Friday, January 18, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 79


The Boy Jesus in the Temple 
Luke 2 
(Selective Verses)



41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents[g] saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?”[h] 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature[i] and in favor with God and man.

Footnotes:
Luke 2:48 Greek they
Luke 2:49 Or about my Father's business
Luke 2:52 Or years

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 78



The Flight into Egypt 
Matthew 2 
(Selective Verses)



13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

Herod Kills the Children

16 Then Herod, when he saw that he had been tricked by the wise men, became furious, and he sent and killed all the male children in Bethlehem and in all that region who were two years old or under, according to the time that he had ascertained from the wise men. 17 Then was fulfilled what was spoken by the prophet Jeremiah:

18 “A voice was heard in Ramah,
    weeping and loud lamentation,
Rachel weeping for her children;
    she refused to be comforted, because they are no more.”

The Return to Nazareth
19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child's life are dead.” 21 And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. 23 And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, so that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, that he would be called a Nazarene.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 77


The Wise Men 
Matthew 2 
Selective Verses


2 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose[b] and have come to worship him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; 4 and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. 5 They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

6 “‘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.’”

7 Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. 8 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.” 9 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. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 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. 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Footnotes:
Matthew 2:1 Greek magi; also verses 7, 16
Matthew 2:2 Or in the east; also verse 9

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

Monday, January 14, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 76


Jesus Presented in the Temple 
Luke 2 
Selective Verses



21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.

22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,

29 “Lord, now you are letting your servant[e] depart in peace,
    according to your word;
30 for my eyes have seen your salvation
31     that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and for glory to your people Israel.”

33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”

36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four.[f] She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.


Footnotes:
Luke 2:29 Or bondservant
Luke 2:37 Or as a widow for eighty-four years

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Luther's Seal Copyright © Higher Things 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Epiphany 2 Series C


Series C
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

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. Amen

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” (Isaiah 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 Corinthians 12:3), as they drink the good wine that He pours out for them, which is the new testament in His blood.

---------

John 2:1 
Καὶ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ τρίτῃ γάμος ἐγένετο ἐν Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας, καὶ ἦν ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐκεῖ• 
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.

The third day...a climatic event...six days after the baptism...a wedding came to pass... Mary referred to as "the  mother of Jesus," again referred to as the same at the cross, 

See John 21:2  "Nathaniel from Cana in Galilee." 

Could this be the wedding of Nathaniel and Jesus' sister? 

John 2:2  
ἐκλήθη δὲ καὶ ὁ Ἰησοῦς καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν γάμον
Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.

They were called/invited, even Jesus, to the wedding. Jesus is invited Mary and the disciples were there.

John 2:3  
καὶ ὑστερήσαντος οἴνου λέγει ἡ μήτηρ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ πρὸς αὐτόν• Οἶνον οὐκ ἔχουσιν.
When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”

With no wine the feast is over. To leave early or run out was an embarrassment.  See the genitive absolute.  Mary's concern, "bring your salvation now!" Restore your people..." See Amos 9:13, Isaiah 25 

John 2:4
καὶ λέγει αὐτῇ ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Τί ἐμοὶ καὶ σοί, γύναι; οὔπω ἥκει ἡ ὥρα μου.   
And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

What’s it to me and to you woman my hour is not yet come. 

"Is my concern also that of yours woman...my hour is not come." Our concerns are different here...

Difference between cross and glory. Yet Mary’s word to Jesus, "go and be the savior

"We will serve no wine until it's time"

John 2:5
λέγει ἡ μήτηρ αὐτοῦ τοῖς διακόνοις• Ὅ τι ἂν λέγῃ ὑμῖν ποιήσατε.
 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

His mother said to the sevenths whatever he might say to you do. 

Were the servants the disciples? The text does not specify. 

John 2:6
ἦσαν δὲ ἐκεῖ λίθιναι ὑδρίαι ἓξ κατὰ τὸν καθαρισμὸν τῶν Ἰουδαίων κείμεναι, χωροῦσαι ἀνὰ μετρητὰς δύο ἢ τρεῖς.
Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.

