A Change of Epiphany Bumper Stickers

Maybe you’ve seen the bumper sticker: “Wise men still seek Him.” I always kind of liked that one …

Except the role of “Magi from the East” in the Gospel of Matthew isn’t exactly flattering. Although these Magi might be heirs of Babylonian exiles like Ezekiel or Daniel, they are still foreign astrologers and sketchy outsiders in the Jerusalem of Jesus’ day.

Their actions aren’t wise, either. They go to Herod of all people—the crazy, murderous, manipulating non-Jew sitting on a Jewish throne—to ask about the one born King of the Jews. The Magi should have been Dead Sea fish bait right then and there.

When a conniving Herod gives these not-so-wise men clear directions, they still need a miraculous star to go five and a half miles to Bethlehem; and when they see that star, man, are they relieved!

So God has to take these sketchy, ignorant, and incompetent outsiders by the hand to lead them into the presence of Jesus. But I like the story better that way. It gives you and me a chance to meet Jesus, not based on our wisdom or our seeking, but completely dependent on God’s grace.

I need the bumper sticker: “God still reveals Jesus to ignorant outsiders.” It’s not as catchy, but it gives real hope to sketchy, incompetent outsiders, like me.

Matthew 2:9-12 (ESV)

After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. 

When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 

And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. 

And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.


Jesus, I would seek you again today. And I am all too aware of my own weakness, my own confusion, my own failure to take even a small step by myself.

If I am going to kneel down and offer my worship along with the Magi, then I will need you to guide, just like they did.

Please send your Spirit into my heart. Inspire my prayers. Shape my response. Cause me both to want to seek, and to find you, who found me first. Amen.

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