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Epiphany 2015 - What Guides Us?

Dear Friends in Christ;

 EPIPHANY. That is what we are celebrating today. Epiphany is the celebration of the “manifestation” of Christ to the Gentiles. The Magi were, indeed, foreigners and Gentiles, just as were are today.   But…

What Guides Us?

That is the question we are looking at for today…  What is it that guides us?

Matthew’s account is consistent in that it repeatedly describes Jesus connecting with what “good Jewish society” would consider being the outsiders – the “goyim” – the Gentiles.  You remember all those “sinners” and “tax collectors” (like Matthew himself)… the Galileans and Samaritans, and “those other” people… And so, to correctly identify those who were coming from the east, we need to realize that they were “Magi” – essentially court magicians, and NOT particularly learned or “wise.”  Unless, of course, you consider stopping to ask for directions to be a thing that marks you as “wise.”  They were sinners and outsiders… 
What about us?

This brings us to our first point, Number 1:

1. We are ALL condemned SINNERS…

Condemned to death.  And being dead in our sin, we are powerless to save ourselves. And we are sometimes lost on our journey…

In our text for today, we hear about these Magi who made a journey – it seems as though they saw a light and they followed the light.  But what GUIDED them?  To answer that, we’ve got to step back further in the calendar than the birth of Jesus – another 600 years or so.  And Matthew even refers to this time in Chapter 1 – the “deportation” he calls it – the same term used in the book of Daniel.  You see, Daniel describes the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar II, having the brightest and best taken from Jerusalem and brought to serve in his court.  God’s hand was at work in this.  Copies of Israel’s Scriptures and accompanying prophecies of that time were taken to Babylon.  They were known and studied there.  Later, when Persia conquered Babylon, the knowledge was transferred to a greater empire and… Emperor after Emperor acknowledged Israel’s God as the greatest of all gods.  And so, the knowledge was handed down from one generation to the next.  The knowledge of the God of Israel, and the prophecy of the “Anointed One” to come.  Merchants and trade over hundreds of years had been carrying updates of these prophecies from Jerusalem to points east.  Thus, when a unique alignment of planets arose like a “star” in the constellation of Leo, it was a sign that the prophecies had been fulfilled – that the True King of Judah had been born.

I would submit to you that what guided the Magi was the inspired WORD of God and the Will of God – the Holy Spirit at work throughout the years and eventually moving them to make this journey.  The same should be guiding us.... Click here for more in PDF download...

Seminarian James Kirschenmann
Sunday, January 11, 2015 - 10:00am