Summary: Epiphany reminds us to see the good grain instead of the weeds.
This Sunday on the church calendar is called: Epiphany. The word means “appearance”
or “manifestation”. More specifically epiphany means “God-appearing” and is a reference to the birth of Jesus, as a “God-appearing” event.
When the wise men came to see the birth of the Christ-child, the Church used the word “epiphany”- a unique“God-appearance” that the men experienced and proclaimed to the world along with the shepherds.
In II. Timothy 4:1 and Titus 2:13, Paul in these two letters uses the word to describe
the second coming of Jesus Christ – that He, Jesus, will appear, an epiphany- a God-appearance.
The average layperson or clergy for that matter may not be too taken by this epiphany talk, what does that have to do with me and my world today?
If you can stay with me for a few more moments, I hope to show you how important, “epiphany” – God appearing-- is to you and me as we start off
this new year of 2007.
Picture with me, the wise men who have just seen the baby, Jesus, given their gifts, and are now returning home (Nativity movie).
If we could have asked them how “life looked to them” they may have answered:
“We have just seen Jesus, the very Son of God, the Savior of the world. He will teach us the Way to go; He will forgive our sins; He will bring us closer to God than we have ever been before. God has come to us in flesh and blood; God is now here in our very
midst, what more could we hope for?”
After that exciting and positive report from the wise men, we walk a bit further down the road in Bethlehem where standing just insider her
doorway to a small adobe home is a young mother sobbing. Why are you so sad? She cries out:
“Herod’s soldiers had just come and slaughtered her newborn child because Herod had heard that a new king has been born in Bethlehem.”
At first you felt full of hope and joy after hearing the experience of the wise men and their “epiphany”; now you feel shock and sorrow by this young mother’s terrible loss.
Today just as then, you and I must ask ourselves what should we believe; what should we think of the world we live in?
My point this morning, the point of EPIPHANY is that the world we are to see and live in and believe in is the wise men’s world? BUT HOW?
How do we live in a wisemen’s world when we are surrounded by weeping mothers or worse when we are the weeping mother? How do we believe in the power and presence of Jesus Christ when so much godless and sinful activity surrounds us and brings pain and suffering into my life?
The morning lesson from Matthew 13 is Jesus telling a parable about a farmer who sows good seed in his field, but while he sleeps, his enemy comes and sows weeds among his good seed. In time both the good
grain and the weeds appear and the servant asks the owner:
“Sir do you want us to go and pull out the weeds. NO, the master answers if you pull out the weeds, you will pull up the wheat as well. Let them
both grow together until the harvest and then at harvest time, I will tell the reapers to gather the weeds first, bundle and burn them; then gather the wheat and put it into the barn.”
When asked by His disciples to explain the story, Jesus said:
I am the owner who sows the good seed and the enemy is the devil who sows the weeds. At the close of the age (harvest time) when I and the angels
come, the angels will gather all causes of sin and all evildoers and throw them into the furnace of fire; then the righteous will shine like the sun in the Kingdom of their Heavenly Father.
One major point of the parable is that you and I will live with evil all around us until the second coming of Jesus. Daily the news from TV, radio and newspaper describes the sin and evil that goes on around us-
--this killing, that robbery, this abuse, that kidnapping…
Most of the time we are thankful it does not directly affect us and try to put
it out of our minds, but like the young Bethlehem mother, the evil around us does affect us, attacks us and we may become quite angry or bitter,
or depressed—the weeds are overgrowing the grain.
Another major point of the parable is this “epiphany thing”-
this fact that God is appearing —here, there; His appearing is not a one or two time event. He appears again and again in the favor and blessing