Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Daily Devotional Thought--From the Old Testament (The Epiphany of Our Lord)

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Here is a portion of today's Old Testament reading:

"Before she was in labor she gave birth; before her pain came upon her she delivered a son. Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Shall a land be born in one day? Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment? For as soon as Zion was in labor she brought forth her children. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?" says the LORD; "shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?" says your God. "Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her, all you who love her; rejoice with her in joy, all you who mourn over her; that you may nurse and be satisfied from her consoling breast; that you may drink deeply with delight from her glorious abundance." For thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream; and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip, and bounced upon her knees. As one whom his mother comforts, so I will comfort you; you shall be comforted in Jerusalem. You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice; your bones shall flourish like the grass; and the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants, and he shall show his indignation against his enemies. (Isaiah 66:7-14)

From The Lutheran Study Bible:
The LORD will bring about a new birth of joy and delight. We should not look elsewhere for lasting satisfaction and comfort. Motherly comfort and peace like a river will satisfy and delight all God's people. Just as a child's mother meets his or her needs, so our heavenly Father meets our needs of provision and pardon.

The 12 Days of Christmas have come, and today, are now gone. Today, we celebrate the Epiphany of Our Lord -- the recognition by the World that Jesus Christ is God! On Christmas night, Jesus was announced to shepherds of Jewish descent, and they beheld their savior. But as the wise men finally made their way to worship the King, the Gospel is revealed to be for all people, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, man and woman, for God desires all men to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4).

Later today, as I study the book of Jonah with the good folks over at NuStar, we will see God's resilience in making his mercy known to those who would otherwise perish in their sin. Gentile wise men, pagan Ninevites, or skeptical Texans? The Lord desires His Word of mercy and grace to be heard by all, and for Jesus to be seen by all as the one and only Savior for Sin, in whom alone there is forgiveness, eternal life, and salvation.

This is why the Lord brought forth the child from Mary's womb, the plan announced long before Mary herself was in her own mother's womb. And this is why, still today, wherever the Gospel is proclaimed in its truth and purity, and God's gifts are given in Holy Baptism and Holy Communion, Jesus is revealed as the light of the World, and people loved by God are still having an epiphany of faith.

Thanks be to God! Amen.

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