"Love! Do you know the meaning of the word?" 'How should I not?' said the Lady, 'I am in love...in Love Himself.'
~C.S. Lewis
The Great Divorce

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Epiphany

Today, January 6th, is the day the Church remembers the visit of the magi to see the Christ Child in Bethlehem. You all remember the story quite well. Wisemen from the East brought to Christ gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. The account, recorded in the second chapter of Matthew's gospel, teaches us as the popular hymn states it, that Jesus was "King, God, and Sacrifice."

Now I have never heard in a sermon exactly what I am about to argue, but I think it has merit. The bringing of gold, intended clearly for a king, is an acknowledgment that the Kingdom of God has come. It is an indication that the prophecies of the Old Testament (Hag. 2:7, Is. 2:2, and many others) will and have come true. That a king is coming because God promised that there would not fail to be a Son of David on the throne of Israel. But now the "See of Israel", if you will, is being extended and under the new name of the "Church" or in this case "the Kingdom of God." John the Baptist, whom we rightly honor, is often credited with the first proclamation that the Kingdom of God is at hand. But I wonder if we gyp the gentile wisemen in so saying. For it is they who first declared that the King of the world had been born by the presentation of gold.

Of course, their other gifts, Frankincense and Myrrh, have their own significance. Frankincense indicates Christ's deity. Therefore we have the requisite nature for an offering on behalf of mankind-Very God and Very Man joined together but not confused. The Myrhh foreshadows the sacrificial death of Jesus. Thus we have two gifts which indicate the means whereby man in faith enters into the Kingdom proclaimed by the third gift.

As Gentile Christians, Epiphany should really be every bit as important to us as Christmas itself. It is on this day that the Kingdom was to be permanently extended beyond the ethnic, geographical, and racial boundaries of Israel-that all who believe in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

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