Your Epiphany of a Surprising Jesus

The little-known holiday, “Epiphany,” reminds us that the Wise Men came to Jesus after Christmastime. Rather than coming two weeks later, it was at least two years. How do we know? The Bible tells us (Matthew 2:1-2, 7, 16).

Visit of the Wise Men

(Photo: Visit of the Wise Men from thebiblerevival.com. Public domain.)

Jesus was a toddler when the Magi showed up. How surprised they must have been to come to Joseph and Mary’s humble house in Bethlehem instead of a posh palace in Jerusalem ( it was a “house,” not a stable; check out Matthew 2:11).

Jesus wasn’t the king they expected.

Our Expectations of Jesus—A Personal Epiphany

Honestly, to those who knew Him, Jesus didn’t fit most expectations of a king. Each one had an epiphany of sorts:

  • Jesus’ own family thought He was crazy.
  • The religious leaders blamed Satan for Jesus’ miracles.
  • And the wise magi? They didn’t come first to Bethlehem to look for Jesus. They headed to Jerusalem, to the place where kings were supposed to live.

Even those who walked in the footsteps of Jesus up and down the Holy Land—those He chose as His disciples—even these apostles stumbled over their expectations of who He should be.

We all do, in fact. (Talk about an epiphany!) Jesus never seems to be what we expect when we come to Him.

He is far greater.

Question: How was Jesus different than what you expected? To leave a comment, just click here.

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This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus: A Journey Through the Lands and Lessons of Christ.

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I'd love to hear your thoughts. Just keep it kind and relevant. Thanks!

  • Jess

    Interesting post. I found it very informative. Christ was not the saviour people expected. They wanted a zealot leader that would throw off the tyrany of Rome. But instead the recieved a rabbi that taught them to forgive their enemies. He did not come to save them from persecussion but to remove the bonds of sin and death.

  • Laetitia

    Very interested in this post. Thank you for all the great information provided. However, I am somewhat curious about the explanation for what I perceive being a discrepancy between the accounts of the 'wise men from the east' being sent by Herod to Bethlehem of Judaea (Matthew, 2:5), where Jesus was living with his family, and another account that implies that Jesus and his parents were living in the city Nazareth of Galilee (Luke 2:38) at that time. Thanks for any response.

  • Wayne Stiles

    Laetitia,

    It’s not a simple resolution, to be sure! I like what Robert Thomas states in his “Harmony of the Gospels” (page 30):

    “Whether this return to Nazareth came before or after the events of Matthew 2:1-18 (Secs. 17-18) is not easily determined. Plummer suggests the family returned immediately to Bethlehem because the parents thought it most appropriate to rear the Son of David in the city of David (Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to Luke, International Critical Commentary on the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments [N.Y.: Scribners, 18961, pp. 73-74). If this be true, the return of Luke 2:39 came after the visit of the Magi and the flight into Egypt (Matt. 2:1-18). The sequence preferred in this Harmony, however, finds them returning to Nazareth from Jerusalem, as the wording of Luke 2:39 implies. Their purpose was to fetch as many of their personal belongings as possible and move their home to Bethlehem, which they did. Matthew 2, then, finds them in their own home (Matt. 2:11) some time after they have been back to Nazareth (Luke 2:39). That they had already transported their household goods to Bethlehem is seen from Joseph’s initial plan to return to Bethlehem, not Nazareth, from Egypt (Matt. 2:21-22) (William F. Arndt, The Gospel According to Luke [St. Louis: Concordia, 19561, pp. 97-98).”

    Also, the Bible Knowledge Commentary states in its note on Luke 2:39-40:

    “Joseph and Mary then returned with Jesus to their home in Nazareth of Galilee, about 65 miles north of Jerusalem, where Jesus grew up. Luke omitted Jesus’ sojourn in Egypt from his account (cf. Matt. 2:13-21) since it was not his purpose to show the early rejection of the Messiah.” (John F. Walvoord and Roy B. Zuck, eds., The Bible Knowledge Commentary: New Testament, Accordance electronic ed. Wheaton: Victor Books, 1983.

    I hope that offers some help, Laetitia.

  • Laetitia

    Thank you, Wayne! Yes, your thorough explanation does help my understanding. It is always fascinating to read your books and all the other resources you kindly make available for us all. It certainly "gives us an up-close and very personal look at Christ and the Bible", quoting Dr. Jack Graham's endorsement of "Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus."