Archive for January 6th, 2014

Isaiah 60:1–6

Ephesians 3:1–12

Matthew 2:1–12

The Lord God Is Manifested in the Incarnate Son

Epiphany centers in the visit of the Magi from the East. In that respect, it is a “thirteenth day” of Christmas, and yet, it also marks the beginning of a new liturgical season. Where Christmas has focused on the incarnation of our Lord, that is, on God becoming flesh, the season of Epiphany emphasizes the manifestation or self-revelation of God in that same flesh of Christ. For the Lord Himself has entered our darkness and rises upon us with the brightness of His true light (Is. 60:1–2). He does so chiefly by His Word of the Gospel, which He causes to be preached within His Church on earth, not only to the Jews but also to the Gentiles (Eph. 3:8–10). As the Magi were guided by the promises of Holy Scripture to find and worship the Christ Child with His mother in the house (Matt. 2:5–11), so does He call disciples from all nations by the preaching of His Word, to find and worship Him within His Church (Is. 60:3–6).

Reflection: The Gospel reading for the 2nd Sunday after Christmas  is St. Luke 2: 40-52 when the 12 year old Jesus with His Mother and Step-father and their family and fellow villagers went to Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover.  The Infancy Narrative in St. Luke is actually all of chapters 1 and 2.  This lesson about the 12 year-old Jesus is the completion of the Narrative.  This lesson is rife with foreshadowing, such as, the next time Jesus was in the Temple and Jerusalem quite publicly would lead to His Crucifixion;  His Parents found Him in three days after being He was lost.  Jesus returned to His Temple.  The centerpiece of the Lesson is He is respectfully teaching the teachers of Israel, the official teachers of the Scriptures.  

The German Reformation era artist Albrecht Durer has an interesting interpretation of the Gospel lesson.   One’s eye is immediately drawn to the center of the painting in which the four hands make a circle, except Jesus’ hand is intersecting the circle.  One of the tenets of the Liberal Protestant  Church is dialogue, the goal of which is not truth according to the Bible and the Confessions,  but changing one’s mind to get it right, that is according to our ideology.  Jesus cuts the Gordian Knot of endless dialogue. Remember the serpent initiated dialogue with Eve with the first question in the Bible, “Did God say…?”  Actually,  the devil does not actually want endless dialogue but enough to get your mind ‘right’ with him and rebel against God’s Word.  His Word alone is trustworthy.  Jesus taught with authority and “… they were astonished at his teaching, for his word possessed authority. “ Luke 4: 31-33 

Luther in a sermon for Epiphany points out that the Magi finally found out where Christ was born because of the Bible and those same teachers in Jerusalem pointing out what is written in Micah.  In our day, the clear star of God’s inerrant Word, His Bible,  is needed more than ever and Luther’s preaching teaches us to trust His Word and not the circle of this and that. What we feel and think is not the authority for faith and salvation but His Word written in the Scriptures.

“…when the devil gets in the act and fabricates for us a false Christ, so that in our thoughts we picture Christ as we would like Him to be…for when a person abandons the Word and gropes about for Christ apart from the Word, he misses Christ and apprehends the devil…this is a key element especially to the devil. as he seeks ways to tear us away from the Word, and then, apart from the word, leads us to think our own thoughts. For then he knows that he has won and we have lost…if (the Magi) are to find the Child, they must follow the Word, which is the right star and beautiful sun pointing to Christ.

“…whoever willfully abandons the Word and follows his own thinking will soon lose Christ, because he regards him not as a gracious, merciful Lord but as a judge and flees from before him as from the devil. For that is the devil’s bailiwick to represent Christ differently to people, terrify them, and by means of sin finally to plunge them into hell.”

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119: 105

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