Epiphany

Epiphany The Gifts of the Magi, the Wisemen,
the gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh
were not the first gifts that the Magi gave Baby Jesus...
The Magi first gave themselves to Christ.


Epiphany sometimes is called Three Kings Day commemorating the coming of the wise men to worship the infant Jesus. Some traditions celebrate Epiphany as Jesus’ baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist where the Holy Spirit descends on Jesus like a dove, and proclaims Jesus the Son of God, and Jesus’ first recorded miracle, at Cana turning water into wine at a wedding banquet.



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Epiphany means “manifestation.” It also means “appearance” and in modern usage often denotes a “revelation” or a new way of thinking. Liturgically, it is a Festival Day, commemorating the first manifestation of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles. It is officially observed on January 6th.

Epiphany sometimes is called Three Kings Day commemorating the coming of the wise men to worship the infant Jesus. Some traditions celebrate Epiphany as Jesus’ baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist where the Holy Spirit descends in the form of a dove and proclaims Jesus the Son of God, and Jesus’ first recorded miracle, the Miracle at Cana turning water into wine at a wedding banquet.

When Christianity became the religion of the Roman Empire, the day after Christmas through January 6 these twelve days became known as Epiphany and is sometimes called Christmas Tide, Little Christmas, or Twelfth Day. In Old England Christmas was celebrated for these 12 days culminating to the Twelfth Night, the Eve of Epiphany. Twelfth Day is where we get the carol “Twelve Days of Christmas” with two turtle doves, three French hens, four calling birds, five golden rings, six geese a-laying, seven swans a-swimming, eight maids a-milking, nine ladies dancing, ten lords a-leaping, eleven pipers piping, twelve drummers drumming, and of course a Partridge in a pear tree.

Epiphany is not only a day itself, but to the church a season because in ends when Lent begins.


Epiphany

In the early church the feast of Epiphany originally celebrated the birth of Christ. However, after the birth of Christ was placed on December 25, Epiphany was designated as the event that manifested Jesus as the Son of God, the Savior of the world. In the West, Epiphany became the day to celebrate the manifestation of Jesus through three great events: the visit of the Magi, the baptism of Jesus, and the marriage feast of Cana. Today Epiphany brings us to the end of Christmas cycle, completing the great rhythm of expectation and fulfillment that defines this period of time. It also points to the beginning of Christ’s manifestation to the world, and our ongoing mission as ambassadors of the gospel of Christ.

IBC Irving Bible Church



The Magi

We bring gold to honor Him as King,
and to yield to the purification process of the fiery trials.

We bring frankincense to Him even in the midst of our brokenness.

And we bring myrrh to recognize He has identified with us
in our pain and sorrow.

The gold, the frankincense, and the myrrh were not the first gifts that the Magi gave Baby Jesus. The Magi gave themselves to Christ. They gave themselves as a living sacrifice, as a gift to Christ. Their long journey to seek Christ was also their gift to the Christ Child. The greatest gift we can give Christ is ourselves and our faith journey, where we in God’s sanctified grace, we try to be Christ-like and grow spiritually in Christ.

Jesus was a prophecy long ago foretold;
Jesus is a prophecy long fulfilled.

Preparing the Way

The Visit of the Magi
Matthew 2:1-12

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ] was to be born. 5"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:

6" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.







Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh
a Sermon by Dr. Neil Chadwick

Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh a wonderful sermon by Dr. Neil Chadwick with many insights into Epiphany. This really is a "MUST READ!" At this time Dr. Neil Chadwick's Link to his sermon is broken! I feel that his sermon is very important so I have it included. Whenever the Link is restored I will Link to Dr. Chadwick's Home Page.




Jesus Christ the Christmas Story by Bible Basics
A video essay of the Advent Story; the Birth of Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ the Christmas Story by Bible Basics
Windows Media Video




The Escape to Egypt
Matthew 2:13-18

13When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." 14So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, 15where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."

16When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. 17Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:

18"A voice is heard in Ramah,
weeping and great mourning,
Rachel weeping for her children
and refusing to be comforted,
because they are no more."




The Magi

...they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of frankincense and of myrrh.
Matthew 2:9-11

star in the east... Probably not an ordinary star, planet, or comet, though some scholars have identified it with the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn.
NIV Note Matthew 2:2

Contrary to tradition, the Magi did not visit Jesus at the manger on the night of his birth as did the shepherds. They came some months later and visited him as a “child” in his “house.”
NIV Note: Matthew 2:11

...gold, ...frankincense, ...myrrh. The three gifts perhaps give rise to the legend that there were three “wise men.” But the Bible does not indicate the number of Magi, and they were almost certainly not kings.
NIV Note Matthew 2:11

King of the Jews. Indicates the Magi were Gentiles. Matthew shows that people of all nations acknowledge Jesus as ‘king of the Jews and came to worship him as Lord.
NIV Note Matthew 2:2

The Magi were astrologers from the east; probably from Persia or modern day Iran area. The Magi were the first gentiles to recognize and to proclaim (baby) Jesus as Lord, King of Kings.