There were six stone jars containing x 9 gallons two or three. 

Six is the number of man, and water into wine is a miracle of transformation.

As six is the number of man and the Son of Man is in their midst – the God-man was among them. Water and wine were in the same vessel! Humanity was carrying deity and this first miracle would prove it.

Six is also the number of days measuring when man was created. Adam was created on the sixth day. There are 6 days before the Sabbath and 6 days = 6000 years of biblical genealogy from Adam till now. Soon, at the end of the 6th day, God will transform us and we shall be changed from the natural to the divine – in His image. Mortal shall put on immortality. 

Greek two or three measures μετρητὰς (metrētas); a metrētēs was about 10 gallons or 35 liters

Set these apart. The verb used  is "to draw from a well."  The old law is set aside...in the new age we shall drink wine. The new wine of Christ offers salvation, life, a new covenant in my blood, new water, new wine. 

120 gallons was needed for immersion washings. 

John 2:7
λέγει αὐτοῖς ὁ Ἰησοῦς• Γεμίσατε τὰς ὑδρίας ὕδατος• καὶ ἐγέμισαν αὐτὰς ἕως ἄνω
Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.

The Jesus said, “fill the water pots with water and they filled them to the top/brim.”

No longer do you wash with it now you drink it. Nothing but Christ and what Christ does wins for you salvation. 

The laws regulations pointed to Christ and only found significance in Christ.  

John 2:8 
καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς• Ἀντλήσατε νῦν καὶ φέρετε τῷ ἀρχιτρικλίνῳ• οἱ δὲ ἤνεγκαν.
And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it. 

He said to them, draw some and they bore it to the wedding planner/wine steward. 

John 2:9 
ὡς δὲ ἐγεύσατο ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος τὸ ὕδωρ οἶνον γεγενημένον, καὶ οὐκ ᾔδει πόθεν ἐστίν, οἱ δὲ διάκονοι ᾔδεισαν οἱ ἠντληκότες τὸ ὕδωρ, φωνεῖ τὸν νυμφίον ὁ ἀρχιτρίκλινος 
When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 

Now when the wedding planner had tasted the wine didn't know from where it is.  He did not know from where it was. But the servants, they knew, the ones who had drawn it out. 

John 2:10 
καὶ λέγει αὐτῷ• Πᾶς ἄνθρωπος πρῶτον τὸν καλὸν οἶνον τίθησιν, καὶ ὅταν μεθυσθῶσιν τὸν ἐλάσσω• σὺ τετήρηκας τὸν καλὸν οἶνον ἕως ἄρτι.
 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”

The better wine. Every man presents the better wine first...you have reserved/kept the better wine until now. The new covenant, testament is better than the old. Can't put it into old skins. 

John 2:11
ταύτην ἐποίησεν ἀρχὴν τῶν σημείων ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐν Κανὰ τῆς Γαλιλαίας καὶ ἐφανέρωσεν τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐπίστευσαν εἰς αὐτὸν οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ.

This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

The whole point of the miracle – that His disciples believe in Him. 

ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts, ‘The Wedding at Cana’ © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use

LCMS Lectionary Summary © 2016

Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis


Time in the Word - Epiphany 2

Time in the Word
 January 14-19, 2019
Preparation for Epiphany 2



Collect for the Baptism of our Lord – Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

Collect for the likeness of Christ—O God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son; You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness born for our sake that after His example we may bear with patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. 

A prayer for steadfast faith–Almighty God, our heavenly Father, of Your tender love towards us sinners You have given us Your Son that, believing in Him, we might have everlasting life. Continue to grant us Your Holy Spirit that we may remain steadfast in this faith to the end and come to life everlasting. .

A prayer for newness of life in Christ–Almighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of life, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal.

