Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Epiphany (Three Kings Day) Wise Men Still Seek Him To hear this message and others go to THEGATHERINGHG.COM
New Year Resolutions…Again?
A new year often equals a new list of what we intend to accomplish in it and rarely do. This year I suggest following the lead of some very wise men that made no such list but actually did four things that changed their lives forever.
Epiphany Matthew 2:1-15, Philippians 3:7-14
Epiphany (also known as Three Kings Day) is the celebrated call of Christ to the Magi. It is traditionally celebrated on January 6, after Christmas because the Magi did not come and see Jesus on the night of his birth as often depicted, but “at the house” (Matthew 2:11) before he and his family fled to Egypt (Matthew 2:13). The word Epiphany means the moment of striking personal realization or insight. For the Magi it was the Bethlehem star that made them realize that they must go and travel to where it was shining to find the greatest treasure of life— the promised “king of the Jews.” They likely knew of this promise through the legendary Jewish prophet Daniel who was taken captive hundreds of years earlier in the Babylonian captivity.
Who Were The Magi?
The Magi were magicians. They were mystic priests who studied astrology. Their occult practices are forbidden in God’s law (Leviticus 19:31, 20:6), and yet God called them to Himself and even used a sign (Star) that they would acknowledge in their occult beliefs! Why did God call such people to Himself? They were priests of other gods, practitioners and proclaimers of damnable doctrines. Apparently, they were also seeking for truth through the writings of the prophet Daniel. Jesus said: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find. Matthew 7:7a The Magi remind us that no one is excluded from God’s promise to reveal Himself to anyone who honestly searches for truth. In fact, this is how those once lost in occultism are now referred to as “wise men”. They searched and followed after their searching.
- They Searched for truth and followed after it.
What must you do to find the “greatest treasure of life?” Achieve your goal weight, create that ideal body, attain that certain degree, land that perfect job, find that perfect mate, purchase that dream car or house, get that desired applause? The apostle Paul concluded that all was “garbage” in comparison to knowing Christ. In other words the Magi got it right…they searched for truth and then left everything they owned, knew and achieved to find the one who was promised to bring everlasting life and salvation. Forgetting what was behind and straining toward what was ahead they pressed on in their journey to win the prize for which God had called them heavenward in Christ Jesus. The light went on and they followed! How about you? Are you following God’s call to you for a relationship?
Knocking on the Door Matthew 7:7-8, Matthew 6:19-21, 33
The Magi were not content to just know about the truth and study it. They were not content to look from afar…they followed the star and knocked persistently on the door of the house until they personally saw the “truth”. We can assume that the Magi’s trip to Bethlehem was at least 400 miles long. This would have taken them about two to three weeks on camels over some rough terrain. If they only traveled by night in order to be guided by the star, then their journey would have taken even longer. The Magi persistently searched and knocked! God will put the desire in our hearts to search Him out and He will even guide us in that search, but He insists that we come to Him on His terms (John 14:6, Matthew 6:33) and are persistent in our faith.
- They were persistent in their quest
What are you willing to do to get the “greatest treasure of life?” Is your heart in the quest to personally know and experience God or are you content with knowing about Him from afar?
The Magi brought their gifts to Jesus. Only three are mentioned but God was only impressed with the fourth one — their individual worship of God. This is the only gift that we can offer God. The gifts that God inspired the Magi to bring were fulfillments of the prophecies regarding Christ’s titles: 1. Gold: Christ is King of kings, 2. Frankincense (a resin burned in worship): Christ is the Prophet who fulfills God’s Word to save 3. Myrrh (a burial perfume): Symbolic of Christ’s Priesthood to man and the only sacrifice for our sin. All of these items were most likely sold by Mary and Joseph to pay for their flight to Egypt and Jesus’ earthly needs, but the worship of the Magi was priceless and so is yours.
- They gave their worship to Christ
We all ask God to do things for us. In fact we are often angry with Him when we don’t get what we want. What will you give to Christ?
Another Route 1 John 1:5-9, Matthew 5:14-16
“They returned to their country by another route.” Matthew 2:12 The Magi had been changed by their encounter with Christ. They were no longer influenced by royal protocol (i.e. Herod’s order), but by the Lord’s direction. We too must repent of sin and move in the new direction that God’s word gives us.
- They went another way
Are you going another way or moving in the same direction as those without Christ?
Many would say, “Hey, I would go to Christ too if I had a giant star miraculously lighting my way”, but there is a greater light now in God’s children. If you are a born-again Christian then you are the Eastern Stars of today! You are God’s light to the world, guiding the lost to Christ so that they can be reconciled to their heavenly Father. If you do not know Christ then follow His people, if you do then light the way. Wise men still seek Him!