Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church Epiphany: A Word To The Wise To hear this message and others download our free app @ the App Store. Search The Gathering Connect.
Epiphany (What does the word mean?)
1 capitalized : January 6 traditionally observed as a church festival in commemoration of the coming of the Magi. 2 : an appearance or manifestation especially of a divine being 3: an illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure (a revealing scene or moment).
The Gathering enjoys celebrating Epiphany on the Sunday closest to January 6 to both remember the significance of the Magi coming to worship Christ and to recognize, in each new year, that God desires to direct our lives supernaturally should we choose to listen.
Listening Matthew 2:9-23, Matthew 7:7-8, James 1:5-8, John 14:6, Revelation 3:20
In our last lesson we learned that the Magi followed what they called “his star” from the East all the way to Judea to seek out “the one who had been born King of the Jews” (Matthew 2:1-8). They inquired with king Herod, consulted with the Chief Priests and teachers of the law and the ancient writings of prophets (Micah 5:2-4). The Magi were accustomed to obtaining all of their knowledge from the patterns of the stars, from ancient scrolls, the advice of the great minds of the day and from earthly religious people and governments. These men were not Jews who believed in God and longed for their Messiah. They were pagans from the East. Astrologers (magicians) who studied the stars and practiced divination, but God choose to lead them to Himself because the Magi sought truth, looked for direction and desired to honor and worship such a King who prophets and nature itself proclaimed.
We continue the story of the Magi in Matthew 2:9 after they met with King Herod. They were astonished and delighted to see the star rise up ahead of them and stop over “the house” where the child was. Can you imagine the anticipation that they must have felt as they knocked on the door? Can you imagine the looks on the neighbor’s faces…on Mary’s face as she opened the door to them? Upon seeing Jesus they bowed down in worship and then gave Mary their gifts.
Note: It is most likely that Mary and Joseph used the three gifts that the Magi gave to travel to and live in the land of Egypt until Herod’s death. The symbols of the gifts are also evident: Gold: A gift for a king. Frankincense: A priestly incense which represents prayer. Myrrh: A fragrant perfume, used for embalming bodies. The three gifts together also underline the Messiah as being our prophetic Savior, priest and king.
Notice the order of action by the Magi. 1.) They sought out Christ, 2.) they saw Christ, 3.) they worshiped Christ, 4.) they gave gifts to Christ and then 5.) they received direction from God. “And having been warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country.” – (Matthew 2:12). Jesus said to ask for direction and it will be given, Jesus told us to seek truth and we will find it in Him. He said to knock on His door and He will open it (or in the case of the Magi Mary opened it for Him) Matthew 7:7-8. See also direction: James 1:5-8, Truth: John 14:6, opened door: Revelation 3:20.
When we listen to God in the way the Magi did He brings us into His plan and purpose. Are you listening to God so that He will supernaturally direct (or redirect) your life?
Worship & Giving Matthew 4:4-8-10, Matthew 16:21-23
The Magi became an active part of God’s plan once they worshiped Him. Their obedience resulted in a domino effect of fulfilled prophecy (Matthew 2:13-23 : a.) Out of Egypt I called my Son Hosea 11:1, b.) Rachel (matriarchal representation of Israel) weeping for her children Jeremiah 31:15, c.) Jesus a “Nazarene”: from the “despised city” Matthew 2:23, John 1:46, Isaiah 53:3).
When a man or a woman engages in wholehearted worship and gives something of value to the King of Kings (to His work) it becomes easier to hear the voice of God! Prior to this incredible event, the Magi had to depend on earthly directions and man’s best judgment. After meeting Jesus, worshiping Him and giving to Him that which was of value, the guidance of God became easy to discern. Worship and giving (also service) in a believer’s life, always turns up the volume of heaven! Like the Magi, then, not only do we hear His voice … we obey His voice! The Magi were changed and so was their direction. Has your direction changed from worship and serving of self to the worship and serving of God?
Jesus made it clear that worship and service (giving) belongs to God alone. He made this point to the Devil at the onset of His ministry when Satan attempted to try and get Jesus to bow down to him by serving Himself (Matthew 4:8-10). Jesus also made this same point near the conclusion of His ministry when His friend, Peter, tried to dissuade Him from offering up Himself as a sacrifice for our sin. “Get behind me Satan” is what Jesus said to Peter (Matthew 16:21-23). Jesus clearly saw that the Devil was attempting once again to thwart the worship and service that belonged to God alone through the ministry that Christ had come to do. We must remember too, that worship and service to God is the hallmark (stamp of purity and genuineness) of our faith.
How is it that we can even consider the worship of God without bringing that which is of great value to Him as our gifts? Our time, treasures and talents should bring Him worship and not just our “big mouths”. What can you bring as gifts to God? Does the product of your worship glorify you or the God you say that you adore?
How Far will you go? Proverbs 3:5-6, 2 Corinthians 4:18
We have no idea what trials the Magi encountered on their long journey, but we can be sure they had them. The scripture even indicates that the star wasn’t always in view. Why else would they have asked for directions? Will you trust and follow Christ even when the “star” is not shining? Will you carry your gifts for Him even across the desert? How far will you go? Keep following on faith friends even into that dark night— for what is seen is temporal and the unseen is eternal. Never forget that Wise men still seek Him.