Peter’s Blog

Rev. Dr. Peter Holmes

Peter Holmes, BA, MDiv, DMin is the Minister of the Congregation at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church.

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An Epiphany Reflection

Matthew 2:1-12
2:1 In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,
2:2 asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”
2:3 When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him;
2:4 and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.
2:5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet:
2:6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.'”
2:7 Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared.
2:8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.”
2:9 When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was.
2:10 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy.
2:11 On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
2:12 And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

Reflection
January 6th is known as the Feast Day of Epiphany, the day Christians in the west celebrate the first manifestation of Christ to the gentile world. The arrival of the magi in Bethlehem at the very beginning of Christ’s life was indeed a sign that God was in Christ reconciling not only the nation of Israel, but indeed the whole world to himself. The presence of these foreigners from Babylon with their ‘non-kosher foods’ and their ‘unclean’ ways was a very early indication of what would become clearer and clearer in the teachings of Jesus, that God’s love and forgiveness is for the whole world. Whether it was the Samaritan woman at the well or the workers in his parable who came at the end of the day, Jesus had come to break down the barriers and throw open the doors to God’s Kingdom to one and all.

There is indeed a wonderful truth to celebrate at Epiphany, but Epiphany also presents us with a challenge. When the magi arrived in Jerusalem asking for the whereabouts of the newborn king, Herod was frightened and all Jerusalem with him. Herod knew intuitively that to welcome a new king meant surrendering his own control and power. Ironically when Jesus came as King of Kings he did so by surrendering his heavenly throne and crown and living among us in complete love and service. His love makes it so much easier to let go of our fear and need to be in control. Matthew informs us the magi went home by a different road. When the magi worshipped Jesus they changed their way home to God, or God changed it for them. Sadly Herod chose to change nothing and held to the hatred and fear that had ruled his life. Epiphany reminds us that every day we have a choice to make as to who sits on the throne of our life. Will it be Jesus or me? When we choose Jesus his perfect love will drive all fear away.

Prayer
Gracious God we give you thanks for opening your arms of love to us and to all people. Day by day help us to open our hearts to Jesus in new ways that his love and grace might rule in all things. And as we open our hearts to him, help us to open our hearts to the world around that we might fulfill our calling to love you with our whole being and our neighbour as ourself, through Jesus Christ, Amen.


My colleagues and I offer daily reflections in an online devotional. To subscribe please to go:https://yorkminsterpark.us8.list-manage.com/subscribe/post?u=feb7d6ec77f433bbb4ed3b5d5&id=cd96d19c30