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Summary: A sermon for the Epiphany

Epiphany Sunday

Matthew 2:1-12

’Who Did Jesus Come For?"

1* ¶ Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying,

2 "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."

3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;

4* and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.

5* They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet:

6* ’And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.’"

7* Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared;

8* and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him."

9* ¶ When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy;

11* and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.

12* And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus the Christ!

"There is an old tale concerning Elroy T. Higgenbottoom a seemingly nobody from Indianapolis who had a way of giving others to believe he could get access to anybody he desired. A wealthy friend, who’d know Elroy from their youth and who knew him to be "just a nobody "decided to call his bluff. He came to visit him one day and said,’I’ll bet if I phone the mayor’s office he’ll laugh at you if you request an appointment."

"Go ahead,’ said Elroy. When the friend got on the phone, the mayor’s secretary said,’Can you hold a moment?’

After a pause, she came back on the line and said ’’The mayor wonders if Elroy could come to lunch ? "

Thinking it was u fluke, the friend took Elroy with him on a trip to Washington, D.C. It just happened that John F. Kennedy was coming down Pennsylvania Ave. in a motorcade as the two of them were standing on the curb. The entourage came to a screeching halt while Kennedy shouted, ’Hi, Elroy" How are things in Indianapolis?’

Stunned, the friend took Elroy with him to the Vatican.

As they stood waiting for the pope to appear on his balcony the friend discovered Elroy had disappeared. The next thing he knew two people were standing on the balcony. And two tourists with British accents started talking.

One said, ’Who’s that man with the white robe and the cross around his neck up on that balcony?’

Said the other one, ’I don’t know, but that guy next to him is Elroy T. Higgenbottoom from Indianapolis."’

A far-fetched tale, right? Not so far-fetched, because have another tale for you that seems even more far-fetched.

It is the story of this day and what it means for us who gather here to worship the baby born at Christmas. Today is the day of Epiphany, the festival of the church in which Jesus is made known to the world. The meaning of the word Epiphany is, "to show forth," " to make known", "to reveal."

Today in our lesson the scriptures tell us why Jesus came, or who did Jesus come for? And the answer to that question is as far-fetched a tale as the one I told at the beginning of this sermon in many people’s minds, hearts and eyes.

Who did Jesus come for? Who is he revealed to? The answer is everyone, period. That’s right! Jesus came for everyone. And that answer doesn’t seem right to a lot of folks. How can God come to everyone, surely, not everyone, they think. And so the story of the Epiphany becomes for many a tale of far-fetched nonsense.

"There is a story about a set of twins which helps to explain what I mean. It seems these twins decided to play Christmas, as they wrapped themselves in white sheets, used a yardstick for a shepherd’s staff, and rolling a doll buggy with the family cat wrapped in swaddling clothes to "be" the baby Jesus. But the cat didn’t entirely like the rules of the game, so he leaped out the the crib and ran away.

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