The scripture for today is Matthew 2:1-12.
The Magi Visit the Messiah
1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6 ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
The tale of the Magi is a very familiar one to us. They are variously called Kings or Wise Men in other translations and traditions. They followed a sign in the heavens over a great distance in search of the new King. They brought gifts of fine gold and essential oils fit for a king. These gifts symbolize their recognition of the baby Jesus as Savior for the world.
Epiphany is also the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of the new church year leading up to Lent and then Easter. We have just celebrated the New Year of 2021. I’m sure most of us have prayed that this new year will be much more joyful and comforting than it’s predecessor. We hope for a year where we are able to return to a more normal life, where we are able to be closer to our families and friends.
Dear Lord, We pray for You to guide us to Your light in this new year. We give You thanks for the many gifts You have given us, help us to use those gifts to improve the world around us.
Prayer Concern - for those who heal and comfort the sick, homeless and those whose needs are known only to God.
Alternate verses - Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14; Isaiah 60:1-6; Ephesians 1:3-12