Isaiah 58: 1-12 Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023 Psalm 112: 1-10 

1 Corinthians 2: 1-16 

St. Matthew 5: 13-20 

“Trust in the Lord” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

Last week I mentioned meekness and how blessed we truly  are if we are meek toward the Lord. I provided warnings of how  our own pride can lead us astray; about acknowledging we are  sinners and will fail God. In our failure I ask that instead of getting  angry and sweeping under the rug the parts of Scripture that  makes us uncomfortable that we instead, in all humility, bow down  to God and meekly ask for forgiveness already knowing that God  graciously provides to those who repent. 

I focused heavily on the warning element, imploring that you  do not come to hate God’s Word nor the messenger believing that  you know better than God. Today I’ll like to focus on the benefits  of trusting God. 

We live in such dark times and with each waking day it  seems like a new form of evil bubbles up, whether actual or  perceived. The news these days understand that they get more  viewers if they present bad news rather than good news. Some  even generate for themselves fake news so as to generate  American’s insatiable need to feel anger and anxiety. This has  caused most of us to see the ill of society more readily than the  miracles that do happen. Not like we humans have already been 

like that, but in today’s society it is even more evident that our  attention gravitates toward the ills then the blessings. 

Where is the hope in such an environment? Why do we feel  the need to engorge ourselves on such demoralizing content? To  know what the future has instore for us; to be prepared; to know  why things are the way they are? Well that is all good, but I ask  what’s the so what? Why do you need to know these things if all it  will do is cause you to divulge into an empty chasm of depression  of which you may never climb out of? Unless you have hope, this  knowledge is meaningless. 

Then comes the problem of false hope found in earthly  things such as the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age.  The hope they provide is hallow; as they may appear great on the  surface but lack the sheer gravitas that can shake away the  creeping despair that grasps the cracks of our psyche like roots  that wiggles its way through rocky soil. You may find joy in the  morning, but the moment the sun sets you fall back into despair  as you know not whether the sun will rise up again. 

So what do we do when we are faced with bad news? Do we  give into melancholy? Do we seek hope from false idols? Or do  we place our trust and faith upon the feet of God who has not only  given us promises of Salvation but has already fulfilled them  through His Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ Crucified? 

This is the promise that we have and know will be fulfilled,  that no matter what, through faith in Him, on account of His grace,  that we are indeed saved and will experience eternal bliss for God 

Himself came down to earth and gave himself on the Cross and  died so that all who believe in Him will not parish in Hell but live  with Him. With this unshakeable faith, who can cause us to fail?  What force out there, whether angelic or demonic, can separate  us from the knowledge that we will be in Heaven? 

Psalm 112: 7, “He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm,  trusting in the Lord.” 

So when the world comes crashing down on us and demand  that we become fearful and panicky we instead look toward the  Lord God with trust. We do become overcome with fear, but our  hearts are like calm seas that make even the most prone to  seasickness comfortable. We acknowledge the bad news and we  do what we can, but our hearts are not troubled. We are at ease because, unlike those whose faith is found in earthly things, we  are privy to the hidden wisdom of God which tells us that all will  be well. 

This world does not know this, for if they did they would not  have crucified the Messiah. The world is too consumed with trying  to cure the world and humanity, of working themselves into  salvation or saving the planet. The world lacks faith and thus it  depends only in itself. Because of our own sinfulness and finite  capabilities we inevitably will always fail. This cause us distress  as we dive head first into insanity, repeating the process over and  over again, expecting a different result all while knowing with  abject fear that it is useless as all is doomed to pass away.

But the hidden wisdom of God that we have received  through and only through the Holy Spirit reveals to us that there is  hope for God has not abandoned us in our lowly estate but has  provided for us the most precious of gifts. An example: 

The one who has fell victim to the wisdom of today’s age and  believe that humanity can save the earth from the unscientific  belief known as global warming will out of fear of self-induced  destruction plant a tree in order to mask this fear with false hope  and vain glory. 

The one whose trust in the Lord knows no bounds will  outwardly do likewise, plant a tree, but for different reasons. Not  out of fear because they know that the Lord will never allow  humanity to destroy themselves or creation. Not out of a need to  generate within vain glory, because we know that we are saved  by faith and not by works; but simply because God commanded  us to be faithful stewards of the earth. 

Both do the same thing, but for different reasons; one out of  fear, the other out of hope. 

