Next Stop: Epiphany

The next stop on our annual journey through the holidays is Epiphany, January 6. In western traditions, Epiphany marks the arrival of the Magi to visit Jesus. It also makes a convenient bookend on the Twelve Days of Christmas.

To reiterate my favorite aside, “We Three Kings from Orient Are” were not. The Magi were Zorastrian priests, astrologers and/or magicians from Iran, then known as Persia. There were probably more than three, and almost certainly not all men. Given the role of women in ancient Persia, they likely supplied the gold, frankincense, and myrrh in the first place.

(And, to settle an old joke, they actually did stop at Herod’s and asked for directions. Clearly, there were women in the camp!)

Sometimes, our traditions get in the way of our Epiphany. It’s a little thing, but if we think the three kings were just three rich male rulers, we can miss the bigger picture. Where the Bible is silent, we fill in the blanks. The Magi were complete outsiders, pagans and foreigners who were probably celebrating to have been invited to the event by the heavens themselves. God moved the very constellations of heaven to lead them to seek the Messiah.

The Middle East was afire with expectations of a Messiah. Religion and Government were on the lookout for a troublemaker who would use the Messiah’s mantle to lead a revolution. Jesus’ one-to-three-year public ministry would have been even shorter had He declared His identity openly.

From prison, John the Baptist sent disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you The One who is to come? Or should we look for another?” Jesus answered indirectly, but with evidence that comes with yet another Epiphany.

Luke 7 reveals that “in that same hour He cured many of their infirmities and plagues, and of evil spirits; and unto many that were blind He gave sight.” Jesus said simply, “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard: The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the Gospel is preached to the poor.”

John knew the prophesies of Isaiah, who said the Messiah would preach to the poor, heal the sick, and even raise the dead. There are many great generals and leaders, but none has ever provided such convincing evidence of God’s endorsement. Just tell John what you’ve seen and heard; he’ll figure it out.

The proof is in the pudding, as they say. Some might ask, “Is Guyton Christian Church truly a Christ-Centered church?” All we have to do, like Jesus did, is point to the evidence:

Go and tell them what you see. The poor are bountifully fed; the outcast is welcome; prayers generate miracles; forgiveness runs rampant; mercy flows like water in the desert; lives are changing. A Spirit of unity makes us all family, common children of God.

John was in prison, but most of your friends are free to come and see for themselves. I’m willing to let people see with their own eyes what great things God is doing at Guyton Christian Church! Go! Tell them what you see! Then invite them to see and hear it for themselves.

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