Those wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He Who has been born King of the Judeans? For we have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him." They came following God’s star or the coming together of two stars like Jupiter and Saturn - the royal and Israel stars to Babylonian astronomers who asked "Where is He Who has been born King of the Judeans? For we have seen His star in the east, and have come to worship Him."
They were not of Israel's chosen race - but Gentiles like us … Gentiles outside of the Old Testament relationship with God. Questions of how they knew this star's message and how the star led them to Jerusalem must be left to the Wisdom of God. Through the Gospel writer Matthew, God simply tells us that at an unspecified time after Christ's birth an unnumbered party of magi visited Jesus in a house ("οἰκίαν"). He was no longer in the cave stable.
We see how prayerfully they approached God’s Word and how God enabled them to understand it for when they had come into the house, they saw The Young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Gold was the gift for The King. Those Gentile wise men, by The Grace of God, knew The King of kings when they saw Him.
Remember, shortly before they entered the house where Jesus was now staying in Bethlehem, the wise men visited King Herod -- they offered that king no gift of gold -- Gold they saved for the true King of kings.
Frankincense is a resin used in incense when worshipping God. Those Gentile wise men, by the Grace of God, knew God had come among us as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ. Our ancestors were among the first to worship Him and give Baby Jesus frankincense.
Myrrhwas used in funeral preparation and was the sorrowful gift which showed, that, as God had done with Simeon the Judean prophet in the Temple (LUKE 2:34-35), God revealed to these Gentile wise men the price God had come to pay for our eternal Salvation.
There are those today - even some in leadership positions in Christ's Church - who believe the way to deal with human sin is to relativize all human behavior so sin becomes virtue and virtue becomes impractical so nobody needs to feel any guilt or responsibility. God chose to deal with human sin and the death it brings on the cross for us so the enlightened Gentile wise men gave Him myrrh.
Gold, frankincense, and myrrh — the gifts themselves reveal how fully God revealed The Gospel to these Gentile wise men-- and how far they were willing to go on a journey that may have taken them as many as two years to experience The Good News for themselves.
WISE MEN STILL SEEK JESUS. That is why The Epiphany of our Lord is such an essential and important day in the Church Year calendar.
By the Grace of God, we know our Savior. For we have seen His Salvation so dearly purchased for us by God as the vulnerable flesh and blood Christ suffering and dying for us on the cross – and we too have come to worship Him. All people made spiritually wise by God still seek Him - and, by the Grace of God, find Him.
THE PEACE OF GOD WHICH PASSES ALL HUMAN UNDERSTANDING KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND YOUR MINDS IN CHRIST JESUS … THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD … OUR LORD AND OUR SAVIOUR. AMEN.
THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD
January 6, 2019
Dr. Kurt Borows
Pastor, Resurrection Lutheran Church, Catawba Island, Port Clinton, Ohio