Today, Christians celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord. The account of the foreign magi (wise men) following the star to visit Jesus with gifts of gold, incense, and myrrh teaches us that Jesus came for all people.
Here are some discoveries in this Bible episode from Matthew chapter 2.
10. These foreign magi working in a pagan setting knew about a king of the Jews because some believer at some time had the courage to say something to someone about God’s promise to send a Savior. You never know where your witnessing will lead. Say something to someone today.
9. After consulting seminary professors, Greek lexicons, and Hebrew dictionaries, I still don’t know whether to say “mayj-eye” or “madge-eye.” A thoughtful friend suggested, “Just call them wise men.”
8. Their profession (studying the stars) opened possibilities for their faith. God uses your career, your professional skills and associates, and your work setting to open doors for your personal faith journey and your witnessing to others.
7. The star guided the magi to Jesus. Even the stars serve Jesus. He is the Lord of all.
6. Maybe we call the magi wise because they stopped and asked for directions. And they listened. What directions does God have for you if you’d only stop, ask, and listen to his guidance.
5. Jews today who are still waiting for the Messiah should know that their own religious leaders pointed the magi to Bethlehem to find … the Messiah.
4. We don’t know for sure that there were three wise men. We just know that there were three gifts. Gold honors the royalty of Jesus as King who shares with us his rich storehouses of forgiveness and blessing. Incense, burned in worship, acknowledges the deity of Jesus as true God deserving of our awe and praise and everything. Myrrh, used in embalming, reminds us of the humanity of Jesus who came as Immanuel – “God with us” – to give us himself.
3. The magi worshipped Jesus, not Mary.
2. Jesus doesn’t need these gifts as a little child, but the wise men needed to give them. Jesus doesn’t need your money or effort or prayers to accomplish his kingdom work successfully today, but you need to give them. And excellent, expensive ones, too. It’s good for your soul. Practice joyful generosity in a spirit of worship and thanks, and see what a difference it makes.
1. It took a long journey for magi to find Jesus. But they did find him. God made sure of it. If you’re still on a journey to find Jesus, or faith, or new hope … don’t give up. God is guiding the way.
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I want to worship you. Accept whatever gifts I bring you today, yet teach me to bring even greater gifts tomorrow. Do not forget all those who are journeying through this life uncertain of your gift of grace to them. Lead them clearly to set their sights on you. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read the episode about the magi in Matthew 2:1-12. Compare the paranoia of powerful King Herod to the peace and joy of these travel-weary magi whose faith submitted to Jesus instead of seeking to control him.