Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying,2"Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him."
Epiphany is my favorite part of Christmas. Often called the 12th day of Christmas, in my mind this is a case of God saving the best till last. Epiphany is celebrated on January 6. What makes Epiphany special, is that this is the time when God choose to reveal himself, not just to a chosen few, not just to the chosen people, but this is God revealing himself to all nations. And while all nations know that there is one God, who will judge each person according to what they have done, or failed to do. What God is revealing here, is that not only is there one God, who will judge all, but that this God has a plan for our life, that he loves us, and because he knew that we needed forgiveness and salvation, that this one God has sent a Savior who will save us. So Epiphany is the beginning of the story of a Savior for us, and for all people.
We do not know how many wisemen there were, nor from which country they came, but we do know that they came to worship, bringing gifts fit for a king, 3 gifts are mentioned, gold, frankincense and myrrh. They came seeking, they came to worship, and God guided them to the good news of salvation; and they rejoiced with great joy in what they were guided to.
Iíd like you to stop and consider the example of these wisemen, asking if there might not be in their story a lesson for us.
Judaism had never been a popular religion, it was too hard, and Israel did not play a major part in world politics. The world leaders, they had power, and people wishing to share in that power would follow the faith of whom ever was their most powerful neighbor. Thatís the way it was, and so it is today, although many do not recognize money as a religion or a god, it acts in all those ways.
Now imagine that you are smart, very smart, and that people look to you for guidance, perhaps you are a king, perhaps you are the administrator for the king, these are the kinds of things wise men do, we can read about it in Daniel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Imagine that you watch the stars, looking for signs of things which are to come, and one night you see a new star, and because of this new star, you drop everything, and leave it all behind, and go off to follow this star, for it is a sign of something very important.
No promise has been made, nothing has been spoken to you, for all you know this might be just for those in Israel, but still you set off. Now imagine what people would say as you get ready to go: Why are you abandoning the gods of your fathers? Why are you going to visit a second rate nation? Why are you leaving power? What is it that you hope to find? What promise have you been given? Its not hard to imagine those questions, people ask us each day the same thing, when we turn from the ways of the world, and seek to do all things to the glory of God for Jesus sake.
And this is where the difference lies, for we have been given the hope and the promise and the covenant, by grace through faith, by Baptism. But the wisemen had no promise, only hope, and in hope they followed the star, and God guided them to the Savior, and they left knowing that this was not just a new-born king of Israel, but this was the King of Kings, and the savior of all nations.
It is my prayer, that we may always follow the example of the wisemen, seeking God first in all things, and seeking his will for our lives, and his ways for us to travel. It is my hope that the grace of God will not only show us the star, that we may follow, but keep us safe as we journey by faith; and that we all reach the destination that God has prepared for us, and for all who believe on the name of he Lord Jesus Christ, for truly He is the savior of all nations, and our personal Lord and redeemer.