Divinity of Jesus
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. Matthew 2. 11
The season of Epiphany, which follows Christmas, celebrates the revelation of Jesus as God. As this was first shown by the angelic host to the shepherds of Israel, so it is further revealed to the Gentile Magi through the star, which leads these exotic visitors to the stable in Bethlehem where Jesus was born. According to the Gospel writer Matthew, the Magi do not hesitate in recognising Jesus in the arms of his mother, Mary, as the object of their quest. Immediately they worship him with their bodies and with their gifts - and then they leave.
Typically, people display one of two reactions to Jesus. Either they ignore him or they are so transfixed that they cannot tear themselves away. These reactions manifest themselves today in social behaviour. While the majority go about their regular lives as if God does not exist, believers find it hard not to confine their faith to church. In the absence of such an institution, the first generation of believers had no choice but to take their faith into the streets, fields, homes and work-places where they mixed with friends and family and colleagues and rivals.
The divinity of Jesus cannot be contained. Nor, ultimately, will it be ignored. Epiphany invites us to be struck afresh with the awe and wonder of the shepherds and the Magi and then, like them, to take what we have seen out into the world. We shall be changed and the rest of the year will bring opportunities to share how and why we have been changed. The angel came to bring good news, of great joy. The star led the Magi through an arduous journey, fraught with dangers and discomfort. There is more than enough of the latter around today and not nearly enough of the former. Our agenda for 2023 is to temper suffering and injustice with hope and joy - because God is on the scene and on the move...