Daily Devotional – January 5
Written by: Ismay Wilson CRNA; EdD
Scripture: Matthew 2:1-12
Epiphany is the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi.
The passage from Matthew 2 relates to the story of the visit of the Magi, the holy family’s flight to Egypt and their return to the holy land. It should help us reflect on the plight of those who cross religious, political and ethical boundaries in the pursuit of loving Jesus.
The birth of Jesus, God’s agent into the sinful world, brings two responses (1) the powerful center, Rome’s King over Judea, rejects him and tries to murder King Jesus. (2) In contrast, insignificant people from the margins, the Gentile Magi or “wise men” and Joseph and Mary, welcome God’s initiative. God’s will happens. Jesus is born just as the angel had announced (Matthew 1:20-21).
The Magi are Gentiles from the East, and they come to Jerusalem because the capital city is the logical place to look for a king. Magi are astrologers; they observe the stars. Some Magi use astrological signs to signal the birth of an important figure.
The Magi’s question about the King of the Jews and their plan to prostrate themselves before Jesus (not Herod) are threatening actions. Herod the Great is alarmed by foreigners coming to greet the new King of his realm. Therefore, he uses his allies, priests and scribes, to gain information about the Messiah’s birthplace. Instead of sending his troops to Bethlehem, which might create suspicion for the people of Bethlehem and allow the baby and his family to escape, Herod decides to involve the unsuspecting wise men in his treachery. Falsely proclaiming his desire to come worship Baby Jesus, he sends the Magi to spy for him.
The treachery that Jesus will experience later in his life begins in his infancy as does the hypocrisy of his enemies.
The Magi offer Jesus valuable gifts, gold, frankincense and myrrh; then God enlightens them about Herod’s intention of killing the infant who poses a danger to his throne. The Magi return home a different way, thus, avoiding Herod.
Herod fails to derail God’s plan for the salvation of the world. The Herod’s of this world are no match for God or God’s people.
Prayer: Almighty God, you sent Magi with generous gifts to visit baby Jesus and proclaim his reign to the world. Make our voices heard when we proclaim God’s love to all. We pray these things in the name of Jesus Christ, our savior and Lord. Amen.