2020 01 05 Lorna Laister EPIPHANY 1 THE VISIT OF THE MAGI
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SERMON EPIPHANY-The visit of the magi 5th January 2020 Lorna Laister

Read Matthew 2:1-12

January 6th the Christian world celebrates EPIPHANY. This is 12 DAYS after Xmas

On Epiphany, we recall the arrival of the wise men to visit the new-born baby Jesus.

The Magi followed a star to find the Christ child and bring him gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt 2:1-12). The magi’s visit DOES identify Jesus as a king. They come from a foreign country to mark Jesus as a king for all people. THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT.

So, who were these Magi?

POSSIBLY priests - very wise men from Mesopotamia, somewhere in the east, perhaps Persia or Babylonia--we are not told. Prophecy would have been attractive to them because they were famous for their learning, and for their wisdom. the Hebrew Scriptures were held in high regard. Now they had seen a star that could not be identified.

  1. First, the wise men are paying attention to everything they had learned. They “observed his star at its rising” and realized it was a sign (Matt 2:2).
  2. Second, the wise men trust God’s guidance. They leave their country and travel a great distance without knowing exactly where they are going (Matt 2:12).
  3. Third, the magi humbled themselves at the sight of an infant king in a manger, Despite the odd circumstances, a baby born to an unwed, un-wealthy mother in a barn, the magi presented Jesus with gifts fit for a king born under very different circumstances.

SO, THIS ODD STORY - THIS AMAZING VISIT IS TELLING US THAT GOD SHOWS HIMSELF TO PEOPLE OUTSIDE OF THE “RELIGIOUS” COMMUNITY

  1. Epiphany is about the inclusion of Gentiles in the church.
  2. It is a celebration of the breaking down of dividing walls— Ephesians 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,

SO, WHAT ABOUT THE GIFTS?

THE MAGI CAME TO WORSHIP THE KING!

They came to worship Jesus. SOMEHOW, they knew this was of God, and so they came and worshipped him. WE conclude that they bowed down and worshipped him because they believed he was divinely sent or even divine.

But the passage emphasizes that they received the sign from heaven, HAD heard the word from Scripture, were led to the exact place by the star, and naturally bowed and worshiped him. Worship includes submission, adoration, and homage. The evidence of their worship came in the gifts they gave, gifts fit for a divine king.

What does this mean to us – here January 2020?

  1. SEEK They say they saw his star as it rose. The Magi’s journey took some time. They had to seek. It was not an instant find. Scripture tells us, as Christians, we too are to seek the Lord.  READ Matthew 6:33; Hebrews 11:6; Psalm 63,

 

QUESTION 1: ARE YOU SEEKING HIM?

the religious leaders of Israel who wouldn’t even travel 6 miles down the road to see Jesus. The religious leaders were not seeking Christ, so they did not find him, unlike the Magi, who sought Jesus, found Jesus, and were able to worship Jesus. Are we truly seeking him? Admittedly, this SEEMS an obvious question, but IF WE DO NOT LOOK, WE WILL NOT FIND

QUESTION 2: ARE YOU ANTICIPATING HIM?

Verse 2 tells us the wise men saw a new star in the sky. They studied the stars so they would have noticed something different in the night sky. THE STAR PROMPTED THEM TO SEEK.

What about you? Are you anticipating the Lord’s work in your life? Like the Magi, we have the Scripture to study. We may not understand all of it, but we know enough to at least understand the story. Even the most scholarly student of scripture must have a faith of anticipation at some point. GOD HAS PROMISED HE WILL DO WORK. THE LORD HAS PROMISED HE WILL BE WITH US.

QUESTION 3: WHERE ARE YOU SEEKING HIM?

Do the thing the Lord is calling you to do. It might be accepting his grace. It might be to talk with your neighbour or family member about his grace, it might be stepping out to teach a class or lead a Bible study. It might be to sacrificially give, move, or maybe something even more difficult. He may be calling us to step out and forgive. The other person may have deeply wounded us and hurt us severely, but someone must be the bridge builder to start the healing process.

Where are you seeking the Lord? He promises he will be with us as we seek him. Where are you seeking him?

QUESTION 4: HOW ARE YOU SEEKING HIM?

Seeking Christ is A LIFE-LONG PURSUIT. You see, we are always in need of the Lord’s grace. We’re always in need of his leading. There is never a point in life when we stop needing the Lord. The Lord with us every step of the way. Are you on a life-long pursuit of the Lord? Don’t give up. Keep seeking him. He doesn’t give up on you. He desires for you to seek him.

WORSHIP centres our hearts and minds on what really matters like worship.

  • We don’t worship God because He’s in need of it.
  • We worship God because we are in need of it.
  • Giving Him the praise He’s due reminds us of who He really is.
  • Our worship fuels and feeds our gratitude. Our worship brings us back to the grandeur, the grace, and the greatness of God.
  • When we worship, we experience a deeper connection with God and fall deeper in love with Him.

The Magi worshipped through their gifts and offerings. The shepherds worshipped through proclaiming the good news. The angels worshipped through song. Mary worshipped by pondering all the amazing events in her heart.

EPIPHANY IS THE EXTENDED XMAS SEASON. If we retain anything in our hearts this Christmas, let’s remember what God has done. He is worthy of worship. Like the Magi, you can choose whatever form of worship best fits the occasion. The Magi had precious metal and spices—they gave God what they had. What do you have to give to Jesus this Christmas? The beauty of worship is that it can be done in so many ways: through song, through prayer, through gathering and fellowship, through celebration, even through service or your job.

SO, FOR US? WE LEARN THAT the natural response to Jesus is worship.



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