Summary: “Arise; shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.” Isaiah 60:1.
Theme: May the glory of the Lord be unto you
Text: Is. 60:1-6; Eph. 3:1-12; Matt. 2:1-12
On the first Sunday of the year 2015 I will like to wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year. Today is also known in the Church calendar as Epiphany. Epiphany simply means a revelation and refers to the revelation of glory of God revealed in Christ as the light of the world to all people and all nations. Just as the sun rises on every nation and people, so also does the Son of righteousness, the light of the world. No matter who you are, you too, can welcome the Light of the world. There are various people, however, who prefer the darkness to the light. Instead of welcoming the Light of the world they are either indifferent to Christ or are even hostile to Him. The way we treat Christ does not change the truth about who He is since truth is not subject to the opinions of men. The truth remains the truth no matter how we view it. Christ is the light to all men and how we respond to this truth affects our eternal destiny. Christ came to reveal the glory of God and restore that glory in our lives. May the glory of the Lord be upon you in 2015?
God created man to manifest His glory. He made man “a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor”. (Psalm 8:5) Sin robbed man of God’s glory and God went to great lengths to restore it. God has been revealing His glory to man throughout the ages. His glory is seen in Creation. It is seen wherever His presence is. It was seen by Moses and the Israelites and it was present in the Holy of Holies. It was present at the dedication of the Temple by Solomon and it was revealed in Jesus Christ. At Christmas we celebrated the birth of Christ. “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth”. (John 1:14)
Christ came to reveal the glory of God and restore His glory in our lives. Epiphany reminds us that the glory of God has been restored to us and that after the celebrations of the season we cannot afford to go back to the routine of our normal way of life. The presence of God’s glory compels us to arise and shine. The Scriptures record the response of different people to the light of God’s glory. The religious leaders were indifferent and Herod was hostile. The religious leaders were filled with pride and only concerned about maintaining their power and authority. They knew from the Scriptures where the Messiah was to be born and although they were informed of His birth made no effort to travel the short distance to Bethlehem to worship Him. What is our response as believers to the revelation of God’s glory? Are we partakers of God’s glory? Is God’s glory still visible in our lives or did it end with the celebrations of the Christmas season?
Different people responded in different ways to the manifestation of God’s glory. The religious leaders who should have embraced the light of the world were indifferent. The ruler of the Jews, Herod the King, was hostile. Herod was hostile because he was evil, so evil that his aim was to kill the Messiah. Since the pronouncement of God that the seed of the woman would destroy the devil he, the devil, had sought to destroy whoever he believed was the chosen one. He killed Abel, tried to destroy Joseph and Moses and again tried to kill the Messiah through Herod. When the wise men did not return to report on the whereabouts of the Messiah, Herod went on a killing spree and killed all male infants in Bethlehem under the age of 2, believing that the Messiah would be among them. The only acceptable response to the manifestation of God’s glory is seen in the response of the shepherds and the wise men. When the shepherds heard the good news of the birth of Christ they immediately went to Bethlehem and worshipped the Messiah. When the wise men saw the star, they rejoiced and travelled to worship Him because He was also their Lord. The good news of the grace of God is to all people.
Jesus Christ is the light of the world. He is the only light that can deal with the darkness of sin. We can still see the evidence of spiritual darkness just by looking at ourselves and around us. The feeling of guilt and the committing of sin after sin and trying to make things right with God in our own strength points us to the darkness that is still around us. Jesus Christ came to do what we could not do. He came to bring us out of darkness into His light. God has ordained Christ to be Lord and King. Our response to Him should be that of wise men and women who seek and find Him.