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Ephiphany!

2021! Everyone seems to be genuinely excited for the New Year. But is our excitement truly for this New Year? Could it be that it is really about kicking 2020 to the curb?

As we contemplate the answer to that question, let us turn to scripture for guidance.

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem village, Judah territory— this was during Herod’s kingship—a band of scholars arrived in Jerusalem from the East. They asked around, “Where can we find and pay homage to the newborn King of the Jews? We observed a star in the eastern sky that signaled his birth. We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2 MSG

The Wise men were on a long, sacred journey to find Jesus. As they got close to their unknown destination, they stopped to consult the current king, Herod. It as a logical thing to do since they were coming to find the Jewish King and they assumed Herod would know the location of the birth of the next Jewish King.

Not only did Herod not know the location of this new King, but he was also surprised and taken aback by the purpose of the travelers’ journey. He was king and certainly did not want someone he didn’t even know to take his place. He deceitfully asked the Wise men to contact him when they found the King so that he too could go and worship this King.

The mission for these two groups was the same – find the newborn King. However, their motives and goals were totally opposite from one another.

The Wise Men were scholars from the East searching for what they knew to be the newborn King of the Jews. Even though they were not Jewish, they recognized and wanted to pay homage to a power greater than anything they knew. Guided by a star, they were set on a quest to a yet unknown destination, filled with excitement, hope and determination to give honor to the new King. Their motive appeared to be pure and unencumbered by any personal agendas.

Herod, on the other hand, was a non-Jewish king appointed by Rome. He was a ruthless, conniving despot who murdered his wife, his three sons and countless others. He, of course, wanted to find this newborn usurper who was going to steal his power and destroy him. His motive and determination had a nothing to do with worship. His goal was to kill the child to ensure his own power. His response to this information about a child King was to set forth a decree to kill all male children under 2 years old.

So what can be gleaned from this 2000 year-old event of the Wise Men and Herod? We know that both groups were looking for the same child with vastly different motives. What about us? Are we a people learning daily from God’s Word and seeking Jesus or are we focused on our own personal agendas? Are we looking into this New Year with anticipation, excitement and hope or with trepidation, fear and hopelessness? Are we looking forward to finding what God has for us in the unknown with a “best is yet to come” mentality or are we conniving and planning to stay in control and maintain our own power and position?

Think this through carefully. Our hearts and/or our heads may be saying the answer is the obvious “right” choice – but our words to the world may be saying the opposite. Make a conscience decision to speak life into this New Year! Speak about what we believe and know to be true!

Jesus is our King and He is the Way the Truth and the Life! And we already know where to find Him!

He is guiding us in this day . . . and each and every day of 2021!

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