THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD
As we celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord, one question keeps coming to my mind: “Why did the Magi, these rich and non-Jewish merchants, leave Persia to travel hundreds of miles to Bethlehem in search of a new born king? They apparently had more than enough to live on and so why make this travel? Many a time, in life, we may have enough to live on but not enough to live for. Probably the Magi were in search of someone that could give meaning to their lives. In the Old Testament, there are about 300 prophecies about the birth of the Messiah, all of which were fulfilled, to the letter, in Christ Jesus. George Heron, a French mathematician, calculated the odds of one man fulfilling only 40 of these prophecies and he said it would be 1 in 10 to the power 157; that is, 1 followed by 157 zeros. So, this new-born king was not an ordinary king; there was something special about Him and the presence of the guiding-Star added to the significance. Remember what Scriptures says, “I have come that they may have life and have it in its fullness” (John 10:10). So, why did the Magi follow this star all the way to Bethlehem?
For one thing, it was a star of hope; hope that points to eternity, to salvation, to forgiveness, to redemption, to being friends with God again, to being reconciled with our creator because the “Reconciler In-Chief” is now here. There is this story of a young man who sent a love letter to his girlfriend saying, "Darling, I will climb the highest mountain, sail the widest ocean, and cross the hottest desert just to see you. I will be over on Saturday night to see you if it doesn’t rain”. I guess talk is cheap, but these wise men were not all talk and no walk! They were willing to risk everything to follow the star to where it led. How willing am I to do whatever it takes to let my life be drawn to Jesus Christ?
It was also a star of change and challenge; change that brings new direction, purpose and destiny; change that has broken the back of guilt, shame, defeat, feelings of unworthiness and rejection; a challenge that promises newness of life. No wonder Jesus said, “Come to me all you who are weary and tired, and I will give you rest”. That is to say, all of you who are tired, worn out, burned out, rejected, dejected, overburdened, and overwhelmed; come to me, walk with me, work with me, get away with me, and I will show you the way to real rest and joy and you will discover and experience the rhythms of grace and recover your life. I promise I will never lay anything heavy on you or that which will over-burden you. Just keep company with me and I guarantee that you will learn to live freely and lightly. My dear friend, the Star of David, Jesus the Christ, is heavens answer to earth’s dilemma.
It was also a star of generosity. We are told, “They entered the house and saw the child in the arms of Mary, his mother. Overcome, they kneeled and worshiped him. Then, they opened their luggage and presented Him with gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Matt 2:11). Scripture says, “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it” (Malachi 3:10-11). “Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom” (Luke 6:38).
It was also a star of divine guidance. Scripture says, “After their audience with the king, they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was”. In Isaiah 60 we read: “Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance.” David was wise when he prayed, “Order my steps, oh Lord, by your word, and do not let iniquity overtake me”. May the Star of David lead and guide us to the true essence of life and Christian living, Amen!