As I was preparing this service, there were so many hymns I  could have picked that encapsulate this amazing trust and I  wanted to pick all of them. Some I didn’t select include “Blessed  Assurance” and “When Peace like a River…” 

Hymn 699 in our blue hymnals, WOV: 

Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine! 

Oh what a foretaste of glory divine!

Heir of salvation, purchase of God, 

Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood. 

This is my story, this is my song, 

Praising my Savior, all the day long; 

This is my story, this is my song, 

Praising, my Savior all the day long. 

We have assurance that we are indeed saved, and that there is  no need to be overcome with concern, to be consumed with  anxiety. He already died on the cross for our sake and through  the cross fought the Armageddon battle defeating once and for all  He who is the source of all evil. God purchased us with the blood  of His Son and has washed us clean. He who praises the Savior  all day, with the assurance that God has already won, will never  be overcome with grief. 

And in the final verse: 

Perfect submission, all is at rest; 

I in my Savior am happy and blest, 

Watching and waiting, looking above, 

Filled with his goodness, lost in His love. 

This is where meekness comes in. Out of trust, when we in all  meekness submit ourselves to the Lord, then we become  perfectly at peace. For true happiness and bliss are found only in  the Savior, not in things make by human hands. Now perfect  submission isn’t going to end bad news, it’s not going to end  events that may generate misery, it’s not going to cease the  attacks, but it will create a rest that can weather all of these. The  devil can make your life a living Hell, but because you have blessed assurance you are at peace.

Which leads me to the other hymn I didn’t include in today’s  service, #346 in the green hymnal, LBW: 

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way; 

When sorrows, like sea billows, roll; 

Whatever my lot, thou hast taught me to say, 

It is well, it is well with my soul. 

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come, 

Let this blest assurance control, 

That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate 

And hath shed His own blood for my soul. 

He lives – oh, the bliss of this glorious thought; 

My sins not in part, but the whole, 

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more. 

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! 

It is indeed well, maybe not on the outside, but definitely well  within my soul. For whenever Satan comes with his trails,  attempting to make life miserable, I can respond with blest  assurance that Christ has already regarded my helpless estate  and has shed His blood for my sake, nailing everything to cross,  telling me that I no longer have to bear this grief and fear and  shame. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul. 

Let us pray, 


Dear Heavenly Father, give us the faith to know that in you  all is well. Lead us not into fear but into hope whenever we face  bad news. In Your most holy name we pray: Father, Son, and  Holy Spirit. Amen.

Micah 6: 1-8

Psalm 15

1 Corinthians 1: 18-31

St. Matthew 5: 1-12


“Blessed are the Meek”


Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.


In grade school I had a very close friend who I would always

hang out with during recess or after school. She was a dear friend

of mine who cared neither for my short statue nor complications

with communication, unlike all the bullies I suffered from growing

up. Unlike them, she was kind and quite intelligent, top of her

class. I treasured those days, but then in middle school teenager

Chris had to ruin everything.

All I had going in elementary school was my talent at art. I

wasn’t very good at much else… that is until I discovered Algebra

in 4 th grade. All of a sudden I discovered an academic talent I was

proud of, which led me to actually start caring about my academic

life. So in middle school I focused on getting as many A’s as

possible, but I had one stumbling block, my best friend was better

than me academically at everything outside of math and art. So I

started to get jealous of her.

With each month this jealousy in 7 th grade grew, to the point

that I ruined my entire relationship with this friend of mine by

blowing up in her face about how much better she was than me. I

wasn’t one to get angry, so it must have been a right shock to her

when I suddenly started flinging verbal abuses at her one day



after school. But that was all it took. I stopped speaking to her

after that, but mostly because of the shame I felt. And she

stopped looking at me. My pride got the better of me, a stupid 13

year old kid.

Some of you already know I’m not a fan of those who out of

pride attack those who prove to be right, using words such as,

“Oh, you just always have to be right.” When I was a snot-nosed

brat new to puberty I was that person. And when my little brother,

whom I love, hit puberty he became that sort of person toward me

as well. Ignore the fact that he corrected my horrendous grammar

every opportunity he got, whenever we disagreed and I was

proven to be correct, such as fixing appliances, instead of

acknowledging the truth he would get verbally and sometimes

physically abusive. In his youth, he always had to be more correct

than me, and that pride compelled him to be unable to accept

being wrong.

