Wellspring of the Gospel

Feast of the Epiphany

Gospel: Matthew 2: 1-12

Epiphany is the moment where Jesus is revealed to the whole world.

The Wise Men were scholars of their day – undertaking a perilous journey to find and honour a new-born King. As so often in the Gospels – and in the early history of the Church – many of the Jewish people did not recognise Jesus. 

Jewish scholars had not seen – or had not recognised the significance of the star… Or, perhaps, they were well aware of the fate that awaited them if they did and reported it to Herod! For they would have known the words of prophecy quoted in today's Gospel - that Bethlehem was not destined always to be overshadowed by its larger, more eminent neighbour, Jerusalem - but would one day, be the place from where a new leader would come: one who would shepherd God's people. They would have been aware of the writings of prophets like Ezekiel - through whom God condemned the unrighteous shepherds and foretold a time when they would be set aside and he himself would be the True Shepherd. For Matthew's first readers - those Jews who accepted Jesus as that True Shepherd and had seen what had happened to him - there would have been deep resonances and an understanding of the dilemma that would have faced any Jewish scholars who saw and understood what that star rising in the east meant. Perhaps they watched and waited to see what would happen. Would they have remembered the star thirty years later when a man would name himself the Good Shepherd who lays down his life for his sheep?

At the time of Jesus' birth, it was, then, left to strangers from foreign countries to seek and find the child and, in their turn, through their gifts, to prophesy the life that lay ahead for the True Shepherd who came out of Bethlehem in the land of Judah:

Gold for king-ship – frankincense for priesthood – myrrh for burial.

What does it mean for me?

Waterlily What gift would you take to symbolise what Christ means to you?

Find out about the current situation in Bethlehem - and ponder how difficult it could be to visit in person. Pray for peace.

Text © 2007 Wellspring

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