The Ephiphany


The story of the adoration of the magi is one of the most vividly detailed stories in the New Testament.The Magi who follow a star from another land, presumably Persian Zoroaster priests from modern Iran,give homage to an infant who is to be King, while sending the present day King Herod into a deceitful and vengeful tirade. These three wise men are among the first to recognize Jesus as king, they are the first gentiles to pay him homage. Their travels also give hint of ancient travel throughout the ancient Mideast. As they bore gifts of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh perhaps their route was along the spice trail. It seems from these three travelers Christs church from the beginning is formed along the lines that connect people and is not closed in by a border. Jesus too preached along these same routes that crossed many times outside the culture he was born into. In the gifts these three brought there is a telling of the role Christ was to fulfill  there also is lesson gleaned from how these gifts are collected. Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. Gold the symbol of kingship on earth. Frankincense the incense of the temple and symbolic of Jesus’s kingship in heaven. Myrrh the incense of the burial ritual  and symbolic of his suffering. Frankincense and Myrrh are resins of trees, harvested through the gashing or scourging of its bark so that the blood like resin can be collected. Its resin beads are known as tears.Its sweet fragrance comes at a cost to the tree, just as salvation has its price on the cross. In navigating to find this infant King they follow a star in heaven. The stars of heaven are the domain of the Gods, yet they find God beneath the star here on earth. An epiphany is God revealing himself to man and God is revealed as an infant in a manger. This infant in a manger is a threat to a powerful ruler of the region, yet these wise men do not bow down to Herod or pay him honor. They avoid him and his influences just as Jesus refuses to give in to the temptation by Satin in the desert. In an infant in a manger these wise men know they have seen a great King more valuable that the riches they brought him, in  protection of that Christ child they leave along a different route forever changed. That new route is the path back not to Persia, but instead towards that Kingdom of God of which Jesus is about to preach.

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