By Rev. Gene Brunow
The gospel for Epiphany is Matthew 2:1-12. Our text is about the Wise Men from the East. These Gentiles probably came from Persia, Babylon, or Arabia. Their kind of wisdom was not always God-pleasing. (TLSB)
The Magi may have seen a natural astronomical phenomenon, but more likely the appearance of the star was a miraculous event (cf. 9). They may have linked the star with a Jewish king through acquaintance with OT prophecy. (TLSB)
The Magi knowing OT prophecy isn’t as far-fetched as it may sound. The Assyrians and the Babylonians (Eastern Lands) captured and carried off the brightest and the best Israelites to their own country. The Jews who went there carried with them scriptural knowledge and practiced their faith in this new land. It is very likely that they shared this with the Assyrian and Babylonian people. In this way the Assyrians and Babylonians would have learned about the promised Savior. (CC)
After Herod consulted with the religious leaders, he sent them to Bethlehem. The star the Magi had seen in their homeland now guided them from Jerusalem to the very house where Joseph, Mary, and Jesus were living (v. 11). God was obviously leading these Gentiles in their quest for the King of the Jews. (TLSB) God, too, has guided us to our Lord and King Jesus Christ.
Jesus says of himself: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).
We, too, don’t always realize what is happening in our lives, but the Word of God (Jesus) points us in the right direction. It also comforts us when life is confusing and sometimes terrifying.
This month's study text:
The Visit of the Wise Men
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
6 “‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” 9 After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
Matthew 2:1-12 (ESV)
We thank God that we didn’t have to search in the darkness to find our Savior. He found us! What kind of hope does that give you that you don’t have to go searching for your Savior, but that He comes to you, even in your darkest times?
What does it mean that we walk in the light? Now that we have Jesus, the Light, in our lives, how does that illuminate our paths as we journey through life?
We can learn about who God is by looking at the natural world and even by how we can feel right and wrong. Only through God’s Word do we learn about God’s plan for salvation for us. What are some Bible verses you could use to share with others that not only speak of God’s might, but also His love and mercy through His Son, Jesus Christ?
Have you ever seen a light bulb go on in someone’s brain when you’re explaining something? It’s a great moment when you see someone “gets it.” Think of someone you could share the Light of Christ with. How can you pray for that person this week? Pray for an opportunity to share the life-giving Gospel.
Dear Lord Jesus, thank you for leading us to you. Help us to continue to seek you first and the righteousness that you can give us. Amen.
Rev. Brunow is a member of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Fort Wayne, Ind. Find more of his devotionals at genesbrunotes.com.