1/7/2021 5:06:40 PM
January 3, 2021
The Epiphany of Our Lord
Sermon Text: Matthew 2:1-12
Other Readings: Isaiah 60:1-6 and Ephesians 3:2-12
- The Greek word used for Magi is related to our word magic and magician. We’re not sure exactly what that means for these men here, but see Daniel 2:1-10 and Acts 13:6-12 for some clues.
- Matthew tells us that the Magi came “from the east” of Israel. When commentators speculate about what land they came from, a good number think Babylon. Some think an eastern part of Africa. Why are those two popular opinions?
- King Herod claimed he wanted to worship Jesus, but what was his real plan (cf. Matthew 2:13-18)?
- Matthew 2:6 says that Jesus will rule and shepherd his believers. In what way(s) does Jesus rule your life? In what way(s) does he shepherd you?
- These Magi and Ephesians 3:12 show that through faith in Jesus we “may approach God with freedom and confidence.” What’s on your heart and mind at the beginning of this New Year? Write and/or say a prayer to God that his light and grace shine over what’s on your heart and mind.
- This word is associated for those who seem to mess around with powers unseen as a way to make a living. It could encompass things like wizardry, voodoo, or fortune-telling. We can’t be sure, but it is clear that it is not connected to a godly pursuit of God and the knowledge he wants us to have.
- Babylon is a common choice because the tribe of Judah was exiled there for seventy years, and many Jews stayed there. The magi could have come into contact with Old Testament prophecy there. Some like eastern parts of Africa because our first lesson mentions those regions when it prophesies about Gentiles coming “to the brightness of [Jesus’] dawn.”
- Herod wanted to find Jesus so that he could kill him and eliminate him as a threat to his throne.
- Answers will vary, but we focus on Jesus’ spiritual ruling of our hearts and his spiritual shepherding of our lives. Jesus does this primarily through Word and Sacrament.
- Answers will vary. May God answer your prayers according to his good and gracious will!