Next Week’s Morning Prayer Schedule
Read the following and discuss with your student
Monday 14 Jan-Jesus Presented in the Temple-Luke 2- Selective verses
Tuesday 15 Jan. –The Wise Men –Matthew 2- Selective verses
Wednesday 16 Jan. Chapel Day
Thursday 17 Jan. Jesus’ flight into Egypt-Matthew 2- Selective verses
Friday 18 Jan. Jesus in the Temple-Luke 2- Selective verses
From Luther’s Catechism Baptism Pt. IV; What is Office of the Keys?


The Theme for Epiphany 2, “God’s Glory Manifested In Transforming Power,” can be seen in all three lessons for the week. In the Old Testament lesson God marries His people. God will transform Jerusalem from desolation to delight. In the Epistle lesson The Sprit transforms from “Jesus be cursed” to “Jesus is Lord!” Here the gifts of the Spirit will be outlined for us. In the Gospel lesson, the wedding at Cana, Christ transforms water into wine. Here He manifests His glory and His disciples put their faith in Him.

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, 14 January 2019Psalm 36:5:9, Antiphon, Song of Solomon 2:4—The Lord brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love. See also Numbers 2:2 and Psalm 20:5 – The king’s love for his bride is displayed for all to see like a large military banner. So is the Father’s love for you. Great is His faithfulness.

Tuesday, 15 January 2019Psalm 128; key verse, verse 5—May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem.  The blessedness of the godly man is the theme for this week’s psalm. It is another word for wisdom concerning hearth and home. The key verse is thought to be a Levitical or priestly benediction or a word of instruction to those assembled from their homes coming to worship at Jerusalem,

Wednesday, 16 January 2019Isaiah 62:1-5–Isaiah uses the analogy of marriage to express the relationship of Judah to God. He marries His people, His land. It is not the first marriage for God. Like Hosea, He takes His people back again and again. He remarries His people to Himself. What does this say about God’s attitude toward His people? God loves His people “The Lord delights in you” (verse 4). God make His people new – they take, like a bride takes her husband’s name, His name: “You shall be called My delight is in her” (verse 4).  God rejoices over His people, “So shall your God rejoice over you” (verse 5).  God and His land make a happy couple.

Thursday, 17 January 20191 Corinthians 12:1-11–Can we be different and yet one? The church has always been threatened with divisions. It happened in the 1st Century; it happens today in the 21st Century. To have peace and unity, must all church members agree and be alike? According to the text, the church is unique in that she can have unity with diversity. This unity is the same Spirit in all, but there is a variety of gifts from the one Spirit. As long as there is one good, sweet spirit in a congregation, it is a blessing for the church to have a diversity of gifts.

Friday, 18 January 2019John 2:1-1–The custom is to prepare an invitation list for a wedding. The invitation signifies you are important to the one inviting you. It indicates further that you are wanted. The unknown couple in the Gospel put Jesus on their invitation list. And they could be glad they did!  Jesus honors them with His presence. He met their needs of wine. He saved the reception from failure. Have you invited Jesus to come into your marriage, your work, your life?

For many, life is empty. Our lives may be as empty as the stone jars. When we come to Jesus, as Mary did, for help, Jesus not only fills us up to the brim, but gives us an excess. The six stone jars provided 120 – 180 gallons of wine!  Note, too, the generosity of Jesus in feeding the 5,000 – twelve baskets were left over. Jesus is able not only to meet our needs, but to exceed them.  

Just like the Nike commercial, Mary told the servants to do whatever Jesus told them to do. “Just do it!” She had learned to respect His words. If the servants had not obeyed, there would have been no wine out of water. A miracle will take place in our lives when we “do whatever He tells us.  To obey is a test of faith when the command seems illogical and ridiculous. The need was wine and Jesus commands getting water! He has other seemingly illogical demands: “Give and it shall be given you,” “He who loses his life shall find it.”

Saturday, 19January 2019Matthew 2:1-12; Ephesians 1:9; John 18:26-27; John 1:29 - Sunday’s hymn of the day is The Star Proclaims the King Is Here (399 LSB). This is yet another wonderful Epiphany hymn. Despite outward conditions, nothing will change concerning God’s dealings with His people. As the Wise Men were directed to find the infant Lord Jesus, so to this day the Lord will make His presence known to you as He comes through His means of grace. This is how He chooses to communicate to you – in tangible ways. Not in myth, not in the spectacular or the supernatural but through simple means. Wise men still seek Him. Look for Him in those places He has promised He will be found.

Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Epiphany 1 - The Baptism of our Lord


BAPTISM OF OUR LORD - Series C"
(First Sunday after the Epiphany)  
13 January, 2019
Luke 3:15–22
In Baptism we receive the whole Christ


Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized into His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever

At His baptism Jesus received the Spirit and heard God declare that He was God’s Son. It was an experience in which Jesus heard the voice of His Father. For us, our own baptism too is an experience in which we communicate with God. Baptism is more than an objective affair. In baptism we are given the Spirit which enables us to will and to do the Father’s good pleasure.

Our society seems almost at times obsessed demanding to have only natural products (examples). When it comes to our Savior He gives us that one thing needful. He gives us Himself.

1. John becomes the Forerunner of Christ.

A. John’s ministry had people asking whether he might be the Christ. The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ (v.15)

1. They were in expectation.

2. John’s preaching had accomplished its purpose. “What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized. “Teacher,” they asked, “what should we do?” “Don’t collect any more than you are required to,” he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely—be content with your pay.” (Vv.7-14)

B. John’s response to their question “Not me”

1. One mightier than he is coming. In comparison to Jesus, John is not worthy. John answered them all; “I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come. The thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. (v.16)

2. His work will be greater than John’s

a. He will baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. (v.16c)

b. He will bring in the harvest and separate the wheat from the chaff. The harvest will be in His hands.

2. Jesus is the one who is to come – the Christ.

A. Jesus’ baptism is a public proclamation of His ministry.

1. Jesus becomes the central figure. He must remain the central focus in all we do. In this New Year may Christ be the center of everything we do. May our focus be on Him. 

2. The witness of the Spirit is shown in His descent as a dove.

3. The blessing of the Father is on His “beloved Son”. “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations.” (Isaiah 42:1)  The baptism of Jesus was his official initiation into the messianic office. With the descent of the Spirit comes His anointing for the work He will do. 

B. Jesus’ work begins for us as the beloved Son.

1. He is the real deal. 

2. This, His first act of His ministry Jesus publicly receives His commission – to enter our world and be our Redeemer. 

3. He must be the center of our lives as our Redeemer. His baptism proves this. As He entered the waters He entered into your world. He took to Himself your flesh which means He took all of your hurts, your sorrow, your concerns as His own. Walking into those muddy waters of the Jordan Jesus carried them all.  

In the final analysis, nothing matters except this One who was baptized in the waters of the Jordan. He was not an imposter or traveling preacher. He was the One to whom all the prophets pointed for He is the Beloved Son of the Father.

Words-800
Passive Sentences-7%
Readability-78%
Reading Level-5.3

Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Friday, January 11, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 71

The Birth of John the Baptist Foretold 
Luke 1 (selective verses)



Birth of John the Baptist Foretold

5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah,[a] of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. 6 And they were both righteous before God, walking blamelessly in all the commandments and statutes of the Lord. 7 But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and both were advanced in years.

8 Now while he was serving as priest before God when his division was on duty, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, he was chosen by lot to enter the temple of the Lord and burn incense. 10 And the whole multitude of the people were praying outside at the hour of incense. 11 And there appeared to him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. 12 And Zechariah was troubled when he saw him, and fear fell upon him. 13 But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, 15 for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb. 16 And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, 17 and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.”

18 And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 19 And the angel answered him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I was sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. 20 And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 21 And the people were waiting for Zechariah, and they were wondering at his delay in the temple. 22 And when he came out, he was unable to speak to them, and they realized that he had seen a vision in the temple. And he kept making signs to them and remained mute. 23 And when his time of service was ended, he went to his home.

24 After these days his wife Elizabeth conceived.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 



Thursday, January 10, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 70


Daniel and the Lion's Den Part 2
Daniel 6
(Selective Verses)


19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God,  enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”

28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 69


Daniel and the Lion's Den Part 1 
Daniel 6 
(Selective Verses)


Daniel and the Lions' Den

6 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; 2 and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.

