Sunday 6 January 2019

The Visit of the Wise Men
Today is the first Sunday of 2019 and the Church celebrates it as the feast of the Epiphany. In other words, the sign of Christ being revealed to the Gentiles; a moment of sudden and great revelation.

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men came from the East came to Jerusalem.

The wise men began asking where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising,[b] and have come to pay him homage. These men had studied astrology and they would have known of the prophecy in Numbers, which told of a star which would point to the place where the Messiah would be born. We do not know exactly who they were, but God knows, just as many now are serving God faithfully and God will reward them.

When Herod heard of a king being born, he became most concerned that his authority would be put in jeopardy, and the political leadership in Jerusalem would be affected. He called the priests who were in charge of spiritual activity, and scribes who interpreted the Old Testament Scriptures, and asked for their knowledge, and they told him that the prophet Micah had foretold the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Herod sent for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”

When they had heard the king, they set out and followed the star which guided the men from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, a short distance of about 6 miles, where it stopped over the place where the child was. The men were told were filled with joy for they knew their mission was successfully fulfilled.

They were able to see the child and present gold, which was the gift for a child, frankincense which was used for the incense in the Temple, and myrrh a perfume and stimulant.

The time of this event must have been some time after Christ’s birth for we know that Herod was furious when he found out the wise men had not told him where Jesus was and so ordered all the boys born within two years to be killed.

The actions of the wise men reveal a deep commitment for they travelled many miles in conditions of some discomfort, for they would not have anything like the means of travel we have and would have taken much time to complete. Yet to day we have alleged Christians finding it hard to travel even the nearest of distances to attend church and worship the Lord. It would be well for all professing Christians if they were ready to follow thee ample of the wise men and show some self-denial.

Above all they believed in Jesus without first having seen him, whilst so many people still won’t believe in him although the evidence for his birth and life is overwhelming. The wise men believed when the religious leaders of the day did not. They did not go to colleges to be convinced, they were not given teaching, yet they saw the baby and believed he was the Saviour of the World

This teaches us that it is not only those who receive most notice and are considered to be of such importance are those closest to Christ. A few strangers from a distant land and some shepherds were those who rejoiced most the birth of Jesus.

The Bible states he came unto his own, and his own knew him not. The same may be said of the Church today; those who appear to be so religious and devout in their words, betray the Lord in their beliefs and actions. How applicable thus applies to those in high places who have many degrees and fancy titles, but no true grace in their hearts.

We must not feel holy because of knowledge which is wonderful if faithfully applied, but a lot can leave a person graceless.

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