My Own Epiphany

Matthew 4:16 – The people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. (NIV)

Have you ever experienced an epiphany, an "aha!" moment, when a captivating notion suddenly dawned? Maybe an old assumption came alive with new vitality, as if emerging through the foggy layers of your mind. Perhaps you found yourself awakened to a new outlook. Perhaps this launched you on a life-changing quest — like the Magi who set out to find an infant King in Judea. Their epiphany came through a star. I wonder how your epiphanies have come. As for me, the Magi's epiphany, in itself, became my own epiphany.

Oh, I've always known of the "wise men"; they're carefully placed in every crèche. But this time, I observed their careful placement in Matthew's gospel. "Presentation is everything!" says the fine-dining chef. We get it: Our dining experience is enhanced by everything around the meal, the overall setting. Likewise, our appreciation of scriptural morsels is enhanced through their setting. And that's how the Magi story became an "aha!" moment for me.

In Matthew's gospel presentation to Jewish readers, the Magi essentially kick off the story of Jesus' life. How unexpected: A foreign entourage comes to worship their King! Yet, these are pagan astrologers — Gentiles, outsiders to Israel's heritage and traditions. There's no mention of guidance through Jewish writings. Perhaps that happened, but Matthew mentions only the star. That's part of his presentation. He's contrasting the Magi's eagerness, despite limited knowledge, with the apathy of the religious leaders and the hostility of Herod's court — those who had the Scriptures to inform them. Here, we see how the Messiah is welcomed by the least likely and rejected by the most likely. And isn't that the setting of the overall Bible!

The startling impact can get lost to us through over-familiarity. Those wise men figurines get stored away with the crèche, out of mind — unless an "aha!" epiphany re-imprints the Magi event into our psyche, or in some other way, we are re-awakened to the sheer wonder of God's love for the world.

I've been reminded that our God still shines His light on those living in the land of spiritual darkness — through their own epiphanies. He can reach those we see drifting on the tide of contemporary culture: perhaps loved ones who show little interest in God.

God also provides epiphanies for us, His followers, to stave off the drift into despondency and apathy, and to re-ignite fervent hope. We need those "aha!" events, so that we will cling to the ancient promise for our unbelieving loved ones and those "living in the land of the shadow of death", that they will see that "a light has dawned" and embark on their own spiritual journey to find the King.

Prayer: Lord, grant us each our own epiphanies, that we may keep following after Your "great light" — wherever that takes us — in our thoughts, actions, intercession, or whatever. Amen.

1 comment on this post.
  1. PresbyCan Feedback:

    Amen.


    A good word, Diane.


    Hi Jessie, I trust that the seed I merely planted will grow into a ever-widening epiphany for you.


    Thanks Diane, opens up more about the magi and others, can’t explain just how but wanted to let you know and thank you.


    Epiphany. First time experience. Nothing takes the place for awe factor. Yes! Thanks Diane for sharing this devotional with us. Blessings.


    Good morning, Diane,
    Thank you for these thoughts. I’m praying for my loved ones today who do not know the Lord that the Light will shine on them.


    Diane, thank you for sharing these wonderful insights into the Magi’s appearance in the gospel of Matthew. May the Lord continue to reveal His Light to those walking in darkness and awaken in us a fresh appreciation for the wonder of His love.


    Hi Diane,
    What a good devotional this morning!
    Thanks so much for using your gifts for His body!
    Be blessed.


    Dear Diane,
    This is a very blessed and blessing devotional!
    And I pray that God will bless readers with faith.
    May God bless you with continuing inspiration.


    What a good message, Diane. Those men have long been an inspiration to me, but just now I am blessed to read your words about being lost in a period of despondency and apathy. I’ve been thinking that this is when one’s commitment to self-discipline gets a chance to be exercised!


    Interesting insight. I am sure the wise men must also have known about the prophesies being in the business, as it were. To me they represent Jesus being Lord for everyone.
    Although I wonder what would happen if 3 guys who said they were astrologers from the middle east showed up for worship in some of our churches?


    Dear Diane,
    How good God is to us, indeed – opening the eyes of our heart to His gospel of love and hope, through such personal revelations as you have shared here! And this sheds new “light” on this Scripture for me. Thank you!
    Blessings.


    Once again, thank you for your inspirational words.
    Makes me want to keep the 3 Wise Men out all year to remind me that ordinary Gentiles like me should keep watch for the Light 24/7.
    I have children and grandchildren whose modern world knows nothing about Jesus.
    I have to stay focused.


    Good morning, Diane.
    I quite enjoyed your devotional as per usual. We often forget that unlike the greeting card depiction, the Magi were not present at Jesus’ birth. Their part in the story comes a little later but is definitely an important part. I hope your devotional helps lead readers to their own aha moments! Keep on writing.
    Happy Epiphany!


    Oh, my goodness Diane! What an amazing, beautifully written devotional today! It touched me in a way that I cannot find the words to express. The following quote especially gives me renewed hope for those ‘loved ones who show little interest in God”.
    I’ve been reminded that our God still shines His light on those living in the land of spiritual darkness – through their own epiphanies. He can reach those we see drifting on the tide of contemporary culture: perhaps loved ones who show little interest in God.
    You definitely were led to share this epiphany with us – a real gift indeed!
    Blessings to you and yours as you seek His will and His way on your journey!
    Thanks!


    Thanks again, Diane for such good “food for thought.”