Word for Thursday... Epiphany
It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob and to restore the survivors of Israel; I will give you as a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.Isaiah 49:6
And in his name the Gentiles will hope.
Today is the Festival of Epiphany. Many churches observe it on the Sunday before or after, but the way the Sundays fell this year made it very difficult. Nonetheless, it didn’t seem right to completely overlook it, since Epiphany is about God’s refusal to overlook me… or any of us for that matter.
Epiphany marks the journey of the individuals we often refer to as wisemen, or magi, as they are otherwise known, to visit the young Messiah. Contrary to popular opinion, the magi were not respected, revered or admired by God’s chosen people; in fact, it was quite the opposite. They were hated and despised, poster children for the quintessential gentile sinner. They participated in things the Jews considered abominations, things like astrology, astronomy, and black magic. Just picture Harry Potter and his entourage visiting the most conservative church you can think of, and you will get some sense of the reception they might have gotten. When Matthew’s almost entirely Jewish audience first heard the story you would have likely heard a collective gasp as they contemplated the nerve of these people--filthy, rotten sinners that they were--daring to enter the presence of one so holy. But that was exactly the point. Matthew wanted his readers to understand that God’s gift of salvation was not for some people, but all people. It further made the point that God reveals himself to all who seek him, independent of their past sins, ignorance, false beliefs, etc.
To all the Gentiles, i.e. non-Jews, out there who are reading this, know that today marks the day you received your invitation to accept God’s gift of salvation. Know that today marks the day you were welcomed at God’s table. Know that no matter where you are on your spiritual journey, and no matter what you’ve done or failed to do, as long as you are seeking after God, he will lead you in the direction that leads to him.