Many of us go through that stage of life and grow out of it,

learning from our mistakes, yet when I look at humanity as a

whole with regards to our relationship with God I see that we have

not learned from our mistakes and still act as snot-nosed teenage

brats incapable of acknowledging that we are wrong and God is

always right.

We look at God in anger and say to Him, “You just always

have to be right.” Yes, He does, for He alone determines what is

right and what is wrong, as well as what is good and what is evil.

But when we raise our fists at God what we are really saying is,



“How dare you expose me a fool; how dare you expose I am

wrong; how dare you expose my actions as sinful.”

We want to control God; put Him in a box and demand

things from Him. And when things don’t go our way we, humanity,

get a temper tantrum. We demand that He accepts our sinful

ways and that He turn a blind eye as we do that which is

objectively evil. We demand that the guilt and shame we feel

when we do evil be taken away so that our fragile pride can stay

intact as we continue to displease God. We look at His frown and

demand that He smile at our bad conduct; that He wipe his face of

dissatisfaction as it makes us uncomfortable. If you love us God

should you not accept our every life style and make us eternally

happy? We want to become God for we have grown to despise

the authority of God which exposes our sinfulness. We want to

determine what is truly good and evil so that we are never in the

wrong. In the end, when we look at the Law we are overcome with



How dare God tell me that this action is a sin! I will perfectly

obey this and that in the Law of Moses, but this I cannot abide

and demand that no one use Scripture to tell me that this

particular action or belief is a sin.

This is a struggle that surprisingly most Christians face.

Though we wish to follow the Law for through the power of the

Holy Spirit we have come to realize that it is indeed good and for

our own benefit, for humanity was not made for the Law but the

Law for humanity, we still struggle with sin. We are both sinner

and saint; saint not on account of our actions but solely on



account of God’s grace, and, so long as we live in this temporal

life, still sinners. And it is the sinner in us that causes us trouble

as we look at the Law with love in part but with hatred at other

parts. We acknowledge we are sinners, but rarely do we like

hearing an action we do regularly called a sin. We become

personally attacked and the Old Adam in us gets riled up as we

start to make unreasonable demands.


Examples include when Jesus Christ Himself says that

remarrying someone else after a divorce is a sin. This directly

cuts at the heart of most adults for it seems in America all have

either divorced or have been affected by divorce. Hearing these

words from Christ hurts, and we rather sweep them under the rug

then to hear them, get angry, and then feel guilty over getting

angry at God. Another example includes when God tells us that

both homosexuality and transgenderism is a sin; same reaction.

What about when God tells us that abortion and supporting

abortion are both sins? Do we get angry at God and scream,

“How dare you”? Do we commit blasphemy, the only

unforgiveable sin, by putting God in a box and proclaiming that

God actually supports remarriage after divorce, homosexuality,

abortion, and such?

In our efforts to be wise, to be strong, intelligent, morally-

right, powerful, or famous we become puffed up clowns that boast

in the presence of God our own vane glory. And in our own self-

righteousness we demand a mighty court case with God as the

accused. But when we plead our case, without fail, the case flips

and we suddenly become the accused. In our vane glory we think

we are better than God, only to be humbled. God demands how



He has wearied us and short of proclaiming that good is evil and

evil is good we cannot answer His demands. He has blessed us

all, including those who hate Him, with life and family and food

and so much. If anything it is our own neighbors that fault us, not

God. But He has given us so much and we still rise up demanding

more. Who are we to demand anything from God when He has

already given us so much?


And how do we react? Instead of doing good we offer

sacrifices. We are still skirting the issue at hand, for do not want

to address that we are wrong. All we have to do is be meek, to

humble ourselves before the Lord. But we can’t do even that. How

can we satisfy your anger O Lord? How about a burnt offering,

no? Well how about a thousand rams? Ten thousand rivers of oil?

How about my first born son? Now that one’s an irony. How about

you just do what I [God] commanded?

Notice how none of these offerings address the issue at

hand for they still want to do that which is wrong. It is like giving

money to a police officer to look the other way as you commit a

crime. These people who go to court with God want to please

God but not at the cost of their desires; that’s the whole point.

They want an excuse to not feel guilty and to continue acting in

what they would like to claim is not sinful. Such fake humility!

