The Ministry of Light
The Epiphany theme of light is evident in both the Gospel and the Old Testament lesson — “have seen a great light.” Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise of that light. In Christ is the Epiphany (manifestation) of light. Epiphany deals with the revelation of the glory of God in Jesus. God’s glory is seen in the ministry of Jesus — he brings the kingdom to people through his three-fold ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing; a ministry to the whole person: soul, mind, and body. Paul sees the glory of God revealed in the cross — the means of deliverance from the oppression of sin, Satan, and death.
Since the Epistle lesson is given in-course and deals with the problem of internal church division, it does not harmonize with the theme of the other Lessons. The Gospel fulfills the promise of a light coming to the people of Galilee. This fulfillment is in the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Galilee. It is cause for celebration. By His ministry of preaching, teaching, and healing, Jesus brings the light of truth and grace to the world. Psalm 27 harmonizes with the theme of light — “The Lord is my light....” The Prayer asks for us to have a similar ministry of light.
Monday, 20 January 2014—Psalm 22:27-31; antiphon, Psalm 22:22—In the Introit for Sunday, we pray, I will tell of Your name to my brothers, in the midst of the congregation I will praise You. Psalm 22 stands alone by itself. No other psalm pointed beyond itself so fully to the circumstances of Jesus at his crucifixion. John and Matthew will quote from this psalm as they give their accounts of Christ’s passion (see Matthew 27:46; 35, 39, 43 and John 19:23-24, 28). They proclaim the passion of Jesus as the fulfillment of this cry of the righteous sufferer. The author of the book of Hebrews placed the words of verse 22 on Jesus’ lips on Hebrews 2:12. No other psalm is quoted more frequently in the New Testament.
Tuesday, 21 January 2014—Psalm 27:1-9—The words of these choice verses are David’s triumphant confidence in God to deliver him from all those who conspire to bring him down. His prayer presupposes the Lord’s covenant with David. David’s confidence in his Lord introduces the prayer David will pray in verses 7-12. The conclusion of the prayer (verses 13-14) echoes the confidence of verses 1-6 and asks the reader to wait patiently for that which is sure although not yet seen.
Wednesday, 22 January 2014— Isaiah 9:1-4—When Isaiah wrote these words, there was darkness in the land. Assyria conquered Zebulon and Naphtali and carried off the people to bondage. There was the darkness of oppression, homelessness, and forced labor. In today’s world there is also much darkness: loneliness, pain, bereavement, poverty, and addiction to drugs or alcohol. We rejoice that in Christ the light has begun to shine as Jesus begins His ministry. What is the joy of a Christian? It is basically the joy of having Christ. He is the Light of the world. To have Christ is to be free from the power and condemnation of sin and from the consequences of sin — death. Joy is a by-product of Jesus’ preaching the good news of salvation, His teaching the truth of God, and His ministry of healing to our bodies and minds.
Thursday, 23 January 2014—1 Corinthians 1:10-18—Fractions, dissensions, and cliques existed in the Corinthian church because there was a party spirit. A pastor (Apollos, Paul, Peter) was placed above Jesus. It was not Christ’s church but Dr. So-and-So’s church. Unity in a church is based upon the pre-eminence of Christ, not the personality of the pastor. Paul did not make a practice of baptizing people in order to avoid anyone’s claim he belonged to Paul rather than to Christ. Baptism tends to establish a loyalty between the pastor and the candidate.
Often it is heard, “He baptized me,” in the sense of adulating the pastor. The closer people get to Christ, the closer they get to each other in harmony and peace.
Friday, 24 January 2014—Matthew 4:12-25—Matthew sees Jesus beginning His ministry as a fulfillment of the Isaiah promise that deliverance would come to those taken captive by the Assyrians in Zebulon and Naphtali. Fulfillment implies that Jesus was more than a man, a prophet, or a teacher; He was the Son of God, the Messiah. Repentance (verse 17)—For John the Baptist, repentance was a condition for entering the kingdom of God. For Jesus, repentance was accepting the salvation already offered and present. Repentance is not a condition of grace but a response to it. Repentance is acknowledging God’s forgiveness and acceptance; it is a turning to God to accept his grace by faith.
Saturday, 25 January 2014—1 Peter 1:20-23; Hebrews 7:25; John 13:34-35—Sunday’s Hymn of the Day is Son of God, Eternal Savior (LSB #842). This hymn is a prayer asking the Savior to direct us. We pray that He in love and pity would heal our wrongs and help our need. Each of us have burdens cares and struggles. Take these needs to your Savior in prayer. He knows your situation. He is more than able to address your need.
Collects for Epiphany: Lord God, on this day you revealed your Son to the nations by the leading of a star. Lead us now by faith to know your presence in our lives and bring us at last to the full vision of your glory.
Father, You revealed Your Son to the nations by the guidance of a star. Lead us to Your glory in heaven by the light of faith. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever.
Father, You make known the salvation of humankind at the birth of Your Son. Make us strong in faith and bring us to the glory You promise. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives, and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever.
Collects for Epiphany 3: Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our 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.
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.
Collect for Psalm 27: Gracious Father, protector of those who hope in You: You heard the cry of Your Son and kept Him safe in Your shelter in the day of evil. Grant that Your servants who seek Your face in times of trouble may see Your goodness in the land of the living, through Your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 Concordia Publishing House
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series A by John Brokhoff © 1980 CSS Publishing
For All the Saints A Prayer Book for and By the Church Vol. II © 1995 by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau,
Artwork by Ed Riojas © Higher Things