Home By A Different Way - 01/05/2014

Sermon Text:  Isaiah 60:1-5 & Matthew 2:1-12

   This Sunday is called “Epiphany.” Why? It has everything to do with LIGHT.
    Isaiah proclaimed:
       “Arise, shine; for your LIGHT has come,
       and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1)
    The LIGHT has indeed come with the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem … a star shown … and, from the east came seekers.
    This story is probably as well known as any in the Bible. So much has been made of this story and yet, in reality we know so little. They were not kings, of course. I’m not sure from where that label came … it was added quite a few years later. But Matthew says they were “magi” … meaning “thinkers” or “astrologers” … thus very “wise men”. Matthew’s text doesn’t say that there are three of them … that’s just assumed because of the three gifts. Bottom line … we don’t know WHO they were or exactly WHERE they came from or HOW MANY there were. We don’t know HOW LONG it took them to get to Bethlehem or HOW OLD Jesus was when they got there. However, this story is so much a part of our being … that it has changed us.
    Even though the details might not be exactly known to us, the reality is that some people from a countryother than the Jewish nation … recognized that the world had changed because of “something” that happened in another country. And they were willing to travel a long way to find out just WHAT it was.
    Some think they were Priestly gents who came from Persia … this would be modern day Iran. They were absolutely NOT Jews. They did NOT know about Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were NOT people of the Book. And yet, in spite of this … they were the first ones to see that Jesus was the Christ, the first ones to journey from a foreign land, and the first ones to worship Jesus. And to top it off, it’s really surprising that this story is told in Matthew’s gospel … without question the most Jewish of the gospel writers … and, Matthew tells us that these NON-JEWS are the first ones to kneel and offer him gifts.
    The other radical factual reality of the story is that AFTER these men … whoever they were, whatever the number, and wherever the country … after they came to worship Jesus, they went Home by a Different Way
Read full sermon here (PDF)