True humility would seek the forgiveness of God with a guilty

conscience admitting that you have sinned. A truly humble heart

would repent, know that God has forgiven them on account of the

free offering through the cross, and then try as hard to do that

which is right. A humble person when he stumbles would not try



and hide such under a rug with platitudes, but acknowledge that

they messed up and asks the Lord God who is merciful for


To the meek who knows he is weak, a fool, and try as he

might just can’t get his ducks in a row, but seeks the Lord who is

his strength, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, redemption –

to him, the Lord God above has no frowns but smiles and

blessings. Such a person blames not God nor gets angry at God

but rather blames and gets angry at themselves and the fallen

human state. Such a person who is meek would dare not boast in

themselves, but boasts in the Lord who is their strength. For they

have realized that if they are blessed then such blessings come

not from within but from God alone.

Let me end with a thought. Had we not been meek toward

the Lord would we have accepted His forgiveness of sins? …No,

we wouldn’t. So the meek are truly blessed, for they did not refuse

the free gift of Salvation.


Let us pray,

Dear Heavenly Father, humble the sinner we dreadfully are,

and lead us away from the temptation of justifying sin. Give us

quiet hearts as we come to terms with our own wickedness while

seeing the abundant mercy you offer us through your Son our

Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Isaiah 49: 1-7

Psalm 40: 1-11

1 Corinthians 1: 1-9

St. John 1: 29-42


“The Epiphanies Begin”


Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.


Now that Jesus Christ, Son of God, who came into the world

not to condemn the world, for it was already condemned, but to

save it through the cross, has been baptized the mission to which

he came to fulfill outlined in all of Scripture has begun. And this

mission is not merely for the Jews, though it is primarily for them,

for we know that Christ came not for Israel but for all nations. Now

we may not at birth be members of Israel, God’s chosen people,

but through our baptism we are all adopted into Israel, as children

of God.

Isaiah alludes to this when God spoke through him saying,

“It is too light a thing that you should be my servant to raise up the

tribes of Jacob and bring back the preserved of Israel: I will make

you as a light for all the nations, that my salvation may reach to

the end of the earth.”

God has always desired that all of creation bask in His

glorious light. His Salvation was never to be reserved for a small

lot but freely given for all willing to receive. This is what’s found in

Torah, that the great servant of God who brings salvation will

come not merely for Israel but for everyone, to include even the

enemies of Israel.




It would be a waste if God’s most glorious gift of

sanctification from sin and sin’s reward, Hell, was gifted on to the

select few, the tribes of Jacob. From a numerical perspective, the

ratio of tribes of Israel to earth’s population is so tiny that this gift

becomes a trifling thing too insignificant with regards to worldly

salvation. For again, God’s main goal is for all people to worship

Him. Now He does not desire this because He needs our worship.

For from it, for He could wipe us all out and not be negatively

affected as He remakes the creation. He does not need us, nor

will He ever, and anyone who suffers this train of thought has

fallen victim to the Hell trap known as narcissism.


No, God desires all people to worship Him because He loves

us. He is the source of life, good, happiness, and most especially

existence in of itself. God does not merely exist, He determines

existence. He wants us to be happy and filled with joy and live life

eternally void of sin. But because He is all good, He does not

force us to receive His life giving presence. Because of this many

have turned away from Him and in so doing have denied God’s

free gift of life. God sees these lost lambs, and despairs over the

consequences of their freely chosen actions. All we had to do was

follow His Law which exposes to us what sin looks like. But

because all have turned from the Law in part all have turned from

God in whole, replacing Him with our own self-made versions of

the divine. All have failed, and this causes our Father above great

distress. So to only provide salvation to a select few, His chosen

people Israel, is too trifling. Therefore, His salvation will be for all




But it has to start somewhere, and that somewhere was at

the Jordan. Though the light Christ has cast was for all nations,

He did not disregard the special relationship He and His Father

above had with the original chosen. For the Messiah came first for

the Jews, and through them all nations. For every Jew who

followed Jesus Christ, a new lantern was hung in the spiritually

dark land, shedding light on the gentiles. Those who followed

Jesus knew He came for all nations and they in turn spoke to the

gentiles with welcoming arms and baptism. On the other hand,

those in the tribes of Jacob who turned away from Jesus did so

for many reasons and one was because they believed themselves

so special that the Messiah was to come only for them. By

believing the Messiah’s salvation was for Israel alone and not for

the gentiles, they’ve abandoned the prophecies of Isaiah for a lie,

believing that the Messiah was coming to save Israel from the

Romans. When Jesus confessed that he came to save both Jew

and Gentile, that enraged many of the Jews who suffered at the

hands of Gentiles, and thus they rejected Him.