In today’s Christmas tradition there are the Three Kings, the Three Wisemen, but the Gospel of Matthew does not state how many Magi that there were! Matthew’s Gospel does name the three Gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh – This is where we have the tradition of only Three Wisemen/Magi but most likely there were more in the entourage. Tradition has it that the three Magi were Caspar, Melchior, and Balthasar.



The Wisemen gave of themselves, their time, to search for the Christ Child. The Magi were looking for a “Sign” they were looking for God. Their journey began with their Hope and Faith that they would find the Christ Child. They gave to God their best. The Magi gave the gifts of their time; for it was a long journey (approximately 600 miles). Then the Wisemen bowed down to worship Him. The Wisemen gave themselves to Christ; then they gave (Toddler) Jesus their Gifts of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh. These “Gifts” were practical gifts to help support the Holy Family on their Escape to Egypt and later their return to Nazareth.



On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh.
Matthew 2:11

Baby Jesus is now a toddler and not an infant babe. The Magi’s journey make have taken up to two years to reach the Christ Child.

"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."
Matthew 2:2

Another Miracle? The Wisemen stopped and asked for directions!




YouTube Video: Investigate: The Star of Bethlehem

The Burke Baker Planetarium offers new insight in the search for the legendary holiday star in The Star of Bethlehem. Who were the wise men? Were there just three? Did they come from Persia, Babylon or Ethiopia? Is December 25 Jesus real birthday?

Investigate the real story of the Christmas Star through recent discoveries in archaeoastronomy. Examine the night sky of 2000 years ago to look for clues to the nature of the celestial event that sparked one of historys most famous journeys. Discover what this event might have been and how it could have guided the wise men to Jerusalem and on to Bethlehem.



What are the Meanings of the
Star in the East?

What are the meanings, metaphors,
and the significance of the Star of Bethlehem?





The Visit of the Magi
Matthew 2:1-12

1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him."

3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ] was to be born. 5"In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written:

6" 'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him."

9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.



When we concentrate on “What kind of star was it?” Was it an asteroid, a comet, the birth of a new star, or the death of an old star – a super nova? And, “How did the Magi follow the star from Point A to Point B (approximately 600 miles from Persia or modern day Iran) we are distracted from finding and understanding the “Meanings” of the Scripture!

Instead of asking, “What kind of star was it?” questions – Ask:
Who were the Magi and where did they come from?

· Why was the star, this sign given to the Magi/gentiles 600 miles away in Persia and not given to the Jewish homeland and people?

· Why were the Magi watching for the star in the first place?

· Why did King Herod feel threatened by the Birth of Jesus, a tiny infant?

· The Roman Empire conquerors had set King Herod as “King of the Jews”, so why did Herod fear?



Jesus Christ is the “Light”
that is coming into the world
that brings “Light” into our darkness.



When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said,
"I am the light of the world.
Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness,
but will have the light of life."

John 8:12


For you were once darkness,
but now you are light in the Lord.
Live as children of light.

Ephesians 5:8


Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path.

Psalm 119:105




"I AM" by Bible Basics
Windows Media Video




Jesus the "Light of the World" comes into the world.

John 1
The Word Became Flesh


1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was with God in the beginning.

3Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.

6There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe. 8He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

10He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.

14The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' " 16From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another. 17For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

18No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.



Comment









Social Justice and Injustice

Political Commentary
Lessons learned from Mister Magoo’s “A Christmas Carol;” the Christmas classic written by Charles Dickens.

Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol” is a sad commentary of the injustices, which still continue to this day; Oppression of the poor, the hungry, and the sick, the homeless, children, the elderly, the unemployed and underemployed, intolerance, prejudice, and discrimination!



"Its an Unwonderful Life" is a parody of the 1946 Christmas classic, Frank Capras's "It's a Wonderful Life" with James Stewart and Donna Reed.

Join our Bailey as he struggles with problems and contemplates suicide. Bailey meets his guardian angel and they travel back into the past and travel into the future of "what could happen."

The twist this time is their startling conclusion that the world would be better off without Bailey! What a predicament; will Bailey jump or not jump from the bridge into the icy waters below? Join Bailey on his Christmas Eve roller coaster of a ride of Faith or Fear. Christian-fiction written by Osten Aune. Though “It’s an Unwonderful Life” is Christian-Fiction, this story is not a story written for young children. If this were a movie I would give it a PG-13 rating.