Jesus is the Savior of All People
These are the readings for the Epiphany of our Lord.
God’s Word for This Week
The season of Epiphany (the Greek word for “appearance”) recalls how Jesus proved himself to be the Son of God and the Savior of all people. The Festival of the Epiphany of Our Lord is celebrated on January 6, the twelfth day of Christmas, and is often called the Gentile Christmas. In the lessons and the Gospel, God makes it abundantly clear that his salvation is not only for his chosen Old Testament people but also for the Gentiles (non-Jews). Jesus is the Savior of all people!
Traditional First Lesson – Isaiah 60:1-6
To whom is the Lord speaking in these verses?
The Lord is speaking to the New Testament Christian church, which has Jesus as its head. Jesus once said that he is the light of the world (John 8:12). He also said that Christians are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). When the prophet announces that “nations will come to your light,” he is speaking of Christ and the Christian church in the New Testament era, when people throughout the world would come to faith in Jesus.
From where will people come to fill up the New Testament Christian church?
From all nations, both Jews and Gentiles. (See Isaiah 60:3-4.)
Supplemental First Lesson – 1 Kings 10:1-9
Who came to visit Solomon? Why?
The Queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon, both to test him with hard questions and to bring him costly gifts.
How did King Solomon compare to what she had heard about him in her home country?
Solomon far exceeded what the queen had heard about him.
What did she say in the end?
In the end the queen praised the LORD for all he had given to Solomon. She gave the LORD all the credit for his eternal love to Israel.
Second Lesson – Ephesians 3:2-12
Who wrote the letter to the Ephesians? (cf. 3:1)
St. Paul wrote Ephesians, probably during his first imprisonment in Rome in about A.D. 60. The congregation in Ephesus was made up of both Jews and Gentiles, two groups that often disliked one another. Paul wanted these two groups to live peaceably with one another. (See Ephesians 2:14-18.)
What job had God given to this apostle? (See Ephesians 3:8-9.)
Paul’s specific mission was to proclaim the good news about Jesus to the Gentiles (non-Jews). The fact that Jesus was the Savior of all people, and not just the Jews, was the big “mystery” that God wanted Paul to proclaim.
Gospel – Matthew 2:1-12
From where did the Magi come to worship the newborn Savior?
From the east, perhaps from Persia or Arabia.
Were the Magi Jews or Gentiles?
We really don’t know, since the Scriptures don’t make that clear. It has always been assumed that they were Gentiles.
What gifts did they bring Jesus? (cp. Isaiah 60:6.)
They brought him gold, incense, and myrrh—all quite expensive items. The prophet Isaiah had predicted such gifts in Isaiah 60:6.