6 Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement[a] to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.

Footnotes:
Daniel 6:6 Or came thronging; also verses 11, 15

English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Illustration from a woodcut by Baron Julius Schnoor von Carolsfeld, 1794-1872, a distinguished German artist known especially for his book, Das Buch der Bücher in Bilden (The Book of Books in Pictures). © WELS used by permission for personal and congregational use. 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Morning Prayer Reading 68


The Fiery Furnace
Part 2  Daniel 3 
(Selective Verses)



19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. 20 And he ordered some of the mighty men of his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their cloaks, their tunics,[e] their hats, and their other garments, and they were thrown into the burning fiery furnace. 22 Because the king's order was urgent and the furnace overheated, the flame of the fire killed those men who took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell bound into the burning fiery furnace.

24 Then King Nebuchadnezzar was astonished and rose up in haste. He declared to his counselors, “Did we not cast three men bound into the fire?” They answered and said to the king, “True, O king.” 25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. 27 And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king's counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. 28 Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside[f] the king's command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon.

Footnotes:
Daniel 3:21 The meaning of the Aramaic words rendered cloaks and tunics is uncertain; also verse 27
Daniel 3:28 Aramaic and changed
English Standard Version (ESV)

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.

Image: Luther's Seal © Higher Things

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Epiphany 1 - The Baptism of our Lord - Series C


BAPTISM OF OUR LORD - Series "C"
(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

Collect for Epiphany 1Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen

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 (Isaiah 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 (Isaiah 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” (Romans 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.

How many baptisms are there? Luke emphasizes the anointing of the Spirit in connection with baptism. The Holy Spirit comes to us in and through our baptism. In the Gospel lesson “water baptism” and “spirit baptism” are mentioned. In verse 16 John the Baptizer says he baptizes with water but a greater than he will baptize with the Spirit and fire. Water and Spirit baptism are one and the same. The Spirit comes with the Word manifested by the sign of water. 

Baptism is essentially a spiritual matter, a covenant between God and the believer. It is not a mere external matter of applying water to a person. You are a true and complete Christian by virtue of your baptism. This is your birthright, where faith is born. Its purpose and power cannot be taken away from you.

Luke 3:15-22 

Luke 3:15
Προσδοκῶντος δὲ τοῦ λαοῦ καὶ διαλογιζομένων πάντων ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις αὐτῶν περὶ τοῦ Ἰωάννου, μήποτε αὐτὸς εἴη ὁ χριστός,  
As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, 

Luke 3:16
ἀπεκρίνατο λέγων πᾶσιν ὁ Ἰωάννης• Ἐγὼ μὲν ὕδατι βαπτίζω ὑμᾶς• ἔρχεται δὲ ὁ ἰσχυρότερός μου, οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς λῦσαι τὸν ἱμάντα τῶν ὑποδημάτων αὐτοῦ• αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ καὶ πυρί•  
John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. 

Luke 3:17
οὗ τὸ πτύον ἐν τῇ χειρὶ αὐτοῦ διακαθᾶραι τὴν ἅλωνα αὐτοῦ καὶ συναγαγεῖν τὸν σῖτον εἰς τὴν ἀποθήκην αὐτοῦ, τὸ δὲ ἄχυρον κατακαύσει πυρὶ ἀσβέστῳ.
His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”

Luke 3:18 
Πολλὰ μὲν οὖν καὶ ἕτερα παρακαλῶν εὐηγγελίζετο τὸν λαόν• 
So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. 

Luke 3:19
ὁ δὲ Ἡρῴδης ὁ τετραάρχης, ἐλεγχόμενος ὑπ’ αὐτοῦ περὶ Ἡρῳδιάδος τῆς γυναικὸς τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ αὐτοῦ καὶ περὶ πάντων ὧν ἐποίησεν πονηρῶν ὁ Ἡρῴδης
But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother's wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, 

Luke 3:20
προσέθηκεν καὶ τοῦτο ἐπὶ πᾶσιν, καὶ κατέκλεισεν τὸν Ἰωάννην ἐν φυλακῇ
added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.

