Posts Tagged ‘sermon for the Day of Epiphany’

Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, ...

Basilica of Sant’Apollinare Nuovo in Ravenna, Italy: The Three Wise Men” (named Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar). Detail from: “Mary and Child, surrounded by angels”, mosaic of a Ravennate italian-byzantine workshop, completed within 526 AD by the so-called “Master of Sant’Apollinare”. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Here is a sermon from my archives on the journey of the Magi.  It includes a shortened telling of Henry Van Dyke’s The Story of the Other Wise Man, along with allusions to Matthew 25:31-46.

Where Is He?
A Sermon on Matthew 2:1-12

The new light in the heavens was enough to set the wise men on a long and difficult journey.  They journeyed hundreds of miles to Palestine from the east, from the area we now know as Iraq and Iran.  The wise men studied the stars.  They knew all the cycles of the moon, all the courses of the stars, all the constellations.  They believed that this new star could only point to one thing: a new and great king had arisen somewhere.  The king of kings had arrived.

We do not know how they determined that Palestine was the location.  Perhaps they calculated it from the coordinates of the star.  Perhaps they had heard the messianic prophecies from the many Jews whose ancestors had not returned home to Israel after the exile of 587 BC, who now still lived in what used to be Babylon.  Perhaps a number of clues led the wise men to Jerusalem.

It’s clear that they were extraordinarily open to being led.  Going straight to the heart of Judah, the capital city, Jerusalem, they immediately started asking directions.  “Where is the baby born to be the king of the Jews?”  It made sense to ask there.  You want to find royalty?  Go to the place of royalty.

I don’t know what made the wise men so eager to find Jesus.  But I do know what makes our hearts long to see him, why we long for the Savior.  Our prayers are full of the longing: for help and healing, for a sinful past not to destroy the future, for peace in our hearts and peace in the world, for a star to guide us through every uncertainty.

Word of the wise men and their inquiries quickly reached the palace of King Herod.  Immediately he sensed a threat.  But he also sensed an opportunity to stop this new king before he even got started. (more…)

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