Sunday preview for Epiphany Sunday.
Text study: 7 January 2018 Epiphany CWS-B
Notable nearby dates: 40th anniversary of worshipping as SOTL at 323 E. 1st St
Seasonal Intro: The readings during the Epiphany season carry forward the emphasis in the readings for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, the theme of Jesus revealing himself to us as God and Savior. At the same time the readings present us with a real conundrum. The conundrum is that he hides the manifestations of his deity, so that his glory remains a secret and a mystery, even while he is revealing it. All the riddles are present in the readings for the Feast of the Epiphany. The theme present in all of the Epiphany readings is: He shows his hidden glory to those he calls. You may notice that in many of the Epiphany season readings appropriation is much easier than application. There is a good reason for that: In Christmas and Epiphany our attention is on getting to know Jesus, who he is and how he works; thus there is not so much emphasis on our response beyond the response of faith, which itself is always seen as his work and not ours.
Text: Matthew 2:1-12 – The Visit of the Magi.
Account in context: Ancestry of Jesus recounted; announcement to Joseph named, with a compressed retelling of the events during Mary’s pregnancy. After the visit of the Magi, Joseph gets up & takes his family to Egypt in the middle of the night.
Thematic progression: Major theme of Matthew is that Jesus is the promised Messiah - the Savior whom the Jewish people have been awaiting & looking for. Here is fulfillment of a variety of prophecies, dating back to Balaam and/or Daniel et al: the Savior has been born, and foreigners are coming to worship him.
OT Lesson: Ruth 4:13-17 – The One before whom the Magi kneel is the Savior of all. This is plainly evident from the presence of the Magi, as well as from the prophecy of Scripture; it is also evident based on the literal human ancestry of Christ, that among his ancestors was Ruth, the Moabitess. Jesus is of Jewish ancestry (descended from Abraham), yet his own history attests to his status as Savior for all people.
- Gets into the revelation of Christ in the OT: Prophecy, Tabernacle/Temple Ritual, and History.
Second lesson: Ephesians 3:2-12 – The mystery of God’s grace is this: That in Christ Jesus the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and people who also share in the promise through the gospel. (Verse 6) God desires to make this mystery known to all through the preaching of his Word in these last days; the attendance of the Magi, recorded for us in the Gospel lesson, affirms this truth! Jesus is for you! Did you need further proof? The message of forgiveness through Jesus has come to you today.
God’s eternal purpose is accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. In him and through faith in his work for your salvation – each of us has access to God in all freedom and confidence.
Psalm: 72. Refrain: Let all the people praise you. The Messiah came so that all people (prince & pauper alike) may come to know the true God. The first half speaks about the work of this King (see Bible v. 10-11 The kings of Tarshish and of distant shores will bring tribute to him; the kings of Sheba and Seba will present him gifts. All kings will bow down to him and all nations will serve him. Part of the reason why the Magi are often presented as kings - “we three kings of Orient are” and “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” the matchless King who reigns for all eternity & ‘Crown him, ye kings, with many crowns For he is King of all!’)
The second half speaks about what blessings this King will bring for his people.
Numerous prophecies about kings coming to the brightness of the dawn. (Is 60.3)
Overview of text: What is here for the lifelong Christian, as well as the church-shopper who doesn’t know Job from job?
The windowshopper and lifelong Christian finds joy & comfort in the fact that this Jesus is for me. From minimum-wage shepherd on the night shift to wealthy foreign dignitary – each has a place before this King of kings, the One who came to be Savior of all. What is startling for both is that, even as a child (and even unseen today), this Jesus is deserving of our best. Not just someone to fit into our schedule or set alongside the other miniature gods & idols we’ve got – but the One who is above all, who is the unchangeable First priority, the One who will also have the Last word over our lives, and whom we’ll worship for all eternity – Jesus Christ, descended from Abraham, Ruth, David, and Mary, ruling over all things
Green Pastures with Jesus is the daily podcast from Shepherd of the Lakes Lutheran Church of Fairmont, MN. Here you’ll find a variety of segments to lead you to the green pastures of the Word of God, where our Good Shepherd feeds our faith.
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Intro & Outro courtesy of Koine - The Church Band. Check them out at www.koinemusic.com, or find them on iTunes & Amazon: Search for Koine.