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Archive for January 6th, 2021

Collect of the Day

O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; through the same  Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

The Appointed Scripture Readings: Old Testament: Is. 60:1–6 The Psalm: Psalm 24 The Epistle: Eph. 3:1–12 The Gospel: Matt. 2:1–12

Intro: 

The feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord commemorates no event but presents an idea that assumes concrete form only through the facts of our Lord’s life. The idea of Epiphany is that the Christ who was born in Bethlehem is recognized by the world as God. At Christmas, God appears as man, and at Epiphany, this man appears before the world as God. That Christ became man needed no proof. But that this man, this helpless child, is God needed proof. The manifestations of the Trinity, the signs and wonders performed by this man, and all His miracles have the purpose of proving to men that Jesus is God, Lately, especially in the Western Church, the story of the Magi has been associated with this feast day. As Gentiles who were brought to faith in Jesus Christ, the Magi represent all believers from the Gentile world. (Intro from The Treasury of Daily Prayer, CPH)

This day has also been called Christmas of the Gentiles and Gentiles t is most of us reading this blog.  We are the goy, the nations as attested in the Bible. And the Magi were most likely, well, notorious Gentiles.  First they were not kings and they were not philosophers, that is, ‘wise men’. So who were the Magi? Professor Jeffrey Gibbs, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, in his commentary on Matthew  has a fine explanation of who the Magi were most likely.

“In Daniel 2: 2, the Greek translation,  of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, his  “…wizards and the MAGI and the sorcerers of the Chaldeans” could not interpret it.  “These various Babylonian practitioners of  occult learning, which would be anathema to a first-century Jewish audience…the magi are not  “wise” in any learning that comports with truth and piety.  And is exactly why Matthew’s original readers would have been surprised by their appearing in Matthew 2: 1, which is probably why  Matthew marks their appearance with LOOK!  BEHOLD! (Mt. 2: 1).  Magi did not worship the God of Israel:  they were in league with a supernatural power that opposed the one true God.  No one would expect MAGI to come in search of the Child-King whose birth was prophesied in Holy Scriptures. What, then are THEY doing here?  To underscore how the original readers/hearers of Matthew’s Gospel would have considered the Magi to be most ‘unlikely devotees’”.

As unlikely devotees as all the Gentiles who are called by the Word of God to Jesus Christ?  Yes.  Just think: the Magi followed God’s Word to the Child (Mt. 2:  5-6)!  And better than too many Christians these days. And that is the only way they could find the Way is by the Word of God, the Scriptures.. I think T. S. Eliot’s poem, “The Journey of the Magi”, (one of my favorites) catches Dr. Gibb’s insight into the Text regarding the Magi:

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