Thursday, January 06, 2022



The unspecified number of travellers bearing three kinds of gift to the infant Jesus are most likely a consortium of Persian court astronomers (Magi) and Chinese Han dynasty court astronomers. Their arrival at the court in Jerusalem, enquiring after a child born to be king of the Jews, causes consternation.

There is a pattern in the Gospels of identifying events in the life of Jesus as fulfilling earlier events. For example, Isaiah speaks of a woman, pregnant at the time of his speaking some 600 years before Jesus, and of a judgement that will fall before her son is weaned. That Jesus’ birth fulfils this is not to say that Isaiah prophesies Jesus’ birth, but that Jesus’ birth is a similar but greater sign, and that the earlier sign helps us understand what will happen in and through and to Jesus.

In the same manner, I would suggest that the reality that the Christian church today is growing faster—under persecution by the governing authorities—in Iran and China than anywhere else on earth is a fulfilment of the journey of the Magi.

Happy Epiphany to all, and especially to my Iranian and Chinese friends!


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