You might have expected the people of Jerusalem to have remembered the shepherds’ message about Jesus’ birth, but it appears they did not. If they knew that the “King of the Jews” was born in Bethlehem, you might have expected the religious leaders to have paid him a visit. But they did not.
And yet, Jesus’ glory shined for the Magi. “We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him” (Matthew 2:2). Jesus did not leave them in the dark. Jesus gave them an epiphany (which means “to make known” or “reveal”). The festival of Epiphany is a festival older than Christmas, only exceeded in age by the festival of Easter. Epiphany is especially important for non-Jews because through the account of the wise men (i.e., non-Jews) coming to worship the baby Jesus from the East, God shows that Jesus is the Savior for all people—including us! That’s why this festival is known as the “Gentile Christmas.”
In the cathedral of Cologne, you can see the Shrine of the Three Kings. Visitors are told that their number was three and that their names were Caspar of Tarsus, Balthazar of Ethiopia, and Melchior of Arabia. But the Bible doesn’t mention any of that—no number, no names, no place of origin. Why? Because none of that really matters. Instead Scripture records what really matters. These Gentiles came to worship Jesus as their Savior—Jesus is for all people!
Let’s worship him too!