Our theme for this season has been “Our Identity Crisis”. When the three wise men came to visit Jesus, it was a symbol of how Jesus came for everyone. He was not the Messiah, or the saviour for just the Jews, he was for all of us. This idea, that Jesus is for everyone, was something that caused the Jewish community to have to rethink what it meant to be a Jew. If we are no longer “the chosen ones”, who are we? If Jesus is not JUST for us, are we still special? What is our role in the world? What does God think of us? Jesus coming for all people was an event that caused the Jews to question who they were and forced them to redefine their identity. Their answer to the question “who am I” had to change.
At the same time, another crisis was happening. Anyone who lived in the vicinity of a Jewish family but wasn’t Jewish themselves probably knew that this was a group of people who saw themselves as set-apart. They saw the entire Old Testament in the Bible as the story of how they are The Chosen Ones, and how all of the “gentiles” or anyone who was not born into their group, was NOT chosen by God. This was the way it had been for generations. So when Jesus came and said that he came for EVERYONE, those who used to be OUTSIDERS, where now a part of the group! Those who had always been told there were left out in the cold, were now welcome to come on in. Jesus coming caused them to change the way they saw themselves. When they encountered his message, they were forced to ask themselves “who am I” and there was an opportunity to give a new answer.