The Epiphany of Our Lord—Transferred 2020 (Mt 2, 1–12)

Photo by Inbal Malca on Unsplash

Immanuel Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO
Bethlehem Lutheran Church—Bremen, KS || AUDIO

Wise men from the east came to Jerusalem and said, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? …we have come to worship Him.”


The wise men come. It’s Gentile Christmas! Jesus was born not just for Jews, but Gentiles. That’s what the Magi show us. But these wise men are up to something. They are part of God’s promises. Yes, they’re on the receiving end of God’s salvation in Jesus, and the Lord promised their coming in Isaiah 60. But that’s not all. They are showing up to bring something. It’s not just for Jesus either. Yes, they offer their gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Him. But they are here for you. They are bringing a gift to you this 12th day of Christmas.


((I. They bring good news with their words.))

The wise men show up in Jerusalem. They show up with good news. Their message is: “The King of the Jews has been born! Where is He? We want to worship Him.” This is good news! The Lord has kept His promise to Israel, to send a Savior. This is the true praise of the LORD, as the Lord promises through Isaiah today. These Gentiles preach good news to the Israelites. They preach what is praiseworthy about the Lord: His promises and salvation.

Herod rejects this Good News. Herod wants his throne, his own life instead. He doesn’t believe what was promised. Sure a King was promised, but He wouldn’t be like any other king. His “Kingdom is not of this world.” He doesn’t care about borders or nations or armies or thrones. At His birth, He was first enthroned in a manger. His castle was a stall. His final coronation was with thorns, enthroned on a cross. The charge against Him was the same good news the magi preached: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

The good news of the wise men isn’t just for the people of Israel. It was for Gentiles, too. They come from the east in search of the Savior King, and they go back with the “great joy” that they had seen, met, and worshiped that Savior King. Herod doesn’t receive that good news, not that He wanted the Savior King anyway. So, gift rejected, Herod doesn’t get the Savior King. The streets of Bethlehem and the surrounding region painted red with his rejection. And so that means the message goes back to “the East,” wherever the magi were from.

These faithful Gentiles, who believed the Lord’s promises, bring their message to us. Today’s Gentile Christmas. Yes, Christmas rejoices in the Birth of the “Savior. He is Christ the Lord.” But this Babe is born King of the Jews, but not just King of the Jews—“King of kings and Lord of lords.” If He’s King of these wise men, He’s your King, too, your Savior, too, your Jesus, too. He was born not just for shepherds or Jews or Israelite. He was born for magi, for you, for me, for all people everywhere.


The faith of the Magi wasn’t just ideas. “Oh, far away a Baby was born for me. How nice.” They wanted to be face to face with the God who said, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Faith is living and active. Not just in love toward your neighbor. There is a lifetime of good works for you when it comes to the 4th through 10th Commandments. Be resolved to do that. But there is also a lifetime of good works for you when it comes to the first three commandments, too. There are good works God gives you to do when it comes to your relationship with Him, too.

The Good News of Jesus is confessed by the wise men in their actions. When Herod rejects the preaching of Jesus that the Magi proclaim, it ends with him rejecting his neighbor, the people under his care, the families with male children in and around Bethlehem. The wise men aren’t just some example for you. Though they could be that. No, THE WISE MEN BRING YOU GOOD NEWS. They preach it. They also confess it with their actions.

((II. They bring good news with their actions.))

With their actions the wise men bring good news. Jesus as the Christ, as the King of the Jews, Jesus as Savior wasn’t just a nice idea. If there is a Jesus, if there is a Baby born, then that Baby is somewhere, that Jesus is somewhere. He was where the Jews were. So the wise men went to greet Him, to see Him, to worship Him. They wanted to see and hear the fulfillment of God’s promises.

That was faith in action. But it’s good news for you, too. Because it means that just like Jesus, the King of the Jews, was somewhere for them, it means He’s somewhere for you, too. He’s not far off. His Word points Him there, and He uses all creation and history to be in that spot for you. 150/119 years ago people in the right place and time—this place—for you. (Jesus did that.)

The wise men drop a knee, genuflect, bow down, get on the ground before their flesh and blood Jesus as they welcome Him into the world that He came to save. Their worship isn’t a nice feeling or an idea or right motives or right preparation. Their worship involves the whole of them! I’m sure they even smiled! They literally bowed in the presence their flesh and blood Savior, their God who took on human body and blood. Not just an idea.

They confessed who this Jesus was by their actions. He was their King worthy to receive all the wealth and gold of the world. He was their Priest who made their prayers sweet-smelling incense, who would enter into the true Holy Place of heaven. He was their Savior who would die for them. They brought Him burial spices—myrrh. He was born for them, to save them, to die for them. He would die for them as the King of the Jews, but He would rise from the dead, the eternal “King of kings and Lord of lords.”

Their actions strengthen our faith. Jesus was in the house for the Magi to meet Him. Not an idea or nice sounding words—Jesus was actually somewhere. Somewhere for them. Somewhere for you, too. He comes to us, today. He draws us into His presence. He drew the Magi with a promised star. He draws us with the promise of His own presence.

Not an idea. Real Jesus. Real Absolution for your sins. Real Good News preached from a real man. Real bread and wine that are His real body and blood for you for the forgiveness of your sins. That’s all Jesus’ promise. He is your King, your Lord, your Savior.


It’s Gentile Christmas. The Lord promised the star through Balaam. “A Star shall come out of Jacob, and a Scepter shall rise out of Israel.” The promised star appears, and the promise of Isaiah 60 happens, “They shall bring gold and frankincense, and shall bring good news, the praises of the LORD.” The wise men come.

They don’t just come to bring Jesus gifts, as a nice bow to end the Christmas story. They bring good news. They brought it to Herod and Jerusalem. “The King of the Jews is born! Where is He?” Their message is for you, too. He was somewhere. Their actions remind us that Jesus, the King of the Jews, is always somewhere for you.

THE WISE MEN BRING YOU GOOD NEWS. By Word and Deed they bring their good news to you. They preach Jesus. They confess who Jesus is with what they do. Drop a knee, bowing down, on the ground before their flesh and blood God, their King, their Priest, their Savior, who comes to save His people.

The King of the Jews is born. Born for us Gentiles. He is crucified for us, too. Raised, too. So, He comes now. Somewhere. Body and blood for you. This house. Now that’s Good News!

Merry Christmas!


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