It’s a sad reality, but one we don’t have to be weighed down

by for many of God’s chosen people saw and heard the truth and

followed Jesus Christ, becoming the first generation of Christians.

And then they in turn looked out into the vast horizon and started

spreading the Good News. The epiphanies were beginning as

people came to realize, this is the Messiah.


But, once again, as already stated, there must be a

beginning, and the beginning of Christ’s mission was at the




Now last week we already covered Jesus’ baptism, but the

Gospel of St John adds one tiny detail about this baptism, a very

important detail. John the Baptist knew not who the Messiah was

to be. That’s the detail, and to drive the message home St John

said this twice: once in verse 31, and again in verse 33 of chapter

1. It’s obvious that John the Baptist knew Jesus, they were

cousins, but that did not mean he knew that Jesus was the

Messiah. John knows Jesus, he just doesn’t know the Messiah.

It’s like those classic tropes in literature when the main character

is trying to find out who is “Person X”, only to find out “Person X”

was their best friend all along. That is what’s happening here.

John is waiting for the Messiah, but knows not that the Messiah is

his own cousin Jesus, that is until the Holy Spirit reveals this to

him at the Jordan.

Now one might ask, didn’t John know that Jesus was Christ

when in the womb; for he did leap in Elizabeth’s womb upon

being in the presence of his savior? Yes, he did, but not on

account of his rational thinking processes but solely on account of

the Holy Spirit which gave John the faith necessary to know the

truth. As an unborn child, John has no ability to reason let alone

thinking that much is obvious, but solely on account of the Holy

Spirit did he know. If anything, the story of John is proof that we

must baptize infants, and proof that having faith in Jesus Christ is

in no way connected to your ability to think. For we know that faith

comes only from the Holy Spirit, and that through Baptism you do

indeed receive the Holy Spirit.

John leaped with joy when he was an infant wholly incapable

of having reason. But he leaped because he, an infant had faith.



After his birth and as he grew up and developed the ability to

remember and reason he ceased to know Jesus as the Messiah

but instead knew him only as his cousin. This much is certainly

true for if he did view Jesus as the Messiah during his youth then

he would have remembered it. If anything, his ability to reason is

why he viewed Jesus as his cousin and not the Messiah. And now

that John is an adult it is not reason that opened his eyes to the

truth regarding Jesus’ divinity, but faith alone which comes from

the Holy Spirit. In both cases, when John knew that Jesus was

the Messiah, it was the Holy Spirit, an outside source, and not

reason, an internal source, which provided him with the necessary

faith. And know that John has the ability to remember, when

Jesus came back to the Jordan the following day, John shouted,

“Behold, the Lamb of God!”

If anything, the first to have an epiphany following Jesus’

baptism was John the Baptist, but he wasn’t the only one who had

one, for through John the Baptist his two followers who were with

him the day after the great baptism also had epiphanies. These

were the first of many epiphanies; epiphanies that still happen to

this very day.

Now when John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus as the Lamb

of God do you think the two disciples followed Jesus on account

of their reason or on account of faith? Well, faith obviously; they

trusted John the Baptist and knew that God had blessed John, so

when John pointed out who was the Messiah it was out of trust in

John that the two turned to follow Jesus. John the Baptist was the

lantern that showed Andrew and the other disciple the Lamb of

God, Jesus Christ. And in turn these two became lamps that



shined the light of the Holy Spirit on others so that they too may

be filled not with reason but with faith in Jesus Christ. Gentile and

Jew, it mattered not, for Christ came and died and rose from the

grave for everyone. What was the first thing Andrew did the

following day? Became a light for his brother Simon, aka Peter.

And the other disciple, whom most theologians, church historians,

and scholars believe to be John son of Zebedee, also became a

light for others. For if the massive majority of learned people are

correct in their assumption, as still many others speculate the

disciple to be Philip, then the disciple John upon the next day

would have gone to his brother James. But let’s say it was Philip

rather than John, the message is still the same because Philip

went to Nathaniel, aka Bartholomew.


The epiphanies have begun.

