GRACE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

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Good Gracious, January 2022: Epiphany

We have come to worship Him. (Matthew 2:2)

 

The focus of the Magi was to find the new king (to encounter Jesus), worship Him and give Him their gifts. I suggest we do the same today.

 

We don’t know much about the Magi. We know that there may be links to the wise men and scholars that the kings of Babylon of old used. There could have been connection to the Jews who had been leaders in that old empire, even Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. There could be more of an international flavour to the caravan of the Magi who came to talk to King Herod about the new king. While they knew that the stars had led them to Israel, they were unable to determine the exact city from their astronomical or astrological calculations. They had a mission. God allowed them to carry out that mission, in spite of the political machinations of the king of the day, and his infanticidal directions.

 

The Magi were guided by dreams from God, as Joseph too was guided several times. Their mission was to worship the newborn king. I say “newborn,” but the Scriptures have the Magi coming to a “house” (v. 11) and not to the stable or barn.  Jesus was growing up. The Magi have nothing more to do with Herod, as instructed by God, and they return to their country by another route. Herod figures this out, eventually and instructs that all the baby boys up to two years old be slaughtered (infanticide). (v. 16) The slaughter of the innocents is a topic for another time.

 

The Magi come and worship the Lord Jesus. They bring Him gifts. We bring Him gifts. They bring Him gold, frankincense and myrrh. Typically these symbolize gift giving for the king, for God Himself, and for the One who would die for sins. All these things are true. Likely these gifts would pay for the travel plans and displacement that God would lead the holy family into. We simply know that the Magi accomplished their mission. The Holy Family accomplished their mission, to raise Jesus well and keep him safe and sound.

 

What is our mission? We are debating this year what it means to be a congregation dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ, His Word and direction. Some believe that this can only be done by quickly leaving the denomination, which has left behind the traditional and biblical understanding of marriage and sexual ethics. Others believe that faithfulness to Jesus comes locally and what we decide as a local ministry in faithfulness to Jesus, not the poor decisions of the majority of the national body of which we are a part. Our mission is to witness to the Good News of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, and encourage everyone we know to get to know Him, repent of their sins, and give their lives and resources fully and completely to Him. It is to Him we must all give an account, personally and in our groups. We place our gifts, spiritual and otherwise at the feet of Jesus in 2022. He is returning soon, whether it be exactly two thousand years from his death and resurrection or before, or after; we believe He is coming soon. Let us not lose our focus on Him.

 

May we be found faithful in proclaiming the Gospel, caring for people and taking Him for who He is: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God bless you in this New Year. God have mercy on us all.

 

Pastor Jonathan