Evangelical Lutheran Diocese of North America

Festival of the Epiphany of our Lord

Posted on January 6, 2020 by Pastor Dulas under Devotions
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Scripture: St. Luke 3:10-14 (NKJV)
3:10 So the people asked him, saying, “What shall we do then?”
11 He answered and said to them, “He who has two tunics, let him give to him who has none; and he who has food, let him do likewise.”
12 Then tax collectors also came to be baptized, and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?”
13 And he said to them, “Collect no more than what is appointed for you.”
14 Likewise the soldiers asked him, saying, “And what shall we do?”
So he said to them, “Do not intimidate anyone or accuse falsely, and be content with your wages.”
“What shall I, frail man, be pleading? Who for me be interceding when the just are mercy needing?” (TLH 607:7)
Having heard John’s declaration, the people wonder how they can survive God’s judgment. Consider what he prescribes: To everyone who has, he instructs them to demonstrate trust that the Lord will continue to provide apart from “any merit or worthiness in me” by being His instrument to provide for others. To those who work for the occupying Roman government (and are often known for abusing their office) he teaches them to demonstrate trust that the Lord will continue to provide by helping their neighbor to improve and protect his income, rather than seeking to get ahead by robbing him (even if with legal justification), or by taking away his good name before the governing authority.
In short, John teaches each to do what the Commandments say to his station in life, but not in the way the Pharisees do (not praying publicly for social acclaim, and so on). Rather, they are guided to do the work of the Commandments from fearing and loving God, who has made it clear from the beginning of the Decalogue that we are to “fear, love, and trust in Him”—the Lord our God, who delivers us from bondage—“above all things.”
All the faithful should live rejoicing in the truth of today’s festival: in the name of Jesus, even you who were Gentiles according to the flesh now have the one righteousness that surpasses that of the Scribes and Pharisees—the Christ Himself!
We pray: “King of majesty tremendous, who dost free salvation send us, Fount of pity, Thou befriend us!” Amen. (TLH 607:8)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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