Let us pray,

Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for the free gift of

salvation and a faith that surpasses understanding. Help us lead

humble lives as we utilize the gifts you have given us to spread

the Good News. In your most holy name we pray: Father, Son,

and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Isaiah 9: 1-4 

Psalm 27: 1, 4-9 

1 Corinthians 1: 10-18 

St. Matthew 4: 12-23 


Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

Isaiah is filled with prophecies. This is something many of  you already know. And today we read once again another  prophecy from Isaiah, “In the former time he brought into  contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the  latter time He has made glorious the way of the sea, the land  beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations. The people who  walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a  land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.” 

Zebulun and Naphtali – those dark wicked lands of which  God has already held in contempt, filled with evil such to an  extent I know not – they like all of Israel and Judea has received  the ire of God on account of their sins. Because of this the first  prophecies of Isaiah was fulfilled and all of God’s people were  once again punished via the Babylonian Captivity. But even after  this event and the Jews were released and rebuilt Jerusalem,  darkness still hung over all of Israel, to include the lands of  Zebulun and Naphtali. 

Yet, despite this darkness, in this land there was still a  glimmer of hope. For to these people a prophecy of light was  given. Yes Zebulun and Naphtali was under God’s contempt, but 

in the future God has promised to make their ways glorious and to  shine a great light upon them. And does God break His promises?  Far from it, for He always keeps them, though when they will be  fulfilled is the question. That is the problem with prophecies; they  almost never explain when they will unfold. So all we can do is  wait patiently with hope. 

Zebulun and Naphtali waited, and with time they changed.  But this is not news to us, of course they changed. Just look at  America 300 years ago. Though the land was there, the country  was not. People change. Buildings rise up, get torn down, and  new buildings rise again. The same is true for other lands; for  example before Iran there was Persia, but before Persia there  was Babylon. So what happened to the lands of Zebulun and  Naphtali? What did they change into? Why, the land turned into  what we call in the New Testament, Capernaum. Capernaum is  the land of Zebulun and Naphtali. 

Now Capernaum was still a land of darkness, but so were all  of Israel and the whole world at that. They still had their struggles  with sin, but unlike other lands they had a promise from God that  gave them hope; a promise that a light was to come, a great light,  which will overcome the darkness and make the way of the sea  glorious. Now, whereas the problem of prophecies include the  lack of when, they also may lack a description of how they will be  fulfilled. This is why we must approach the prophecies in  Revelations with caution. Many assumed that this great light will  be a mighty king. True, but not in the way they think. Many  assumed that this king was going to be a warrior who had a great  army. True, but not in the way they think. Many assumed that this 

great warrior was to establish a new kingdom that will last forever.  True, but not in the way they think. 

This single light, this great light will come in the form of a  man, but this man will not be some mere priest or prophet or king,  but will be the Lord God, our God in the flesh, who personally has  come to us as one of our own. Not like in scripture such as when  He wrestled Jacob, but incarnately did God come to us, born from  a virgin. He came down from heaven, lessened Himself to be like  us, and to walk among us. Those with ears and eyes, who truly  listened and look upon the light in Capernaum, though they knew  not that this was God Himself, saw that this was indeed the great  light for light has shone on them. 

People were healed: the lame walk, the blind see, the mute  speak. Hope was rekindled as fear and anxiety was washed away  through faith and love. Proclamations of the Truth were heard as  people’s minds were opened. Jesus of Nazareth has come to  Capernaum and He has overcome the darkness that has  suppressed the people for far too long. A light has shone on  Capernaum, and Jesus is the light, the light prophesied in Isaiah. 

But with Him comes more than just mere healings and mere  comfort, for if He was like any prophet, then as soon as He leaves  the Darkness will once again come back to suppress the hearts of  men. The prophecies of Isaiah speak not of a light that comes and  then goes away. This prophecy is an eternal one. It is not  incidental, but speaks of a promise that will forever be fulfilled.  Therefore Zebulun and Naphtali are to be made glorious not for a 

moment but forever. This light promised will not shine and go out.  No, this light will overcome the darkness forever. 

Prophets bring miracles of healing and words of comfort.  They with the help of God, guide the people, but only for a  moment. This light that has come to Capernaum is not like those  prophets. This light will provide everlasting healing that can never  be overcome by the Devil; as well everlasting comfort and  everlasting forgiveness. You will never grow hungry nor will you  ever thirst in this light. There will be no need for want, for you will  be satisfied. In this light, fear does not exist… 

Such promises fulfilled can only come from God Himself,  and that is most certainly true. 

