3rd Sunday After Epiphany – 01/23/2022
Psalm 19; Nehemiah 8:1-3, 5-6, 8-10; 1st Corinthians 12:12-31; Luke 4:14-21
Our lesson from Psalm 19 explains that God’s world bear witness to its sovereign Lord and points to His glory. That we can confess the abstract doctrine of God as creator because we can see the concrete evidence of His creation. The very sky and whole panorama of heaven reveals the enormous size of God’s purposes and order to us. In this knowledge we can praise for our Creator and for the Source of divine law, which is the basis for repentance. God’s great deeds and judgments are known everywhere and there is an innate awareness in everyone that God is just and is to be sought. We can see the results of God’s great redemptive deeds all around us. Trustworthy Scripture is God’s perfect treasure for human life reviving the discouraged and sick, giving wisdom to the trusting, filling the believers with joy, enlightening the faithful students with truth and understanding. This psalm is attributed to David, and he had high regard for the Law of he lord a a perfect curriculum and perfect teacher. To know the Law is to know the mind of God, the true Teacher of Israel, since it was God Himself who gave the Law to Israel through Moses. By learning from the Law of the Lord, we will not only gain understanding and wisdom, but we will gain experience gladness and fullness of life.
From Nehemiah the assembled people saw and heard Ezra read aloud from the preserved and recovered book of the Law and there were two reasons for reading it aloud. One, the people could not read the book themselves, and two, the assembly was often asked to be a witness against itself. You see, God’s scribe acted as an interpreter of the holy words, explaining the meaning to people as written, authoritative, Scripture. This Scripture is not just merely for our own personal understanding, but to take to others. Furthermore, the scripture was to be read in worship services and proclaimed to all there, and then the people would take it into the world to proclaim it.
Education and worship are very closely bound together, for knowledge of he Word of God can and will bring about conditions for spiritual renewal. In verse 6, Ezra praised the Lord, the great God; and all the people lifted their hands and responded, “Amen! Amen!” They they bowed down and worship the Lord , prostrate on the ground. The gesture revealed a reverential dependence on the Lord an humility.
From our Lesson from 1st Corinthians, we learn that there are a variety of members of the church but that each church member plays a significant and important part in the church’s life. Therefore, each member is to be. The church’s unity is expressed through the gifts of each member that God has given to them. No one gift is more important than the other, as all are necessary and important. Therefore no one is able to boast of their gift over another. We should thank God for all the church’s gifts and should seek to mature and be able to exercise new gifts that God may give us, for all gifts must be exercised in faith, hope, and love.
Finally from the Gospel of Luke we see a direct reference to Isaiah 61:1-3, which is a call to mission work. Beloved, we come to church to be fed the Word of God, to praise His Holy Name and to learn and study His Word as part of our worship, to help us understand His preparation of the Israelites when He made them His people, and then He opened up His Word to Gentiles and now it is worldwide and in languages of the people who read and study it.
The proclamation is never to be obscure in any way; it must always ring with a straightforward and simple message of eternal truth. Jesus beautifully combined preaching and teaching. Proclamation includes content that teaches. Proclamation explains the meaning of God’s Word for the audience it is proclaimed to and it leads to understanding, decision, and commitment on the part of the hearer of His Word. This always my intent with a sermon, or a talk in community events, or on my blog. I strive to be simply and clear for the expressed purpose of clarity to whomever I am delivering a message to and I pray this is what you receive. Amen