B Cycle – Epiphany of the Lord

Nations will come to your light and kings to your brightness.  So Isaiah prophesied and so it happened in fulfillment of the words spoken long before the birth of Christ.  Matthew tells us Magi came from the east following the star.  The Jewish philosopher Philo says “Among the Persians there is the order of the magi who silently make research into the facts of nature to gain knowledge of the truth. And their visions, clearer than speech, give and receive the revelations of divine Excellency.

So from this order of magi who study the stars and written word to gain truth they went to give homage to the Christ. There is much of what we believe here which is accepted based on tradition and not proven fact. The scriptures only tell us that kings or magi would come to him. Their names or in reality how soon after the birth they arrived in Bethlehem is not in scripture. Christian tradition has given us identities of those who came as Melchoir from Persia, Caspar from India and Balthazar from Arabia.  Why or is it important for us to identify them?  Why is it we are compelled to deal with the inconsequential facts when Christ’s life and words challenges us to believe? Believe without needing proof.  Today we as church celebrate their coming to acknowledge and worship the king of kings because it is the fulfillment of God’s promise.

What is important is not a debate about the names of these kings or magi; but the fact that the prophet told us it would happen 800 years before the birth of Christ.  But here again we find ourselves with that concept of truth I preached about on Christmas day.  We could never win the argument of this event of magi or the birth of Christ or his resurrection on any provable fact.  Oh we may have a lot of circumstantial evidence but we lack factual evidence. We who worship Christ as did the magi accept on faith that he is the Son of God.  Just as the truth they studied said the prophecy had been fulfilled caused them to seek the one who was promised.

We also act on the truth of scripture and of the lives of those who witnessed his life, his death and resurrection. Then Jesus immediately after his resurrection opened the scriptures to them causing their hearts to burn within them.  He sent the Holy Spirit as promised by the prophets to change their hearts and transform their inner self to tell all about Christ.  They were compelled to give witness to what they knew as absolute truth. Proclaim that “every knee must bend and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” Their witness was confirmed by signs and wonders and by lives that were changed by the power of faith. That faith was passed on to us.

So this day is not about magi, kings or gifts. It is not about how far they traveled or how long it took to get to Jesus.  It is not about what they did after they bowed before him and worshipped him – for we do not know what they did after returning to their homes.

In the end it is about us and what we are doing with what we believe as truth. It should challenge us with several questions.  How much are we seeking this savior? What do we have to offer this king of kings?  How long will we study whatever it is we are studying before we start to move toward Christ?  Then once we get that far and acknowledge him as the Christ – what is next for us?  The answers lie in this manger not in the stars or in the books or in all our study.  These magi should challenge us to act on what we know is truth and seek only to worship our savior.

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