Luke 3:21
Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν τῷ βαπτισθῆναι ἅπαντα τὸν λαὸν καὶ Ἰησοῦ βαπτισθέντος καὶ προσευχομένου ἀνεῳχθῆναι τὸν οὐρανὸν 
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 

Luke 3:22
καὶ καταβῆναι τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον σωματικῷ εἴδει ὡς περιστερὰν ἐπ’ αὐτόν, καὶ φωνὴν ἐξ οὐρανοῦ γενέσθαι• Σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός, ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα
and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son;[a] with you I am well pleased.”[b]

a. Or my Son, my (or the) Beloved
b. Some manuscripts beloved Son; today I have begotten you

ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
The Greek New Testament: SBL Edition. Copyright © 2010 by Society of Biblical Literature and Logos Bible Software
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
LCMS Lectionary Summary © 2016
Lutheran Service Book © 2008 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis

Time in the Word - Epiphany 1 The Baptism of our Lord


This Week’s Morning Prayer Readings
Read and review the following Bible stories for each day…
Monday, January 7- Fiery Furnace Pt.2 – Daniel 3 - selective verses
Tuesday, January 8 – Daniel in the Lion’s Den Pt.1 – Daniel 6 –selective verses
Wednesday,  January 9– Chapel Day
Thursday, January 10- Daniel in the Lion’s Den Pt.2 –Daniel 6 -selective verses
Friday, December 11- Birth of John Foretold- Luke 1 –selective verses
From the Catechism; “What does Baptism give or profit?”

Time in the Word – Epiphany 1
The Baptism of our Lord
January 7-12, 2019



Collect for 2nd Sunday after Christmas – O God, our Maker and Redeemer, who wonderfully created us and in the incarnation of Your Son yet more wondrously restored our human nature, grant that we may ever be alive in Him who made Himself to be like us; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for the Epiphany or 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, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever.

Collect for Epiphany 1 –Father in heaven, at the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River You proclaimed Him Your beloved Son and anointed Him with the Holy Spirit. Make all who are baptized in His name faithful in their calling as Your children and inheritors with Him of everlasting life; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, now and forever. Amen 

Collect for the likeness of Christ—O God, by the patient suffering of Your only-begotten Son, You have beaten down the pride of the old enemy. Now help us, we humbly pray, rightly to treasure in our hearts all that our Lord has of His goodness born for our sake that after His example we may bear with patience all that is adverse to us; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A prayer for newness of life in ChristAlmighty God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness and put upon ourselves the armor of life, now in the time of this mortal life, in which Your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility, that in the last day, when He shall come again in glory to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal.



The Epiphany season begins each church year with the Baptism of our Lord. At Christmas we celebrate the incarnation; God entering time and space to be our Savior. We see what it will take for Jesus to become the world’s Redeemer as He enters the Jordan river to be baptized by John. Jesus’ work will conclude with his death on the cross on Good Friday. Already He is planning your salvation as He becomes you substitute. He will live the perfect life for you. He will be tempted as you are. He will carry your sin so that in your baptism you may receive His perfection, obedience, and grace.

Anointed with the Spirit is the theme for this coming Sunday. Christmas is officially over for the year and a new season is upon us. Epiphany literally means “I see it!” or “Now I understand!” or “I’ve got it!”  In Epiphany this infant whom we have worshiped at the manger we now see as God’s chosen One. Hence the antiphon for the Introit will be taken from Isaiah’s prophecy—Jesus is the Father’s chosen one, the one in whom He delights. Jesus begins His public ministry at His baptism. Now we see Him as He is. Now we understand what He will do. In the Old Testament lesson God’s Servant is anointed with the Spirit to bring Justice. In the Gospel lesson Jesus is anointed with the Spirit as God’s Son at His Baptism. Paul in the Epistle reminds his readers, that through our own incorporation into Christ we are to be regarded as dead to sin and alive in Christ. The Hymn of the Day recounts Christ’s own baptism and calls for us to live our lives anew to Him who has redeemed us.

