Sunday January 5th, 2020 The Epiphany of Our Lord (Cycle A)
The tie in between today’s readings: A New Day Dawning
Psalm 72:1-13, Isaiah 60:1-6, Ephesians 3:1-6, Matthew 2:1-12
God celebrated the birth of His Son by igniting a star. Of all the people that saw its brilliance in the eastern sky, it seems that only the Magi wondered why. They left no stone unturned in their collective effort to ferret out any significance. After much consultation, research, and most likely guided by the Holy Spirit, an epiphany: He’s here! The promised King of Kings has come! In their country, the Magi held the authority to determine the succession of monarchs in the empire. What greater honor than to recognize Him, Immanuel, King of the Jews as the Ruler of all nations and God with us? They would bring gold with them to signify His royalty, frankincense for His divine priesthood, and myrrh for His death. Saddle up, boys. There’s a new kingdom on the horizon and it’s time to pick sides!
They followed the Almighty’s beacon in the sky in history’s greatest example of “Seek and Ye shall find.” At the campfires you can imagine their excitement as they poured over prophesies pertaining to this newborn majesty. Most likely they knew the contents of today’s reading in Psalm 72:1-13. He will be a king that judges righteously, a monarch with compassion for the needy, and a ruler who crushes the oppressor. Nations will bow before Him and He will govern the earth in an everlasting golden age of peace. Exciting times! Finally, they found the toddler king, fell at His feet, worshipped Him, and presented their treasures. Mission accomplished. Then, being warned by God of Herod’s and by extension, Satan’s intent, they and the Holy family left quickly to protect the child. The Magi carried out their evasive action with mixed emotions and the realization that Bethlehem was the beachhead in the invasion of the Kingdom of God. The war had begun.
The apostle Paul tells us about an epiphany of his own in our reading today in Ephesians 3:1-6. It was the blockbuster revelation of its time! The early church had an important question to answer. Jesus was Jewish. The early believers were almost exclusively Jews. Was Christianity then, an extension of Judaism? If so, then Gentiles needed to become Jews before they could be saved by Christ. Jesus would be the Jewish Messiah for the Jew nation only. God revealed to Paul that Christianity was something new. Gentiles were fellow heirs and partakers of Christ’s promises through the gospel. Jesus is Messiah to the world and the Apostles were not to pour the new Gentile believers into the old wineskins of Judaism. This radical thinking made the Church universal and unified. Any division between people such as, nationality, culture, status, gender, etc. were irrelevant. Saving faith in Christ was everything and the only thing that mattered.
Our last reading in Isaiah 60:1-6 is an epiphany of sorts as the prophet declares the glory of Christ in us, His Church. As He is the light of the world, we reflect His shine. As He came to seek and to save the lost, we go into the world to make disciples. As He is the Way, we preach the gospel pointing to Him. He said that if He was lifted on the cross then all men would be drawn to Him (John 12:32). The prophet, Isaiah in our reading points to the nations coming to the Church as Jesus reigns as king in this world. They bring their worship and treasures with them. Among these gifts are gold and frankincense, there is no myrrh because the dying is over. Seems like the Magi were only a taste of what’s to come.
Jesus has come. He has defeated Satan, sin, and death by His resurrection. He now sits at the right hand of God until the proper time for His return to claim His throne over the earth. Then every knee will bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:10). For most, it will be too late and they will be banished forever into outer darkness. God offers you citizenship into His kingdom through His gospel, today. Accept His love and sacrifice for the forgiveness of your sins. Claim His Son as your Savior and Sovereign. Be like the Magi and pick His side.