Jesus Christ came to Capernaum with all this for He is their,  and our, light and salvation, in whom we receive eternal comfort  away from fear’s alarm. But He comes with much more than  miracles of healing, for through the cross He saved Capernaum  and all of us. All who place their faith in Him are forever saved  from the darkness and now walk with the light of God as their  stronghold which shelters them from the days of trouble. He is our  mighty fortress. 

To all of us, Christ has cast out our inner darkness and tells all, “Follow Me.” In Christ, the Kingdom of Heaven has already  arrived, therefore, short of following Him, He asks nothing from us  for through the cross He has already done everything. His gift of  freedom from sin and guilt and shame, His gift of salvation is  completely free. He paid the price so we don’t have to. He took on 

the darkness so we no longer have to. He suffered the  consequences of sin so we won’t. 

The gift of the eternal heavenly kingdom is in His hand and  all asks us, the same way he asked Simon Peter and Andrew and  James and John, “Follow me.” And continue to follow me for I will  protect you, shine light on you, take on your sins, and make your  ways glorious. 

Let us pray, 


Dear Heavenly Father, you are our light and salvation; in you  whom shall we fear? Overcome any shadows within us and  continue to call us. In your most holy name we pray: Father, Son,  and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Isaiah 42: 1-9

Psalm 29

Acts 10: 34-43

St. Matthew 3: 13-17


“This Is My Son”


Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen.


In today’s Gospel Jesus approaches John the Baptist, His

cousin, to be baptized. During the season of Advent we reflected

on John the Baptist who was the voice in the wilderness crying

out to prepare the way for the coming King. In Christmas we

celebrated the arrival of our King. And now the Epiphanies begin.

John has been preaching about the coming King for who knows

how long, and finally the day has arrived; His Messiah has come

to the Jordan.


Up to this point John has been preaching for all to repent in

preparation for the coming King and has been providing

ceremonial baptisms to help wash people of their guilt. Now this

baptism is different from the one we have; far different for our

Baptism has the Holy Spirit and his was just mere water. John’s

baptism was no different than the ceremonial baptism that all born

in a Jewish family, male and female babes, must undergo. Yes,

every Jewish infant is baptized, though not in the name of Father,

Son, and Holy Spirit, but in accordance with the Levitical Laws of

Moses written in Leviticus 12 and other passages in the books of





For males it is the fortieth day after his birth, he and his

mother are to go to the temple and be purified. Before this

happens the mother is considered in a state of being purified on

account of “being in the blood” of her child’s birth. So both son

and mother are to be purified through ceremonial baptism on his

41st day. Again same goes for female children but the timing is

slightly different. Now in addition to the purification the mother is

to bring two offerings for herself, a burnt offering and a sin

offering. The burnt offering completes the process of purification

from the flow of her blood. The sin offering is to wash her of her

sins in further preparation of motherhood. The sin offering is not

connected to her giving birth for giving birth is not a sin. The sin

offering is because she is a sinner.

So in Luke 2:22-24, 33 days after Jesus was circumcised,

both He and Mary went to the temple to receive ceremonial

baptism through water alone and in addition Mary gave up for

herself alone two offerings, a burnt offering because of the flow of

blood and a sin offering because she is a sinner in need of God’s

continual help in preparing her for motherhood. So, according to

Luke 2:24 and Leviticus 12:8 there is no Immaculate (sinless)

Conception of Mary, she is a sinner.

This is one of many incidents of ceremonial baptism within

the Laws of Moses observed by the Jewish community. And they

are all connected, for all of them are about cleansing or

purification. Not just the body, for that is mere baptism, aka

washing, but also spiritually, for it is a ceremonial baptism. The

baptisms provided by John the Baptist is of like manner, a




ceremony dedicated to purification in preparation of the coming

coronation of the King of all nations.

So when the Messiah arrived at the Jordan to be baptized by

John, Jesus had to convince John to baptize Him. Why? John is

preparing people for the coming Messiah. Why would John

prepare the Messiah for the coming Messiah? In addition John is

ceremonially purifying through his baptisms. The Messiah is pure.

Why would John purify He who is already pure? If anything, Jesus

should be baptizing John because Lord knows John is in need of

baptismal purification.


