Prayers for the Epiphany Season–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.
Lord God, You showed Your glory and led many to faith by the works of Your Son. As He brought gladness and healing to His people, grant us these same gifts and lead us also to perfect faith in Him.
For blessing on the Word – Lord God, bless Your Word wherever it is proclaimed. Make it a word of power and peace to convert those not yet Your own and to confirm those who have come to saving faith. May Your Word pass from the ear to the heart, from the heart to the lip, and from the lip to the life that, as You have promised, Your Word may achieve the purpose for which You send it; through Jesus Christ, my Lord.
A prayer before we study the Word – Almighty God, our heavenly Father, without Your help our labor is useless, and without Your light our search is in vain. Invigorate the study of Your holy Word that, by due diligence and right discernment, we may establish ourselves and others in Your holy faith.
God and men proceed in contrary ways. People settle first on whatever is best, and afterward they deal with what is worse. God first gives the cross and affliction, then honor and blessedness. He does this is because we seek to preserve the sinful flesh, which urges us to keep the Law by works and offer promises great and sweet. But the result has a stale taste. And although the flesh is intoxicated with great promises, it does not feel its wretchedness. Yet when the wine is digested and the false promises gone, the wretchedness appears. God, however, terrifies the conscience, sets on miserable wine, in fact nothing but water. Then He consoles us with the promises of the Gospel which endure forever. (Martin Luther)
The theme for the second Sunday after the Epiphany is quite clear –the call of God. Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael to discipleship in the Gospel. God calls Samuel to be his prophet in the Old Testament lesson. Through Paul and the church, God calls us to glorify Him in our bodies. When we respond to God’s call, we appreciate His goodness and thus we break forth in praise.
How many today feel that they are carrying out a call of God? Probably, very few. For most, life is a matter of making a living as best they can and getting some enjoyment out of doing it. Under this philosophy, the one thing they look forward to is retirement – no work and all play! Christians are different. Their lives are a fulfillment of God’s call to a specific task.
God the Father calls you to a holy vocation – 1 Samuel 3:1-10
God the Son calls you to discipleship – John 1:43-51
God the Spirit calls you to glorify God – 1 Corinthians 6:12-20
Collect for Epiphany 2— Almighty and everlasting God, who governs all things in heaven and on earth, mercifully hear the prayers of Your people and grant us Your peace through all our days; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
Monday, January 8, 2018—Psalm 40:1-5—The Antiphon, is taken from Psalm 40:10, “I do not hide your righteousness in my heart; I speak of Your faithfulness and salvation. I do not conceal Your love and Your truth from the great assembly.” When speaking of the Lord, we must center our conversation on His faithfulness and salvation, which flows from righteousness. The word Epiphany literally means, I see, I understand, I see the light, I get it! In Epiphany we “get it!” This Jesus whom we have worshipped at Christmas truly is the Son of God. By grace, through faith, by the Spirit’s aid we are brought to a right understanding of spiritual things; finally we “get it!”
Tuesday, January 9. 2018—Psalm 139:1-10—The key verse of this psalm is verse 14, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” The Psalmist is saying literally, “Lord you know me as one who formed me yet I cannot begin to comprehend this creature you have fashioned. I can only look upon him with awe and wonder.” Miracles happen all around us. Some might wonder if the Lord will support them in the New Year. The antiphon affirms He will. He acts in our lives so we can see that the plan He has for us and the path he has determined for us will be the best for us. Fare-thee-well child of God; His sure hand shall guide you.
Wednesday, January 10, 2018—1 Samuel 3:1-10—The child Samuel hears God’s call to be a prophet. In the temple at Shiloh, the boy Samuel is serving the priest Eli. He sleeps near the Ark of the Covenant, a symbol of God’s presence. One night Samuel is called. Twice he mistakes the voice of God for Eli’s. Then Eli instructs the boy to say, “Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.” Samuel obeys and God speaks to him of future happenings in Israel.
Thursday, January 11, 2018—1 Corinthians 6:12-20—The human body is to glorify God. People in the Corinthian church were sexually immoral for religious reasons. They accepted the truth that Christ’s death on the cross fulfilled the law for them. Since they were saved by grace alone, they felt free to do what they pleased. Some of them participated in sexual perversion. Paul counters this thinking by giving a theology of the body. These words of Paul give us a divine perspective. We are not free to do as we please. The grace of God is not a license to sin.
Friday, January 12, 2018—John 1:43-51—Jesus calls Philip and Nathanael. When Jesus is in the area of John the Baptist, He calls Andrew and Peter as disciples. Then He goes to Galilee and calls Philip of Bethsaida. Philip asks Nathanael to come and see one, who he claims, is the Messiah.
At first Nathanael is skeptical and asks if anything good can come from an insignificant village of Nazareth. When Jesus tells Nathanael that he saw him under a fig tree at the time when Philip invited him, Nathanael changes his mind and calls Jesus the Son of God and King. Jesus did not want him to base his opinion on a miracle and promises that Nathanael will see greater things in the future.
Notice the word of Jesus’ call to Philip denotes a relationship between Christ and the Christian. To follow Jesus means we acknowledge and accept Him as shepherd, leader, and master. It is not an association of peers. There is no democratic relationship of equality. The word also indicates our position in the relationship. To follow Him does not mean we walk with Him (beside Him), nor before Him, but behind Him. He is first and we are second; He is leader and we are followers; He is master and we are servants.
Saturday, January 13, 2018—Matthew 16:24—The hymn of the day is, “Come Follow Me, the Savior Spake” (LSB 688). Nathanael is asked to follow as the Savior has directed him. Some decisions we make are life altering. Where do we go for direction in life? We seek the Lord. As He has promised to guide us, we too must follow. It would do us little good if we decide to head in the opposite direction from whence we should go. This much loved hymn speaks of the Lord guiding His own.
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 © WELS Permission to use these copyrighted items is limited to personal and congregational use.