Monday, January 07, 2008
This is Leonardo DaVinci's depiction of the Magi coming to visit Jesus. It shows the Magi worshiping Jesus in the middle of chaos. I like it because I think that is the picture that Matthew is trying to paint in his gospel. After all, Herod and all Jerusalem with him were grieved at the Magi's appearance and their request to find the "King of the Jews." Yesterday was the on the Christian calender the day of Epiphany. In the Western church, that is the day that the Wise Men (Magi) are celebrated as to have revealed the Christ child and have had the Christ child revealed to them. I have never been into the church calender much, but after studying a little bit about Epiphany, I really enjoyed this day. Epiphany comes from two Greek words (maybe another reason why I enjoy Ephiphany) epi and phaneo. Both of them together mean to reveal or to show. The story itself is so interesting to me. Here we have these Persian priests who study astrology recognize that a significant world figure is born. During this time there were whispers of a great world leader being born in Judea as the Roman historian Tacitus wrote about this. So they come to the most logical place to find a great leader or ruler born in Judea, Jerusalem, the capital. There they meet"King" Herod. Herod was not really the king, as Rome was in control. He was more of a governor. Herod was so concerned to keep power that he wanted to be just like Rome. He would build these massive buildings, much like the Romans would. He even built a temple dedicated to a Roman god, as well as a huge palace for himself, and renovations to the temple in Jerusalem where the Jews would have worshiped. He wanted to keep power so badly and be like the Romans so badly that he missed Jesus. The Magi also talked to the chief priests. They knew all the answers, and even told the Magi where the Messiah was to be born. But in all their study, and in all their pursuit to be right, they missed Jesus. No, it was these Gentile astronomer priests who found Jesus. They gave him three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These gifts really told the story of Jesus. The gold is what you would give a king. We know that Jesus is the King of kings and came to establish God's kingdom here on earth. Frankincense is an incense that priests used during sacrifices. We know from Hebrews 4, that Jesus is our great high priest. And myrrh is an embalming spice. Jesus of course came not to rule by force, but to rule by death on a cross. Through these gifts they made known the story of Jesus. I guess my question is do we with our lives make known the story of Jesus? It's so easy to be like everybody else and conform to society like Herod did. The pursuit of money and consumerism is so easy to follow. The other extreme that many evangelical Christians fall into is wanting to be right and have all the answers, just like the chief priests. However, we have become so concerned with being right, that sometimes we miss Jesus. Yes, we should study the Bible. But we do not study the Bible to argue with people, especially lost people. We study the Bible to live better, to be more Christlike. Our lives should tell the story of Jesus. We are now the epiphany to which Jesus can be revealed to those who need him on earth.