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, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11 NIV)
In the church calendar, Monday, January 6, 2020 is Epiphany Day. This coming Sunday, January 5, 2020 is also known as Epiphany Sunday. Epiphany comes from a New Testament Greek word that means “manifestation” or “appearance”. The idea behind it is God’s appearance or manifestation to humanity. There are 12 days between Christmas Day (December 25) and Epiphany Day (January 6). This is the idea behind the 12 days of Christmas. These are 12 days for us to seek God in preparation for the new year.
In some cultures, Epiphany Day is sometimes known as “Three Kings Day”. This is a reference to how God as the baby Jesus appears to the Magi from the East. The Bible does not speak of 3 kings. However, Matthew 2:11 does speak of 3 gifts the Magi give to the baby Jesus; gold, frankincense and myrrh. There are 3 gifts not 3 Magi.
Matthew tells us that the Magi go into the house. When they see the baby Jesus and his mother Mary, they bow down and worship him. Have you ever wondered what the Magi do as they worship the baby Jesus? What words do they use? What to they do?
The New Testament Greek word that is translated as “worship” in Matthew 2:11 means “by kneeling or prostration to do homage (to one) or make obeisance, whether in order to express respect or to make supplication”. That is what worship is. It is not a Sunday morning activity or the hymns we sing. Strictly “to worship God” means “to kneel or prostrate ourselves before God”. For the Magi, the baby Jesus is the one they worship. They have come a long way to worship the baby Jesus. They take a detour through Jerusalem and cause havoc to King Herod and his religious advisors. Those in Jerusalem eventually refer to Micah 5:2 which says that out of the small town of Bethlehem, will come a ruler who will shepherd the people of Israel (Matthew 2:5-6)
The Magi are overwhelmed by the sight of the baby Jesus and his mother. They bow down before Jesus and give their 3 gifts to him.
For me, our worship does not end with the benediction of the Sunday morning worship gathering. Our worship starts with the opening prayer/call to worship and carries on after we leave our church building on Sunday morning. When our manager tells us to do something ethically questionable during the week, can we worship God? When someone in our family does something to hurt us during the week, can we worship God? When we struggle through a health issue during the week, can we worship God?
The Magi followed a star to worship him. ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’ (Matthew 2:2 NIV). When they followed that star, they did not know where the star was going to take them. They still followed that star. Who provided the star to these pagan astrologers known as the Magi? When we read Matthew 2, we understand that it is God who provides the star. God guides the pagan Magi to meet the baby Jesus. If God can guide the pagan Magi, will he not guide us in 2020?
In 2020, is there a star in your life that God wants you to follow? Will you worship God as you follow that star? Will that star lead you to the baby Jesus?