THIRD SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY

27 January 2019

 

Nehemiah 8:1–3, 5–6, 8–10

1 Corinthians 12:12–31a

Luke 4:16–30

 

The Lord Is Manifested as Our Savior through the Preaching of the Gospel

 

When Jesus opens His mouth to preach, gracious words flow from His lips. The Scriptures are, indeed, fulfilled in your hearing (Luke 4:21–22). For Christ was anointed by the Spirit of the Lord “to proclaim good news to the poor,” “to proclaim liberty to the captives” and “to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18–19). By this proclamation, Christ releases His people from captivity and gathers them to Himself in His Church. So it was when the Lord released His people from Babylon and returned them to Jerusalem. “Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people,” sanctified the whole congregation by the reading and preaching of the Law (Neh. 8:8–9). As the people then were urged to “eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready” (Neh. 8:10), so are you anointed by the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ to share in His feast and to serve the fellow members of His Body with His good gifts, “giving greater honor to the part that lacked it” (1 Cor. 12:12, 24).

SECOND SUNDAY AFTER THE EPIPHANY

20 January 2019

 

Isaiah 62:1–5

1 Corinthians 12:1–11

John 2:1–11

 

The Divine Glory Is Manifested in the Signs of Christ

 

When Jesus turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana, it was “the first of his signs,” by which He “manifested his glory” (John 2:11). It pointed to His coming “hour,” when He was lifted up on the cross for the forgiveness of sins and the life of the world (John 2:4; 12:23–32). The glory of the cross is incomprehensible apart from the Word and Spirit of God, but disciples of Jesus recognize that glory in the signs of His Gospel, and so they believe in Him. Jesus does not wait for His disciples to discover Him on their own, but He seeks out the forsaken and the desolate and unites them to Himself. He adorns them with His own beautiful righteousness and delights in them “as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride” (Is. 62:4–5). Purified by the washing of water with His Word in Holy Baptism, His disciples confess that “Jesus is Lord,” and they return thanks to Him “in the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3) as they drink the good wine that He pours out for them, which is the new testament in His blood.

THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD (First Sunday after the Epiphany)

13 January 2019

 

Isaiah 43:1–7

Romans 6:1–11

Luke 3:15–22

 

The Triune God Opens Heaven to You in Holy Baptism

 

The Baptism of our Lord is an “Epiphany” of the one true God in the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ. In divine mercy, He takes His place with sinners and takes their sin upon Himself. “When all the people were baptized,” Jesus submitted Himself to a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins (Luke 3:21). He had no sins of His own, but He took the sins of the world upon Himself and so was baptized into His own death. Therefore, “when you pass through the waters,” He is with you (Is. 43:2). He created you for His glory, and He has redeemed you with His blood, that you may be His own and live with Him in His Kingdom (Is. 43:1, 7). As you are baptized with a baptism like His, so also are you united with Him in His death and resurrection that you “might walk in newness of life” (Rom. 6:4). For all who are baptized into Christ Jesus receive His anointing of the Holy Spirit and are named by His Father as beloved and well-pleasing sons and daughters.

 

THE EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD

6 January 2019

 

Isaiah 60:1–6

Ephesians 3:1–12

Matthew 2:1–12

 

The Lord God Is Manifested in the Incarnate Son

 

The Feast of the Epiphany centers in the visit of the Magi from the East. In that respect, it is a “Thirteenth Day” of Christmas; yet, it also marks the beginning of a new liturgical season. While 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. 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 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). With gold, they confess His royalty; with incense, His deity; and with myrrh, His priestly sacrifice (Matt. 2:11).