Matthew 2:1-12 (NRSV)
Chapter 2In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, Verse 2asking, "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." Verse 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; Verse 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. Verse 5They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: Verse 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.'" Verse 7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. Verse 8Then 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."
Verse 9When 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. Verse 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. Verse 11On 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. Verse 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.
When God speaks, power shifts.
Wise people always seek answers. They observe life around them. They seek to understand changes in their ordered world. They ask questions. They journey into unknown territory. The birth of Jesus drew attention from wise people in a distant land. A heavenly object drew their attention and led them on a quest for answers.
King Herod heard the searching questions of the wise men. They sought one to whom they could pay homage as king. Herod felt threatened by loss of power that homage to another might bring. Power shifts when life’s circumstances lead us to Jesus. A heavenly object, a conversation with someone, a personal loss, a surprise success—we feel the need to seek answers, to look for one to lead us, to discover Jesus has come among us.
Today, the whole church celebrates Epiphany. The child Jesus found in Bethlehem shifts power from fearful rulers to fearless followers who follow God’s leading.
Inviting God, you gather people to Jesus in so many ways from every culture across the centuries. Thank you for his presence which shifts power from self-centered authorities to selfless seekers of love and justice. Amen.