I will also make you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring my salvation to the ends of the earth ~ Isaiah 49:6b (NIV)
Matthew chapter 2 tells about the coming of the Magi (wise men). After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “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.” The Magi saw Jesus’ star rise in the east and came to the capital city, Jerusalem, where they expected to find the newborn king of the Jews, but more than that, they planned to worship this unique king.
When asked, the priests told King Herod that the Messiah (Savior) was to be born in Bethlehem. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: ‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” So Herod sent the Magi to Bethlehem. He told them that he, too, wanted to worship this new king, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him”, but secretly he planned to kill the baby Jesus.
Matthew says that the Magi went to Bethlehem, led by the star, to the house where Mary and Joseph resided with Jesus. After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. But having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. But, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up,” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.” So Joseph got up, took Jesus and Mary during the night and fled to Egypt, where they stayed until the death of Herod.
The coming of the Magi meant that people who were not Jews learned of Jesus’ birth and came to worship him. That is why Epiphany (which means “to reveal”) is called the Christmas of the Gentiles (or non-Jews). Epiphany is a special time to remember that Jesus was born to save all people of every nation!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for fulfilling your plan of salvation ~ Nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn. (Isaiah 60:3 NIV)