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Jesus was born for all mankind, not just Jews

Thought for the weekend

By Canon Walter Lewis

I hope you will all have had wonderful and enjoyable Christmas celebrations with family and friends as you remembered the birth of Jesus on that first Christmas Day.

Christmas is now over and today we move on to the next stage in the Christian year - Epiphany. In this season we remember that the infant Jesus was made manifest to all mankind. At the time, some people thought that Jesus came just for the Jewish people. Not so: he came for and to all mankind. This is borne out in the story of the Wise Men.

They travelled from far-distant lands to see the baby Jesus and to present their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the one born to be King. Here we see that Jesus of Nazareth was born to be King of the Jews, of Israel and of all the world.

This Jesus would show God's love for all people. He would call all people to repent of their sins and to follow him. In that way, people would be attentive to God. They would seek to do His will and to show love for others.

Jesus himself displayed this love in the teachings he gave to people. Above all, Jesus sought to bring new life and hope into the lives of people for whom the traditional religion had lost its inspiration.

At the age of 30, Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist, for 40 days and nights he overcame temptations and then launched his great proclamation of God's salvation to Jew and Gentile alike. Jesus came for all people, so that all people would know that every person was precious to God.

Tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany, when we remember that the baby Jesus was manifested to the Wise Men who came from distant lands. The baby Jesus was a Jew, but the Wise Men were not Jews. Yet, they were received by Mary and Joseph and their newborn son.

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Epiphany bears an important message: it challenges any sectional, or sectarian, leanings we may have. It reminds us that the Christian faith is global and all-encompassing.

It prompts us to copy the actions of those who visited the stable on that first Christmas night: the Shepherds bowed down and worshipped the baby Jesus, the Wise Men gave their gifts and lives.

Epiphany inspires and attracts you and me to reflect the love of Jesus for all mankind.

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