Summary: A sermon for Epiphany.
“Is God Rerouting Your Life?”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor of Grace United Methodist Church, Soddy Daisy, TN www.graceumcsd.org
God is so awesome and the New Testament, in particular, gives us such insight into the heart and mind of our Creator.
And it’s a good insight.
I’ll tell you, there are so many layers to the Bible!
That’s one of the things which make it, not only so amazing, but also interesting.
One can read it for a life-time and still not even touch the surface of its meaning and truth!
Most of us have heard about the Magi most of our lives.
Sometimes they are referred to as the 3 Wise Men.
They appear in just about every Christmas nativity along with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the animals and the Baby Jesus.
We have, at least one, nativity set at home.
Jeanne, Mary Ellen and myself were putting it up a couple weeks ago…well, Mary Ellen was putting the animals and other characters in place…the animals ended up on the roof.
I suppose that was as good a place as any.
Mary Ellen was allowed to assemble all the folks except for the Baby Jesus.
He couldn’t go into the crèche until Christmas Eve.
Jeanne put Him in a drawer, and Mary Ellen would get Him out and ask if it was time to put Him in the crèche.
Eventually, she would just get Him out and play with him.
One time she asked us, “Can I pet the Baby Jesus?”
Manger scenes are a cool way for children and adults alike to learn the fundamentals of Christ’s birth as it is recorded in the Bible.
So we have these 3 Magi or Wise Men.
They were not kings nor were they even Jewish.
They were astrologers, persons who sought to read the future from the stars.
They had seen a new star, which seemed to promise the birth of a king, and they had come to “worship” Him.
They came from the East, which was probably the area around Babylon, where lots of astrologers lived.
The astrologers also brought gifts—gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
So the Magi were the kind of people who are often referred to as “Gentiles” in the Bible.
Gentiles mean non-Jews.
And remember, the Jews thought that they were God’s only chosen people!
They believed that they were the only descendants of Abraham, and heirs according to the promise.
Jews and Gentiles did not associate with one another.
The Gentiles were seen as being heathens with no possibility for salvation.
But right off, right at the very beginning of Jesus’ time on earth—while He is still just a babe…He is visited and worshiped by 3 astrologers (and astrology is condemned in the Bible as a sin) with an alien faith and wisdom who began their search for Jesus in unbiblical ways, but their search led them to the God of the Bible.
How awesome is that?
There is a lesson for us here.
These Gentiles followed the star, building on their own notions of what it meant.
They may have been following their own wisdom, but it was God Who put the star in the sky to attract them.
What has God put in your life to attract you to Jesus, the Christ?
So these magi were Gentiles and they were among the first people to recognize the birth of the Messiah!
Already, in the birth of Jesus, we see God breaking down the dividing walls between “us” and “them”.
That is one of the most important aspects of the Bible and Christianity.
It is one of the great puzzles of life.
God wants humankind to come together, to learn to get along with one another.
God wants to break down the barriers that separate us…
…barriers of race and gender…
…barriers of religion…
…barriers of nationality.
As Paul states so clearly in Galatians Chapter 3: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
Yes, God wants us all to accept each other—no matter who we are or where we come from or what we look like, as ONE with one another—in Jesus Christ our Lord!!!
How are we doing at this?
Is this how we see our African sisters and brothers?
Is this the lens through which we view our neighbors, both near and far away?
We need Jesus.
We need to allow Jesus to break down the walls of division and hatred between persons!!!
We are called to love one another—unconditionally, no matter what!
That is the essence of the Gospel.
Jesus came to break down the walls of hate and prejudice…and it began, even at Christ’s birth, with 3 astrologers from the East.