Cruce Tectum

Cruce tectum, hidden under the cross, a blog for Epiphany Lutheran Church, Dorr, Michigan

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Location: Moscow, Idaho

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Epiphany Eve

The Epiphany of Our Lord
January 5, 2011
Text: Matt. 2:1-12

We’ll never find Jesus unless God Himself leads us. Without the bright beams that our God casts upon us, His blood-bought people, by His Word, we wander aimlessly as blind fools. But now, dear children of God, “Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the LORD has risen upon you” (Is. 60:1; ESV). You were once a people covered in thick darkness (v. 2), the darkness of sin, the darkness of unbelief, the darkness of death. You were born into this darkness, born spiritually blind, dead, an enemy of God. But now the LORD has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, the light of His Son, Jesus Christ, who is in Himself the Light coming into the world, the Light no darkness can overcome (John 1:5). It is grace alone by which we come to believe in this Light. It is by grace alone that the Holy Spirit calls us out of this darkness by the Gospel and enlightens us with His gifts, so that we walk in the Light of Christ. Without this grace, without the Light, without the leading of God, we remain in the darkness. We cannot by our own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ or come to Him. God must do it. And He does.

The wise men, Gentiles, come seeking the One born King of the Jews. But they do not come of their own initiative. They are drawn by the Light. God leads them by the Light. There is, of course, the light of the star, a heavenly anomaly, the celestial sign of this Light. God leads the wise men to Bethlehem, to the house of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, by the light of that star. But more than this, the wise men have the Light of the Word. They study the Scriptures. These wise men, the Magi, as they are called, are possibly, even probably, from the same school of Persian Magi as the Prophet Daniel. They know that a star will indicate the birth of the Messiah, for that scoundrel Balaam’s prophecy was recorded by Moses in the book of Numbers: “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; a star shall come out of Jacob, and a scepter shall rise out of Israel” (Num. 24:17). Thus the question: “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” (Matt. 2:2). The Word of God is a lamp for the wise men’s feet, and a light to their path (Ps. 119:105). The Word leads the wise men to Jesus Christ, their Savior and King, their true Wisdom, their only Light, their eternal and abundant Life. They drop to their knees before the toddler, God Almighty, and offer Him their gifts: Gold, befitting of a King, frankincense, the incense offering to YHWH, confessing that this boy is God, and myrrh, the perfume for anointing Jesus’ body, after He dies for the sin of the whole world. And then they go home, to their own country, bearing with them the Epiphany Light that lightens the Gentiles, trusting in that Light, and speaking of Wisdom incarnate to everyone they meet.

Beloved in the Lord, you have been drawn here tonight by that same Light. Not the light of a star, but the Light of the Word. You have been drawn by the Spirit in His Word to the place where Jesus is. God has led you here. You have come to behold the Christ on this Twelfth Day of Christmas, the Eve of the Epiphany of Our Lord. You have come to behold your Savior and King, your true Wisdom, your only Light, your abundant and eternal Life. You have come to hear Him and to dine with Him. You could not have come by your own reason or strength. He draws you. He enlightens you. He enlivens you. He forgives you all your sins. Beloved, bask in His Light. Follow Him. Let His Word be a lamp to your feet and a light to your path. Flee the works of darkness, the passions of the flesh, the allurements of the world, the seductive speech of the devil. Walk in the Light, for you are children of the Light. Walk in true Wisdom, the Wisdom that is Christ. Bring and offering, and come into His courts with praise. Love and serve your neighbor. Live not for yourself, but for your neighbor. Live in humility, as He humbled Himself for your sake, to become one with you, to live for you, to die for you. Live in the peace and joy of the Gospel, and the sure and certain hope of the resurrection. Bear this Gospel to others as you confess Christ in your daily life. In so doing, you bow the knee before Him and worship along with the wise men. For by grace alone, you are no longer foolish, but wise, for you are filled with the Wisdom of God. There has been a great Epiphany. The Holy Spirit has revealed Christ to you, as your Savior, and given you faith in Him as a free gift. In the Name of the Father, and of the Son (+), and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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