Home > Epiphany, Piles in my office > Those Far Off–Epiphany 2016 (morning)

Those Far Off–Epiphany 2016 (morning)


The Epiphany of our Lord (9:15 am—schoolkids’ service)

St. Peter Lutheran Church

St. Matthew 2:1-12

January 6, 2015

“Those Far Off”

Iesu Iuva

 

–Today is the Epiphany of our Lord.

“Epiphany” means “the revealing of God.”

 

–It’s called that because God guided the wise men from far away to see Jesus in Bethlehem and worship Him. When they saw Jesus, they saw God, because Jesus is God become one of us, a human being.

 

–This summer in Vacation Bible School a little girl asked, “Where is God?”

I said, “God is everywhere.”

She said, “Why can’t we see Him then?”

A good question. What’s the answer?

One answer is—God is invisible. He is spirit. You can’t see Him with your eyes.

But another answer is that we don’t recognize God because we are born in sin, and sin

blinds us to God.

 

But now God shows Himself. He shows Himself in Jesus, the baby in Bethlehem.

 

–And the story of Epiphany is that God brings those who are far away from Him to see Him and be saved by believing in Jesus.

 

–How do we know God and come near to Him? We listen to His Word. We go to church, hear His Word, and believe in what the Word says—that God came to save us by becoming a human.

 

–But lots of people are not near to God. They don’t go to Church, don’t hear His Word.

 

–The wise men were like that. They were very smart and wise. They knew all kinds of things about the stars and the planets. But in their country they didn’t have God’s Word.

 

–But somehow they heard about the King of the Jews, the promised Savior. And then they saw a miraculous star that told them the King of the Jews had been born.

 

–So they followed that star. They packed up their camels with treasure and rode across the desert from the East for months to see the newborn King of the Jews and worship Him.

 

–Why did God lead them? Because the King of the Jews was for all people. He is God in the flesh who has come to save all people to the ends of the earth from the curse of sin.

 

–He saved us by being born without sin for us, by keeping God’s commandments for us, and then by receiving the punishment for our sins and dying under God’s judgment on the cross.

 

–Sometimes people in church take Jesus for granted. We forget that Jesus came to save all people, even those who seem the farthest away.

Sometimes people in Church don’t pay attention to God’s Word that tells them about this great

treasure from God, Jesus.

 

That’s why the people in Jerusalem and Herod were disturbed when the wise men came and said the king of the Jews had been born.

 

They weren’t ready for their king to come. They had other things on their minds, other things that were more important to them, that they loved more. They didn’t take God’s promise of the king and Savior as their highest joy and treasure.

 

That’s sometimes how we in the Church are. We take for granted the good news about Jesus that’s preached to us and have our hearts set on earthly things.

 

–But God wants all people to be saved through Jesus. He leads all people to His Son.

 

Those who are far away, who don’t have God’s Word or refuse to listen to it—who worship other gods. God calls them from far away to see Him come near to us in the baby at Bethlehem.

 

Also those in Church who don’t pay attention to His Word like they should and who don’t value it above all other treasures. God calls them too to see the great treasure of His Son. That means, He calls us to draw near and receive His forgiveness and salvation.

 

–Jesus is our great treasure.

 

He takes away our sins.

 

He gives us eternal life.

 

He makes us kings who reign with Him.

 

–The wise men gave Jesus kingly gifts—gold, frankincense, myrrh.

 

Jesus, the little baby in Bethlehem, is worth more than all treasures on earth. All earthly possessions that are dear to us, even the people we love most, even our own lives—are God’s gifts. But Jesus is God Himself, born a human being for us. He is the treasure that does not fade. In Him we receive God’s gift that endures forever and gives eternal life.

 

–The wise men bowed down and worshipped Jesus, giving Him presents because they believed that He was their Savior and a greater treasure than the wealth they were carrying with them.

 

–So we Christians, who believe in Jesus, also worship Him and lay down all our treasures before Him.

 

We do it because we believe in Him, that He is our Savior who called us to Him and gave us the forgiveness of sins when we were in the darkness of sin and death and couldn’t find God.

 

When we were little babies born in the darkness, He baptized us and put the bright star of His Gospel in our hearts.

 

And He continues to call us to Himself by the bright light of His Word.

 

So we in turn worship Him, lay our treasures and even our lives before Him.

 

And we pray to Him that He would make us stars that lead others to Him.

 

 

–Where is God? He is revealed in Jesus. And Jesus reveals Himself to us in His Word.

 

Amen.

 

Soli Deo Gloria

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