Today, January 6, is Epiphany, a holiday celebrated by Christians in remembrance of the wise men’s visit to the child Jesus. History tells us Jesus may have been about a year old at the time. Because the wise men, or Magi, were not of the Jewish faith, Epiphany holds significance for Gentiles. Jesus came to the Jewish people first, but we Gentiles were included in the glorious manifestation of God coming to earth.
The word epiphany has come to mean an insight into the meaning of something, a moment of revelation, usually as a result of a simple or commonplace event.
You remember the story of the wise men who traveled a long distance to find this Child who would be king. They searched the heavens for clues about His location. They eventually arrived in Jerusalem and asked the reigning king, Herod, if he could help them find the child. Guided by the star, they found Jesus with Mary and Joseph, and their joy was over flowing.
We have assumed the Magi found him on the same night the shepherds came to see the baby in the manager. At least, that is the way our Christmas programs portray the scene, isn’t it?
We have also assumed there were three of them because Matthew 2 mentions three gifts presented to the Christ Child, gold, frankenstein, and myrrh. It was a surprise to me when I actually searched the Scriptures to find there is no mention of how many wise men there really were.
There is something else we might overlook in the story of this strange visitation. Did you ever stop to think that there were not three gifts but four?
“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshiped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11, emphasis mine)
The first gift the Magi offered was their worship.
The Jewish law instructed the people to come into Jehovah’s presence with an offering or a gift. I read in places like Exodus 23:15 and 34:20 how God said they should not come empty-handed.
As a child of God under the new covenant, I no longer have to bring the blood of bulls and goats. A complete offering was made for me at the cross of Calvary.
Yet, when I come to God, my Father, I must not come empty-handed either. The gift, the offering I bring is my sacrifice of praise.
Just like the wise men of old, I bow down and I worship.
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