely say they came from the east. Even though your crèche has the wise men figurines, they were not present at the time of our Lord's birth. The holy family was no longer in a stable, but in a house and Jesus was probably about 2 years old when they showed up. We don't even know that there were three of them. It just says that they brought three gifts.

One thing we do know is that they were not Jews. Thus, they represent the nations of the world coming to Israel for salvation. Jesus later said, "Salvation is from the Jews (John 4:22). Many moderns assume that all religions are essentially the same. The Gospel of Matthews suggests otherwise. If that were so, why did those poor stargazers and their camels cross mountains and deserts to worship the newborn king of Israel? If all religions are the same, they should have just stayed home and prayed to Ishtar and burned that frankincense in the temples of Zoroaster.

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