A few days ago I was half-listening to the reporters on a network news program talk about when the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree would be taken down. One said, “It will be this weekend because Sunday is the Feast of….(long pause)…. ‘taking down the Christmas tree.’” I’m sure she was trying to remember the word “Epiphany.”
Tomorrow is the Feast of the Epiphany, the church festival sometimes called the Gentiles’ Christmas. To the world it doesn’t mean anything. The commercialism and excitement of parties and presents are over, and therefore, so is Christmas in the minds of many. But Epiphany reminds us that the blessings of Christmas are ongoing, really for all time. Epiphany, with its traditional reading of the Magi coming to worship Jesus, impresses upon us that Jesus did not come just for the shepherds or the Jews in general, but is the Savior of all people.
As you go about your day, think about what that means for you. Because Jesus is the Savior of all, you don’t have to wonder whether His grace is for you. Even though you may be unnoticed by people around you, the Lord not only knows every hair on your head and every thought that crosses your mind, He loves you and cherishes you as a member of His kingdom of grace.
Because Jesus is the Savior of all, you don’t have to fall into despair and beat yourself up over failures to keep God’s commands. The words of Scripture apply to you: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Ps. 51:17). John writes: “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 Jn. 1:8-9).
Because Jesus is the Savior of all, you can be sure that an eternal future with the Lord is not just for others, but is your future too. Because Jesus is the Savior of all, you can say with David, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever” (Ps. 23:6).
In tomorrow’s sermon text (Eph. 3:1-12) the apostle Paul reveals the “mystery” of God’s grace toward the world, that in Jesus God unites both Jews and Gentiles, people from every race and corner of the world, as one Holy Christian Church. In a world of people divided and separated from God and from one another, could there be a greater treasure?
Yours in Christ,
The Lord’s Supper will be celebrated at both the 8:00 and 10:45 a.m. service.
Adult Bible class thought-starter: What is your favorite Psalm? Why?