The Epiphany of the Lord (January 5, 2020)
They followed a star. The Magi left their homes, they left their family and friends, and they left what was familiar to them. They journeyed to an unknown destination using only a star as their compass. They didn’t know a lot about where the journey would take them, but they were open to taking the journey.
You know what is really interesting to consider? To the best of our understanding, the Magi didn’t have knowledge of the Hebrew Scriptures. They probably didn’t know who Isaiah was or about his prophesies. They simply were following a star. The only thing they knew about the star was that it signaled the birth of the newborn king of the Jews. And that was enough to motivate them to seek him out.
Interestingly, Matthew’s gospel makes no mention of people joining the Magi on their journey. I’m sure they met people along the way who inquired about where they were going. “To find the newborn King of the Jews,” sounds like a response they would have given. Yet nobody asked to tag along.
Even the chief priests and scribes with King Herod didn’t care to follow the star. Did you catch that in today’s Gospel? The Magi asked King Herod about the location of the newborn king of the Jews. Herod had no clue what they meant so he asked the chief priests and scribes to explain it to him. They readily quoted the Scriptures because, unlike the Magi, they knew the biblical prophecies. They validated that the Magi were not crazy and told them to go to Bethlehem. But they did nothing to search out the child themselves. They sat by and did nothing.
This sounds eerily similar to our modern society. There are people who are actively seeking out Jesus like the Magi. They are open to the journey and trying to cooperate with God’s plan for their lives, even though they don’t know where it will take them exactly. But they have faith it will lead them back to God.
Then there are people who hear about God, but for whatever reasons aren’t motivated enough to change their ways and follow. They simply go back to their daily lives without giving it a second thought.
Then there are the ones who claim to already know God, can quote Scripture all day long and appear on the outside to be devout. But their actions don’t match up with their faith. They are too afraid to actually take the journey.
Which one are you? We are all following something. So I guess I should be asking… whose star are you following?
One of the most beautiful sights to me is looking up on a clear night and seeing a sky filled with stars too numerous to count. Out of the billion stars in the sky, the Magi followed only one. If they had followed any other star in the sky, their journey and destination would have been dramatically altered. But when they came to the final destination marked by this particular star in the sky, they met an infant. They met a King.
Only one star leads to our King. Other stars may appear to be shinier and brighter at times. Some stars could even lead us down a path that seems more pleasurable or easier. But only one star leads us to salvation. Only one star leads us to complete and total love. Only one star leads us back to God.
We are all looking for some light in the darkness. So be careful which star you are using as your compass through life. Because some day you will reach the end of your journey and see what or whom you’ve been following. I pray you won’t regret or be disappointed when you come to that end.
If you want to avoid that disappointment, consider this:Jesus Christ is the only star with enough light to overcome the darkness. Put your faith in him. Open your hearts and fully trust the journey. Follow the star to our newborn King!