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Matthew

2:1-12

 

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:"'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.'"

 

Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, "Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him." After listening to the king, they went on their way. 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 worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. (ESV)

Jesus' Ignorance

The Epiphany of our Lord

6 January 2013

Merry Christmas! Yes, Christmas has not ended. The Epiphany is the manifestation or revelation of the One who came at Christmas. This is why today is sometimes called the "Gentile's Christmas." He who was the glory of the people of Israel was also a light to enlighten the Gentiles. So the Light which shone in Bethlehem and was reflected by the star in the East called the first of the Gentiles to His mother's humble home in the little Judean town.

 

The Magi came following that light, that they might see the true Light that has come to enlighten everyone. Epiphany takes Christmas and elevates it to the celebration of God's gracious disclosure of our salvation to us and all people. Epiphany rejoices in the fact that He who was born for us desires to disclose Himself to us. Epiphany says that He who was born for all now reveals that He was born for all. Epiphany tells us what the Christmas story is about: not merely that He was born, but that He was born for all. This makes Epiphany the feast of mission for the church. The Savior of the nations came and the nations now are drawn to Him at His Epiphany.

 

Christmas celebrates God's giving of His own precious Son to us. Epiphany celebrates the disclosure of that gift through the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentiles. This makes it our Christmas because the birth of Christ would have been useless if God had not made provision for us to know of it. The proclamation of the condescension of God to us in the person of Christ is what saves. God is willing not only to send His Son, but ever after to give Him to us along with His benefits in the proclamation of the divine Word. Christ has come. He has come for us.

 

Leo the Great

 

"After celebrating recently the day on which immaculate virginity brought forth the Savior of mankind, the venerable feast of the Epiphany, gives us continuance of joy, that in the midst of neighboring and kindred mysteries the force of our exultation and the fervor of our faith might not grow cool. For it concerns the salvation of all, that the infancy of the Mediator between God and men was already manifested to the whole world, while He was still detained in the tiny town. For although He had chosen the nation of Israel, and one family out of that nation, from whom to assume the nature of all mankind, yet He was unwilling that the early days of His birth should be concealed within the narrow limits of His mother's home. He eHHdesired to be soon recognized by all, seeing that He deigned to be born for all.

 

"To three wise men, therefore, appeared a star of new splendor in the region of the East, which, being brighter and fairer than the other stars, might easily attract the eyes and minds of those that looked on it, so that at once it might be observed not to be meaningless because it had such an unusual appearance. He therefore who gave the sign, gave to the beholders understanding of it, and caused inquiry to be made about that, of which He had thus caused understanding, and after inquiry was made, offered Himself to be found." 

 

Leo the Great, Sermon on the Feast of the Nativity

 

Collect for the Epiphany of Our Lord

O God, by the leading of a star You once made known to all nations Your only-begotten Son; now lead us, who know You by faith, to know in heaven the fullness of your divine goodness; through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 

For all those who will attend Epiphany services this day, that they might see Christ in the Word of God

 

For Pastor Victor Atsinger, who is undergoing an angiogram tomorrow, that Christ the Lord would guide and guard the doctors and health professionals who will serve him

 

For Jim Jeffers who will be undergoing surgery, that it would be successful and that he would recover fully

Art: CORREGGIO Nativity Holy Night (1528-30)

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Memorial Lutheran Church | 5800 Westheimer Rd. | Houston | TX | 77057