Season of Epiphany: Epiphany of the Lord – Isaiah 60:1-6; Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Ephesians 3:1-12; Matthew 2:1-12
Let the light of Christ shine.
‘Arise, shine; for your Light has come… the Lord will be your everlasting Light’ (Isaiah 60:1, 19-20). Jesus Christ is ‘the Light of the world’. When we ‘follow Him’, we ‘will not walk in darkness’. We ‘will have the light of life’ (John 8:12).
We are living in difficult times. We are surrounded by much darkness. We must not be discouraged – ‘the lamp of God has not yet gone out’ (1 Samuel 3:3). When the darkness threatens to overcome the Light, we must take encouragement from God’s Word – ‘The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it’ (John 1:5).
When the darkness seems to be everywhere, put your trust in the Lord – The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear?’- and let ‘His Word’ be ‘a lamp to your feet and a light to your path’ (Psalms 27:1; 119:105).
Let the words of Scripture lead to thoughts of the Saviour.
* Read the words – ‘His Name’ shall ‘endure for ever’ (Psalm 72:17) – and think of Christ.
His Name is ‘the Name above all other names’. He is ‘the King of kings and Lord of lords’ (Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 19:16).
* Read the words – ‘all nations call Him blessed’ (Psalm 72:17) – , and think of Christ.
‘From every tribe and language and people and nation’, God’s people have been redeemed by the precious blood of Christ (Revelation 5:9).
* Read the words -‘May His glory fill the whole earth!’ (Psalm 72:19) – and think of Christ.
In the ‘new heaven and new earth’, ‘the holy city’ will shine with ‘the glory of God’. ‘Its radiance’, ‘like a very precious jewel’, will be shining from this ‘lamp’: Jesus Christ, ‘the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world’ (Revelation 21:1-2, 10-11, 23; John 1:29).
In Christ, we are called to salvation, sanctification and service.
By the grace of God we are called to salvation – ‘saved through faith’- , sanctification – ‘for good works’ – , and service – ‘according to the gift of God’s grace… by the working of His power’, we are enabled ‘to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ’(Ephesians 2:8-10; 3:7-8).
When we consider all this, we say in our hearts, ‘To God be the glory’! (Ephesians 3:21).
We are ‘strengthened with power through His Spirit in our inner being’so that we might live as those who are saved, sanctified and serving.
Even when we are deeply conscious of our own great weakness, we draw encouragement from this: God is ‘able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us’(Ephesians 3:16, 20).
We grow in grace as we share in fellowship – ‘eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit’(Ephesians 4:3).
Be wise – worship the Saviour.
We read ‘the story of the wise men’. It is not so much about the wise men. It is about Jesus. He is the central character.
We are not told how many wise men there were. The word, ‘three’ does not appear (Matthew 2:1). We are not told their names. We are not told exactly where they came from – just, they came ‘from the East’ (Matthew 2:11).
The important thing is that they made their journey. They came, seeking Jesus: ‘Where is he…?’. They came ‘to worship Him’(Matthew 2:2). The wise men were led to Jesus not only by ‘His star’ (Matthew 2:2) but also by the Scriptures.
When asked where the child was to be born, they answered by quoting from the Scriptures (Matthew 2:5-6; Micah 5:2). Wise men are still led to Christ through the Scriptures.
Reading the Scriptures, we become wise for salvation as we find Christ who is our Wisdom (2 Timothy 3:15; 1 Corinthians 1:30).
Bethlehem was a ‘little town’. Humanly speaking, it did not have any great importance. Its importance is derived from the fact that it was the birth-place of our Saviour. When we think of Bethlehem, we do not think so much of the place as the Saviour who was born there.
Herod says that he wants to go to Bethlehem to worship Jesus (Matthew 2:8). Satan was speaking through Herod. Satan has no intention of worshipping God, and neither had Herod. Satan ‘comes only to steal and kill and destroy’. Christ comes to give ‘life… to the full’ (John 10:10).
As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that Herod was not a worshipper of Christ but a servant of Satan. The wise men worship Jesus, then they return to their own country.
We know nothing about their return journey, their destination or their life in their own country. Their whole purpose was to point away from themselves to Jesus.