The Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord
Audio
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Delivered By
Pr. Lovett
Delivered On
January 6, 2013
Central Passage
Matthew 2:1-12
Description

 

In the name of the Father and of the + Son and of the Holy Spirit.

 

The season of Epiphany starts today on the Festival of the Epiphany of Our Lord, January 6th, the day after the Season of Christmas. Epiphany means revelation; to reveal something. So the Season of Epiphany starts off with the reading from St. Matthew wherein the Christ is revealed to the Gentile Magi as the King of the Jews, of whom the prophets foretold. Christ is revealed to the whole world even in his infancy, as the Savior of the nations and the ruler before whom all rulers will bow down. Fulfilled are the Scriptures that talk about the kings of the earth coming to worship the Lord and to bring Him gifts and tribute.
 
But it would do us well to look at how this event transpired and to ask the question, “What is the Holy Spirit teaching us?” Surely the Holy Spirit isn’t interested in merely teaching history and passing along cool facts about Jesus and some eastern sages. Not at all. He is always and forever interested in teaching us about the glory of Christ and of our salvation in Him and the salvation of the whole world so that we would be better equipped to ponder the divine and behold the wonder and majesty of Christ, that we would be all the more eager to bring Him our meager treasures of our bodies and wills, our hearts and minds, that He might bless us and send us on our way having seen His glory.
 
Today St. Paul preaches on the visit of the Magi – there in the epistle reading – when he teaches that the mystery of Christ that was given to him is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body. That’s the point of the Magi coming to worship the one born King of the Jews. The Magi are representative of the rest of the world: nameless, faceless men bringing the wealth of the nations to their Lord and God, to the one by whom and through whom they were created. Jesus is the savior of all mankind and all mankind is looking for Him – God with us.
 
But there is something wonderful here. The Magi of the East don’t follow the star to where the Christ is. They follow the star to Jerusalem. The Magi saw the Star of David in the East and knew – through the prophets – that the one born King of the Jews had been born. So they set out toward Jerusalem, the capital of the Jews and the city of the Temple of the God of the Jews. Makes sense. You want to find the ruler of the Jews, go to where their temple and palace are, where all their holy things are. But when they arrive in Jerusalem the Child is not there. Where is He? Search the Scriptures! This is wonderful! Here the Holy Spirit teaches us that in order to find the Christ we must listen to the Scriptures! No matter how much it makes sense that the one born King of kings and Lord of lords be born in and live in His holy city where His temple and palace are, the Scriptures do not lie and they do not consider the reason of men. They say that He is born in Bethlehem, the City of David, which means, “The House of Bread.”
 
So there are the scribes and lawyers in Jerusalem preaching from the Scriptures to the Gentiles that Jesus is found in the House of Bread. It doesn’t matter that they and Herod had wicked intent. They preached the Scriptures and those who searched for the Christ listened to the Scriptures. So off to Bethlehem they go. And when they arrive they see the star rest on where the Child was. The star, sent by God to guide the Magi, waited until the Scriptures had been listened to and obeyed before it to went to Bethlehem. This is so that we learn that everything we know about God and Christ and His kingdom and rule and how and where to find Him are contained solely in the Scriptures. Nothing else will tell us where the Christ is or lead us to Him except the Scriptures alone. They are our guide and shining light, they are our star, which is nothing other than the Holy Spirit who bears witness about the Christ and calls men to Him by the gospel.
So we have the Magi representing the nations to show that Jesus is born for all men and not only for the Jews, as St. Paul preaches. We have them listening to the Scriptures to find the Christ, who is in the House of Bread. The Scriptures teach that the Christ is found in the House of Bread.
 
Now when they arrive they find there the Child with Mary, His mother. Of course He’s going to be with His mother. He’s not yet two-years-old. But again, the Holy Spirit, which is the star, is not leading us frivolously or needlessly. Why is Mary mentioned? Becuase Mary is the chief believer. She is the first to believe that the child of her womb is the salvation for all men. She is the first to believe that He is God, called holy from the womb. She is the first to live with God in the flesh. She has heard Simeon and Anna the prophetess, and has treasured up these things in her heart. Mary is the premier believer and embodies the Church and her faith. She ponders this Child night and day, like any other mother does her children, but with the addition that her child is God Himself and her Savior and the Savior of all. Mary is mentioned to teach us that when you find the Christ, you will also find His Church, His saints, His Body. So Mary and the Magi, Jew and the Gentile, are brought together by the Holy Spirit to worship the Lord in His house, in the House of Bread.
 
The preachers in Jerusalem preached the Scriptures, even though they did not care to listen to them themselves, and those who searched for the Christ found Him according to the Scriptures. And when they found Him they found with Him those who already worshiped and adored Him. Where do we find the Christ? Listen to the Scriptures! You find Him in the House of Bread as He said, “Take, eat; this is my Body.” We find Him where His saints are gathered. We find Him with His Body who is gathered to worship Him.
 
By this the Holy Spirit teaches us that when others are looking for the Christ we are to say to them what the Scriptures say so that they would find the Christ and His Church. We aren’t to point them to history or reason or appeal to their emotions. We are to say to them, it is written, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them.” The Christ is found by listening to the Scriptures, which tell us to look for Him in the waters of holy baptism, the absolution of His holy ministry, and in His holy body and blood given and shed for you for the forgiveness of sins. Here is the Christ. You have come to find Him and to worship Him, bringing Him your treasures of your body and soul, heart and mind. You have found the Christ.
 
In Nomine Iesu
+ Amen +