Monday, 7 January 2019 Psalm 2:7-11, 12c antiphon, Isa, 42:1a -Behold My servant, whom I uphold, My chosen, in whom My soul delights. When the matador enters the ring, when your favorite teams enters the court, there is a thunder of applause from the adoring crowd. This is the Father’s response not only to His own Son Jesus but also with you. By grace through faith you have been incorporated into God’s family. At the celebration of the baptism of our Lord, we also remember our own baptism. This is your new status as one of Christ’s redeemed

Tuesday, 8 January 2019 Psalm 29 (antiphon; v.3) -Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness. This week’s Psalm is a hymn of praise to the King of creation whose majesty and power are trumpeted by the thunderbolts of the rainstorm – as the storm rose above the Mediterranean swept across the Lebanon range and rolled over the wilds of Kadesh. The key verse is the believer’s response we are to worship the Lord “in the splendor of His holiness.”

Wednesday, 9 January 2019 Isaiah 43:1-7 -God’s servant is anointed with the Spirit to bring justice. This is a servant song about Israel as God’s servant who will be anointed with the Spirit to bring justice and light to the nations. We can see the fulfillment of this prophecy in Jesus, and then the church as God’s servant carrying on the work of Jesus in the world.

Here is a much needed conception of the church as God’s servant. To be this, the church needs to be anointed by the Spirit (verse 1).  As servant, the church will not use force but the compassion of life to attain her goals (verses 2, 3).  She will not be discouraged in her work – in spite of setbacks in a hostile world (verse 4).

Thursday, 10 January 2019 Romans 6:1-11 -Your baptism is a birth certificate; your baptism is a death certificate. In baptism you died to sin and became alive to God. When we come to the Father in repentance and faith, our old Adam, that is, our old sinful nature is drowned and killed while a new man becomes alive in us to live before God in righteousness and purity. Each day is a death to self and a new life to God. The words of John the Baptist are a fitting refrain, “He must increase I must decrease” (John 3:30).

Friday 11, January 2019 Luke 3:15-22 - How many baptisms are there? Luke emphasizes the anointing of the Spirit in connection with baptism. The Holy Spirit comes to us in and through our baptism. In the Gospel lesson “water baptism” and “spirit baptism” are mentioned. In verse 16 John the Baptizer says he baptizes with water but a greater than he will baptize with the Spirit and fire. Water and Spirit baptism are one and the same. The Spirit comes with the Word manifested by the sign of water. Baptism is essentially a spiritual matter, a covenant between God and the believer. It is not a mere external matter of applying water to a person. You are a true and complete Christian by virtue of your baptism. This is your birthright, where faith is born. Its purpose and power cannot be taken away from you. 

Saturday 12, January 2019 Luke 3:21-22 This week’s hymn of the week, “To Jordan came the Christ, our Lord”. Written by Martin Luther tells the story of salvation. The hymn recounts Christ’s own baptism and the new life He offers to us. As you meditate upon this wonderful hymn, resolve to daily walk with Him who has promised to order your days and direct you path.


Sources:
Prayers from Lutheran Service Book © 2006 and Lutheran Worship © 1980 Concordia Publishing House
Schnorr Von Carolsfeld woodcuts © WELS permission granted for personal and congregational use
Lectionary Preaching Workbook Series C – John Brokhoff © 1979 CSS Publishing, Lima, OH





Saturday, January 5, 2019

Epiphany



Epiphany
06 January 2019 –
Matthew 2:1-12
“Before & After”

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;

What is man’s condition before and after Christ? Consider the Magi. Their lives were changed. What has happened to you? Before and after you have considered this baby. Born for us. For those touched by Christ, like the Magi, there is a before and an after.

I.        Before…

A.     Before they came to Bethlehem. “They went their way” (Vs. 9) Why are they called “wise”? They were more than men who studied the stars. History has called them wise because they made a quest for God.

