This week we get to celebrate another special Sunday in the church year -- Transfiguration Sunday. We hear about Moses and the Elders sharing a special meal with God on Mt. Sinai, Peter, James and John see Jesus changed before their eyes, and Peter recounts this experience later as the foundation for what he preaches and teaches!
Old Testament Reading: Exodus 24:8–18
Epistle Reading: 2 Peter 1:16–21
Gospel Reading: Matthew 17:1–9
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This week's video is coming out a little late because I was stuck at home for part of the day due to snow. I'm thankful for nice neighbors with tractors who were able to come and plow my drive. I was able to do all the filming and editing here at home, but my internet isn't fast enough to get it uploaded very quickly, hence the delayed release.
Last week we took a little side trip back in time to see another example of Jesus fulfilling all parts of the law. We're back on track with our normally scheduled readings this week. We'll hear God speaking in Isaiah about how his people are to live because they are his people. Paul addresses the wise debaters of his time and reminds us where true wisdom comes from. And Jesus calls his disciples salty lights. Ok, maybe not quite like that, but he gives them their new identity which is meant to draw all people to him.
This week we continue unwrapping our Christmas gift, Jesus Christ, in our readings. We see the second servant song from Isaiah, Paul's greetings to the Church in Corinth and John the Baptist pointing out the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. Oh, and Simon gets a new name too!
In the name of Jesus our Savior, St. Paul’s Lutheran Church welcomes you to ‘Dial-a-Devotion’, this is Vicar Tom Schlund. Our text for today is from Matthew 2:9-11 which reads:
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.
Happy Epiphany! Today is the day in the church that we celebrate Jesus being revealed to the gentile magi who had come to visit him. He had already been revealed to the Israelite shepherds on the nigh of his birth and now the savior of the world was being revealed to the gentiles too.
In our reading today we hear about the first Christmas presents ever given. The magi open their treasure and give Jesus gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These were gifts fit for a king, and that was exactly to whom they were given. Jesus, the king of the entire world.
Did you get any gifts for Christmas? Were they exactly what you had hoped to receive? Maybe you had to take them back to the store to exchange them for a better size or color. Giving and receiving gifts is fun. I enjoy picking out something special for a friend or family member and then watching their excitement when they open it up. As much fun as it is to give and receive gifts, eventually the gifts that we give wear out or are used up. We throw them away, lose them, or give them to someone else. Mary and Joseph surely used up the gold, frankincense and myrrh that they were given.
The good news is that there was a different, a perfect gift that was also given at that first Christmas and revealed to the magi at Epiphany; the gift of Jesus Christ, true God and true man, come to save us from sin, death and the power of the devil. It is a gift that we will continue to unwrap throughout this season of Epiphany, which lasts until Ash Wednesday on March 6th.
Through your baptism God delivered this gift of salvation directly to you. This is an unshakable promise that you can always hold on to no matter what happens in your life. Whether you are hurt by the sinful actions of yourself and others or if sickness and age have weakened your body, you can be assured that you have the forgiveness of your sins and the promise of everlasting life. This is a gift that won’t wear out, break, or be stolen!
Let us pray:
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving us the gift of your Son Jesus. Help us to always remember that we received this gift through our baptism and that we can be sure of the hope that we have in him. We ask this all in Jesus name, Amen
My name is Tom. I'm fascinated by the ways that people, ideas, current events and theology interact with each other.