There is also the fact that John is so blessed by the Holy

Spirit that he is humbled by Christ’s presence. He knows his place

in relationship to his King. Those with authority are the ones who

baptize. Usually you would go to the highest ranking priest or a

prophet, if one is available, for baptisms. John is not Christ, nor is

he Elijah, or a prophet, but merely the voice crying in the

wilderness prophesied by Isaiah. Jesus who is Christ ranks far

above John the Baptist. John is not even worthy to untie the

straps of Jesus’ sandals, why would he be worthy of baptizing He

who is void of sin? Because Jesus is sinless and has divine

authority, while John is a sinner in need of forgiveness just like all

others, John would have prevented Jesus from baptizing him,

saying, “I need to be baptized by you.” Again, between the two, it

is not Jesus who needs purification but John.


But John is just the voice in the wilderness, there is more to

the story he is not privy to. He at least knows, and has been

rightly preaching, that the Baptism provided by the Messiah, the




Baptisms done in His Name, are far greater than his own for

these Baptisms have with them the Holy Spirit. But he knows not

why Jesus needs to be baptized. Yes, John’s baptism is for those

who need to prepare for the coming King, but what if to Jesus this

baptism is to help Him, the King, prepare for His own ministry?

There is a reason why in all four Gospels the Baptism precedes

His ministry.

Jesus says, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to

fulfill all righteousness.” His Baptism inaugurates the fulfillment of

all the prophecies related to God’s saving grace. His Baptism is

the opening ceremony to our eternal salvation.


Now during this baptism a most amazing thing happened,

God spoke, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well

pleased.” This is my Son. When God the Father spoke He was

not adopting Jesus as His Son, which some unfortunately believe.

Yes Jesus is a human, but He is also God the Son, therefore

when God the Father spoke He was not establishing but rather

declaring an already established fact. Jesus is His Son, always

has been since before time, and always will be to the end of

times. He wasn’t just a mere Son of God, but the Son of God. A

Son of God or Daughter of God would be you or me. Now we are

adopted into the family of God on account of and only of our

baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. But

Jesus is the, not “a” but “the”, Son of God and God the Son. He is

both, and the only person who is either. So God is declaring, not

establishing. And with this the ministry of Jesus Christ begins.




Now I ask you this, and I already alluded to this, are we not

also Sons and Daughters of God? Are we not Children of God?

We are, and we are established such through our baptism. So

there are similarities, but stark differences between our and our

Lord’s Baptism. At Christ’s baptism, God announces for all to hear

that Jesus is His Son, a fact that has been true since before

history. At our baptism, God announces through Scripture that we

become His children, are adopted once and for all on account of

the Holy Spirit which is present during this baptism. And that’s the

similarity for, just like Jesus’ baptism, at our baptism the Spirit is

indeed present. We are all alike called children of God through

our baptism. We are called to “be” children of God, and Jesus “is”

called the Child of God.


But it’s not Jesus’ Baptism alone that we are connected to

but also all Jewish baptisms; for there are similarities and

differences between our baptism and the Jewish baptism.

According to the Laws of Moses in Leviticus there must always be

a purification done for infant children. This baptismal purification is

connected to the circumcision which signifies the adoption of one

into the family of God. Baptismal purification is not circumcision

but is connected, but to us our baptism is circumcision. For our

baptism, through the help of the Holy Spirit, fulfills all that the

Levitical baptism and circumcision fulfills and more.


Our baptism forgives us not only our current sins, but

provides the forgiveness of all our sins to include original sin. 1

Peter 3:21, “Baptism... now saves you, not as a removal of dirt

from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience,

through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” And through the Holy




Spirit which places the seal of God on our foreheads via baptism

in lieu of circumcision we all become children of God. Thus our

infant baptism fulfills all and even more than the infant baptism

prescribed by God to His people Israel. For though the Spirit is

not present in the ceremonial baptisms of the Jews, it is present

100% guaranteed in our singular baptism done in the name of the

Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

In the end, when you consider your own baptism, remember

that it is a continuation of the Levitical infant baptism but fulfilled

and made perfect through the death and resurrection of our Lord

and Savior Jesus Christ, and remember that through our baptism

we like Christ our Savior are all Children of God.


Let us pray,

Dear Heavenly Father, during His baptism You proclaimed

for all the world Jesus Christ Your Son. Ascribe in our hearts

through the help of the Holy Spirit the faith that needs not a

proclamation but desires a kinship with our Savior who is also our

Brother. In your most holy name we pray: Father, Son, and Holy

Spirit. Amen.

Bible Verse of the Day

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