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The Epiphany of Our Lord

January 6, 2019 Speaker: Murray Keith Series: Epiphany

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†††In the Name of Jesus†††
Pastor Murray Keith
Text: Matthew 2:1-12
Date: January 6th, 2019; The Epiphany of Our Lord; Series C
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • Today, January 6th, the church celebrates the Epiphany of Our Lord.
  • At Christmas, God appears as man.  At Epiphany, this man appears before the world as God. 
  • The word “epiphany” is from a Greek word meaning “reveal” or “make manifest.” 
  • This is what the season of Epiphany is all about - Jesus Christ is revealed as God in the flesh, the promised Saviour of the world. 
  • It had to be revealed that this helpless child who was humbly laid in a manger is God in the flesh.
  • God used a brightly shining star to reveal this truth to the wise men.  
  • We heard in our Gospel lesson, “And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was.  When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.  And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshipped him.”
  • In our Epistle lesson, St. Paul speaks of how this truth was revealed to him. 
  • St. Paul persecuted those who followed Christ - even putting some to death.  
  • He was an enemy of God and his church until Christ was revealed to him on the road to Damascus.  
  • After the truth had been revealed to Paul, he spent the rest of his life revealing it to others - even when it meant being sent to prison and being killed. 
  • As we continue in the season of Epiphany we will focus on the signs, wonders, and miracles that reveal Jesus as the promised Messiah, proving that he is God. 
  • This revelation starts with Jesus’ Baptism next Sunday, followed by the accounts of his miracles, healings, casting out demons, and finally his Transfiguration – which all show that he truly is God in the flesh.
  • In these miraculous ways, God revealed to the wise men, to St. Paul, and to all who were present for his miracles that Jesus of Nazareth truly is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.
  • And there is something very important to note here.  
  • Common to all of these accounts, and all others like them in the Bible, is the word reveal.   Epiphany. 
  • God’s plan and action of our salvation is something that is revealed to us.  It is something that is made known to us externally. 
  • It’s not something that we can come to know and believe by our own effort.
  • As Luther says in his explanation of the third article of the Apostles’ Creed, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to him.”  
  • Because of our sin, we are in darkness and don’t know God.  
  • We deny him, and ignore him, and make him into the image that we want him to be. 
  • Because of our sin, we are in darkness and we don’t know God’s will for our lives.  
  • We are greedy and selfish. We are filled with anger, and jealousy, and lust.  
  • On our own, because of our sin, we are spiritually blind and we stumble around in the darkness lost and confused. 
  • How blessed we are that God has revealed to us that Christ is the light of the world, and that whoever follows him will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
  • How blessed we are that God has given us the gift of the Gospel, the Good News of salvation, and that by this Gospel the Holy Spirit calls us, enlightens us with his gifts, sanctifies and keeps us in the true faith. 
  • God has made the truth known to us and now we no longer walk in darkness.   
  • Now we know who God is – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Three persons.  One God.
  • Now we know God’s will for our lives.  We have the Ten Commandments which tell us how to live God-pleasing lives.  
  • Lives that are filled with love, contentment, and meaning.  Lives that are devoted to serving others.
  • Now we know of God’s love, grace, and mercy.  Though we deserve his present and eternal punishment - God has spared us by sacrificing his Son on the cross. 
  • Christ took upon himself our death and gives us his life. 
  • This Good News has been revealed to us.  Epiphany.
  • The Holy Spirit works through God’s means of grace to bring us to faith, to bring us to see and trust the Light.   
  • Through our baptism, through hearing the Word, through receiving Christ’s true body and blood - the Holy Spirit lights up the truth for us and brings us out of the darkness of sin and death into the Light of life. 
  • To have God’s salvation revealed to you is a gift.  
  • St. Paul wrote: “To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.”  
  • With St. Paul, we have been given the gift of having the truth revealed to us - and we too have the honour of revealing the unsearchable riches of Christ to the world.
  • God has promised that his bright beams of light will finally, once and for all, overcome all of the darkness in the world.
  • The darkness of sin.  The darkness of injury and illness.  The darkness of sadness and loneliness.  The darkness of death. 
  • My brothers and sisters in Christ, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).  Thanks be to God!  Amen.
The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus unto life everlasting. Amen.

More in Epiphany

March 3, 2019

The Transfiguration of Our Lord

February 24, 2019

Seventh Sunday after the Epiphany

February 17, 2019

Sixth Sunday after the Epiphany