Summary: EPIPHANY, YEAR A - Describes why Jesus was born to die.
Once long ago in a farming villege in China there lived an old farm known for his wisdom. One day his only son found a powerful war horse who’s bridle was caught in a thorn bush. The young man freed the horse and brought it home to his father. Hearing of this news the whole villege came to the farm to see this amazing sight. Seeing this wonderful horse one of the villegers said, “Isn’t this good news! A horse like this can plow any field without breaking a sweat” In response the wise farmer said, "Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. It’s too soon to tell.” The next day the farmer’s son decided he would try to ride this great steed. But instead he was cast to the ground breaking his leg. Finding himself free the great war horse galloped off into the woods never to be seen again. Hearing of this news the whole villege came to the farm to offer their comfort. Seeing the boy’s injury one of the villegers said, “Isn’t this bad news! Now who will you get to plow your fields?” In response the wise farmer said, "Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. It’s too soon to tel.l” The following day a great war lord from the East came through the villege on his way to fight with a war lord in the west. The war lord had all the able-bodied men in the villege taken as a soldiers in his army. All that is but the farmers son because his leg was broken. After the war lord had left the remaining women and old folk of the village came to the farm and said, “All of our men have been taken to fight in a great war. None of them may return alive. Only your son remains because his leg was broken. Now isn’t that good news?” In response the wise farmer said, "Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. It’s too soon to tell.”
“wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”
So, have you heard the wonderful news. God’s promise that He would send a Messiah has finally come to pass. Now isn’t that Nice. A Star has risen in the East Making known the birth of the “King of the Jews.” Isn’t that terrific. Wisemen have arrived in Jerusalem bearing gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and saying, "We have seen his star in the east, and we have come to worship him." What a comforting Christmas image. Now isn’t that good news? But what’s this about children dying?
"A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she refused to be comforted, Because they were no more."
Suddenly our story turns from joy to sorrow. Having found the child they had traveled great distances to worship the Magi are warned by God to sneak back home. To avoid telling Herod where the child is to be found. Then Joseph is warned in a dream to quickly get up and flee with his family into Egypt. For Herod, he is told Is seeking to kill his new born son. When Harod learns that the Magi have left his territory without reporting back to him where the new-born King of the Jews can be found. He flies into a rage and has all of the male children in Bethlehem from the ages of 2 years old and younger murdered. But Herod is too late for the child who would be king has been carried off to Egypt. As the result of this single birth hundreds of children die. And this was all set into motion says Matthew when, “wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.”
They came to worship, to worship. How could a simple act of worship lead to such terrible consequences? We don’t like to hear of such things at this time of year, do we! We hear bad news during Christmas time and we say, "Isn’t this terrible. To bad it happened at this time of the year." After all, this is the time for Good News. For Christmas Cheer. For peace on earth, good will to men. Isn’t it? We have trouble accepting that there are those who resist this good news. When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled and all Jerusalem with him. But this is what John is trying to tell us when he wrote, "There was the true light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him."