Sunday, January 4, 2015
What holiday is this week?
This week the Christian church celebrates Epiphany. In Greek, the word Epiphany means manifestation or striking appearance, thus this holy day commemorates the revelation of God’s Son Jesus Christ as a human being. Different denominations emphasize every time in the life of Jesus from birth to the visit of the Wise Men to His baptism as an adult by John the Baptist. The church I attend has always celebrated Epiphany as the day when the Wise Men showed up, which makes sense to me because these travelers from afar were the first non-Jewish people to acknowledge Jesus. It’s one thing if your own people recognize You, but when foreigners say, “Hey, this is the One we’ve been looking for”, I feel that is a revelation.
Also, “The Early Life ofJesus in 40 Days”, which tells about this visit in detail, was just published, and I’d like to share some excerpts of it with you this week.
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory – this was during Herod’s kingship – a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. (Matthew 2:1)
We always think of the wise men showing up at the place of Jesus’ birth. In reality, they probably arrived at least several weeks, if not months, later.
Who were these scholars? No one really knows for sure, but they traveled out of the East, perhaps from Persia, or Babylon. They may have been astrologers, magicians, or even physicians.
We also always picture three of them; somewhere, somebody even named them Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar. The Bible, though, never names them and never says that there were three of them. Once again, our imaginations want to make this Bible story more personal. We picture the magi riding camels across the desert, showing up just in time for Jesus to be born. It’s not important, though, how many there were or when they found Jesus. What matters is that the wise men do eventually find Him.
We will learn as we continue to read Matthew’s account that the wise men don’t just stumble upon Jesus. They travel many miles, for many months. They have been searching for a very long time, studying Scripture and other documents, as well as asking around until they eventually find Jesus.
If you have recently let Jesus into your life, you can read the Bible and talk to others to learn as much as you can about Him. Ask questions, then be willing to commit your life to Him.