Today men are wise if they seek God in Christ. The foolish ones of this world seek other things — power, prestige, possessions.

B.     Before we are confronted with Christ we too can be tempted to go our own way in life following our own agendas, plans and directions. We find ourselves in a New Year. What would you determine to do this year in 2019? Is Christ a part of your future? Wise Men follow guidance. They saw a result of humble acceptance of guidance; they reached the Christ-child. Moreover, Wise Men then and now worship the King.

Transition: There was life before these Wise Men confronted Christ? – There was life after they met Him.

II.     After

A.     The Magi came to the child Jesus, worshiped, and gave gifts. We can see two kinds of worship. The one is a false worship based upon insincerity. Herod told the Wise Men to seek after the child, “that I too may come and worship him” (v. 8).

Out of fear for his position, Herod wanted to know where the new King was born. Today worship can be a guise for evil intentions. Or at least, we can become so easily distracted. CS Lewis remarks “all enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise.” Yet, what is the object of our praise? 

He continues, “The world rings with praise—lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game—praise of weather, wines, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountains, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars.”[1]  In this New Year, may our focus be upon Christ. As the apostle Paul would remind us, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified.” – 1 Corinthians 2:2

B.     On the other hand, there is true worship practiced by the Wise Men: “They fell down and worshiped Him.” Even these gifts, which they offer says something concerning your Savior. These gifts were meaningful, full of symbolism: Gold because He was a king. With gold they confess His royalty. Frankincense - because He was a priest offering the perfume of prayer. With incense they proclaim His deity.  With myrrh, His priestly sacrifice. Myrrh - because He was a redeemer. Who died to save the world. He alone will go to the bloody cross. There - He will suffer and die for you. In exchange for your sin He offers His perfection. His beauty replaces the ugliness of your sin. His innocence replaces your guiltiness and culpability.

Mark the prophecy – “By His stripes you are healed.” –Isaiah 53:5 “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:23-24

Transition: The Wise Men’s lives were changed from before to after they had met the Christ child. How does this confrontation play out in your life today?

3.     For you today.

A.      When you bow down in worship before Christ, life is never the same again. No, the same challenges, failings and frustrations of the past year might still be yours today. But you have a connection with a Savior who has borne your iniquities and carried your sorrows. You need not strive with Him. His desire is to carry you – and accompany you along this life’s journey. Will you walk with Him this season?  

B.      Christ makes the difference in your life. These men had their lives changed. – They had encountered the Christ. – This is what made them wise. – They were humbled in the presence of Christ. And offered to Him their treasures gifts and praise.

Just what is the difference in your life? At Christmas we receive the gift of God in Jesus. Epiphany is the time for believers to give a return gift to God by presenting gifts to Christ, as the Wise Men did. It is noteworthy that the Wise Men gave their gifts as a part of their worship.

Giving something to God when we worship is a vital part of worship. It is an expression of faith and love. It is an offering of gifts to God in gratitude for the gifts we receive in faith.

Note the price of the gifts the Wise Men offered — nothing cheap: “Opening their treasures they offered Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” (v. 11). What can you offer to the One who has everything? You offer yourself.

On mine heart imprint Your image
Blessed Jesus, King of grace,
That life’s riches, cares, and pleasures
Never may Your work erase;
Let the clear inscription be;
Jesus, crucified for me,
Is my life, my hope’s foundation,
And my glory and salvation.[2]
____________
Words-985
Passive Sentences-2%
Readability –78.5%
Reading Level-4.2


Image “The Visit of the Magi” © WELS by Schnorr von Carolsfeld, Baron Julius, 1794-1872; German painter; trained principally at Vienna and Rome; earlier work shows influence of Duerer; later joined the classicists; became associated with Cornelius, Overbeck, Schadow, and Veit; later work in style of Renaissance; distinguished especially for his "Bible in Pictures," fill of creative power.



[1]  Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms, 94.
[2] On my heart insert Thy image Lutheran Service Book ©2006 Concordia Publishing House, St. Louis