The theme for the third Sunday after the Epiphany is the concept of time. The word time is mentioned in each of the lessons. It was time for Jesus to begin His ministry and to call disciples, time for Jonah to preach to the people and time for them to repent; and it was time for Christians to live in the light of the end of time. As we seize the time to serve God in this generation we have security in the knowledge of God’s nature. The Hymn for the day has its focus on Christ our true and only light.
Collect for Epiphany 3— Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon of infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen
Prayers for the Epiphany Season – Almighty God, you sent your Son to proclaim your kingdom and to teach with authority. Anoint us with the power of your Spirit, that we, too, may bring good news to the afflicted, bind upon the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives.
O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
Most merciful God, You gave Your eternal Word to become incarnate of the pure Virgin. Grant Your people grace to put away fleshly lusts that they may be ready for Your visitation; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
The Gospel is a good report, discourse and proclamation of Christ, announcing that He is nothing else but pure goodness, love and grace. Such a report could not possibly be made concerning any other human being, or any of the saints. For, although the other saints were men of quite good repute, a report on them does not constitute the Gospel as such. It is Gospel only when the goodness and grace of Christ are proclaimed. Even though mention is made of famous saints and their doings, this does not make the report the Gospel. The Gospel bases Christian faith and confidence solely on the rock, Jesus Christ. (Martin Luther)
Monday, January 16, 2012—Psalm113:1-2, 4, 7-8- The Antiphon, is taken from Psalm 113:3 “From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised!” These words are taken from a hymn to the Lord celebrating His high majesty and his mercies to the lowly. It was probably composed originally for the temple liturgy. As the Lord is enthroned on high, He is exalted over all creation.
Tuesday, January 17. 2012—Psalm 62—The key verse of this psalm is verse 8, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”
The Psalmist commits himself to Good when threatened by the assaults of conspirators who wish to dethrone him. Verse three suggests a time of weakness and may indicate advanced age. Implicitly the psalm is an appeal to God to uphold him. No psalm surpasses it in its expression of simple trust in God. The little Hebrew word אַךְ (’ak) begins six of the twelve verses; it is short, but significant, having the meaning “only.” “My soul finds rest only in God.” “He only is my rock and my salvation.” “Find rest, O my soul, only in God.”
Wednesday, January 18, 2012- Jonah 3:1-5, 10—Jonah obeys God’s command to preach to Nineveh; the people and God repent. Jonah refuses to obey God’s command to preach to Nineveh, the capital city of the Assyrians. After Jonah repents and is vomited out of a large fish Jonah obeys and preaches judgment to Nineveh. The coming disaster causes the government and people to repent. Thereupon God decides not to condemn the city. Jonah reflects the nationalistic concept of God. The Lord is not the God only Israel but of any would repent and trust the Lord. Judgment motivates repentance and God’s mercy is extended to any people who repent, regardless of nationality or race. God’s salvation depends on repentance and not on national origin.
Thursday, January 19, 2012—1 Corinthians 7:29-31—Live in the light of Christ’s imminent return. This reading comes from the chapter dealing with marriage. The Lesson begins with life lives in relation to the end of the world and Christ’s return. Paul teaches that the status quo in one’s life should be maintained, for soon the whole song will be over. A Christian is not to get involved with the world or to change his vocation. He is to continue doing what he has been doing, for the end of life on earth is near. Today’s life is to be viewed in relation to eternity. When this is done, the present issues of earthly life become insignificant. Paul is not teaching withdrawal from the world [such as the Amish community] but to tolerating and persevering in what we are now doing.
In verses 29-31 Paul uses the phrase “as though” five times. He urges us to live as though conditions did not exist. It is a kind of “make believe” style of life. Since the end of the world is at hand, we are to live as though the world no longer existed. It is a manner of living that does not take seriously the things of this passing world. Our interests and values are set upon Christ’s values.
Friday, January 20, 2012—Mark 1:14-20— Jesus begins his ministry and calls four disciples. Jesus has been ordained in his ministry at his baptism. He struggles with Satan in deciding upon the method of his ministry. With John the Baptist arrested, He feels the urge to begin His public ministry. He begins to preach in Galilee.
The content of his preaching is the gospel of God, the good news that the King is here. In the light of this, people are believing and repenting. Faith and repentance are not necessarily conditions of bringing or entering the Kingdom, but the response to the fact that the Kingdom is here in Jesus. Then, Jesus begins to choose his leaders by calling four men whose future will be catching men.
Jesus immediately called certain ones to be disciples. He knew whom he wanted and needed. He did not have to weigh the matter. There was no problem of making up his mind. In like manner the Disciples accepted the call. To be a Christian one does not need neither to weight doctrinal matters nor to consider theological alternatives. There is the certainty of responding to the challenge of the call to follow the Master. There is no hesitation, no need to think it over. In an instant one knows it is the right thing to do.
Philip Melanchthon one of the co-writers of our Lutheran Confessions relied on this passage to show the proper Scriptural teaching that repentance always has two parts – contrition and faith.
Saturday, January 21, 2012—Luke 1:79- The hymn of the day is, “O Christ, Our True and Only Light.” (LSB 839) Those who are lost, separated from God are found only in Jesus Christ. In the season of Epiphany we see more clearly who Jesus really is. By His words and actions we come to the conclusion that He can only be God made flesh. See also Isaiah 9:1-2 and Malachi 4:2.
LUTHERAN SEVICE BOOK © 2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis, MO
LECTIONALRY PREACHING WORKBOOK SERIES B © 1981 John Brokhoff CSS Publishing Lima, OH
Luther’s Works: American Edit Edition. 55 volumes. (Volumes 1-30, Concordia Publishing House; volumes 31 31-55, Fortress Press)
Schnorr von Carolsfeld, woodcuts Zachariah names John, Jesus feeds the 5,000 © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.