A message about seeing with a fresh, Godly perspective (just like those Godless Foreigners), based on Matthew 17:1-9 (Epiphany, Year A).
Today we have a well-known passage that describes the wise men coming to see Jesus – now a toddler. But there’s is more to it than that! This is satire, a set of jokes at the expense of the rich, powerful, religious and nationalistic.
Wise Men (Godless Foreigners) Arrive
- The Messiah (God’s chosen one) born in poverty, not even at home;
- Godless Foreigners (GFs) funny-looking people, who can’t even speak the lingo properly, tell God’s people that their new king is born;
- The GFs come to worship the Jewish King!
- Herod, a king who is not chosen by God but by the Pagan Romans (GFs);
- Herod is so insecure, his moods are dangerous to his own people;
- The clueless religious experts caught on the hop, answering the fake king and the GFs;
- Sneaky Herod asks the GFs (not scripture or the religious) for information – for his own devious ends;
- Only the GFs both see and understand the sign from heaven (a star), and only they get the joy;
- They see a young mother and baby in a house and worship Him, giving him top presents (with dreadful meanings); and
- Then God warns the GFs in a dream (like Joesph/prophets!) about Herod and they sneak off back home, job done!
Some points to note:
- It’s like it is all a big joke, but it’s the (second?) biggest event in history and deadly serious;
- It is chilling to think that the Jews, God’s people had become racists – judging people on their ethnicity (they had their reasons, but…);
- How should we avoid making the same mistakes, how we can avoid our status and security as God’s people from making us smug, blind?
- How should we treat strange visitors (GFs or not)? What message are they carrying from God?
- What is going on under our noses that God is alerting us to?
As we start a new year, let’s ask God to give us an epiphany: fresh insights, an open mind, eyes to really see, ears to really hear and renewed hearts to love. Amen