Astrology and Jesus – Observing Epiphany

Isaiah 60:1-6

Ephesians 3:1-12

Matthew 2:1-12

I failed to mention last week that I will be posting some thoughts on the Lectionary texts for the upcoming week. My hope is to spur thought and comment that will be helpful to pastors (myself included). For years I have wanted some forum to discuss the text: Let’s start here. Also, as I begin this, I start with an exception: I will be using the Epiphany texts from January 6 instead of the Baptism of Jesus texts.

Why are the Magi mentioned in the Gospel story? There were other visitors to Jesus – shepherds. Sure they serve to explain the circumstances of the Slaughter of the Innocents. But that could have been done with a simple sentence: “Herod heard that the Messiah was born in Bethlehem and so he went and killed all the babies”. Matthew found it important to mention these astrologers and their story about worshipping Jesus.

First, the Magi show that all humans are welcome to join in worshipping Jesus: not just Jews, not just the poor, not just the theologically correct. This story begins the scandal of Jesus. All are welcome to come.

Second, I wonder if this story has a connection to Jesus later speaking of being a door or the way to God. Could it be that all can come to Jesus from wherever they originate?  God uses astrology to lead these men to worship Jesus. God will use any part of who we are to lead us to Jesus. All paths lead to Jesus but only Jesus leads to the Father.

Third, once we worship/ experience Jesus, we cannot remain the same. The Magi return home a different way. An experience with Jesus will change your life forever. Somehow home is no longer home and your life is impacted by the encounter with Jesus.

Lastly, I wonder what happened to the Magi after they returned to their homeland. Did they remain astrologers? How would they tell the story to their family? Did they adopt the Jewish faith? I wish I knew. Perhaps we are not supposed to know or we are to assume the ending to this story. Is this more important to me because of my interpretation of the story?

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~ by Dale on January 5, 2009.

2 Responses to “Astrology and Jesus – Observing Epiphany”

  1. Have you ever wondered what prophesy they saw that told them Jesus was to be born? Where the Magi from the school Daniel was from in Babylon? Was it Astrology as we know it today? I don’t think so. Check out some of these books if you can find them.

    The Heavens Declare by William D. Banks (book)
    The Real meaning of the Zodiac by D. James Kennedy (book)
    Signs in the Heavens by Chuck Missler (audio)
    The Star of Bethlehem , Frederick Larson (DVD)

  2. Donald:
    I read somewhere (I believe in Biblical Archaeology Review) that the prophecy could have been an astronomical event like a conjunction that was a sign in the stars that a king was being born. The star (actually a planet) went into retrograde and then continued in its orbit which was the movement that the Magi rejoiced in (Matthew 2:9). Based upon this astronomical phenomenon, the author was able to state the approximate time of Jesus’ birth. I wish I could remember more and I could not find the article on the BAR site.
    I don’t believe they were astrologers of the modern, palm reading type. They probably were priests or royal advisors whose job was to divine the will of the gods through the movements of the stars. They were keen scientists and mathematicians. They basically would be a mixture of our modern astrologers and astronomers.
    As for Daniel, it is possible and a wonderful thought.

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