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They will walk in the light of His birth

Isaiah 60:1-6

Pastor David Ernst

First Sunday of Epiphany
Epiphany Lutheran Mission of La Caramuca  
Barinas, Venezuela

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Sun, Jan 6, 2019 

Grace and peace in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Today we celebrate the day of the Three Kings. As I have said to you, although in our nativity scenes the shepherds and the magi appear together around the Child Jesus, they did not all come the same night. The magi saw a star on Christmas Eve and began their journey, but they did not arrive until about two years later. We know this because King Herod asked the magi the date of the appearance of the star and then he ordered the slaughter of all the children in Bethlehem less than two years of age.

Also, manger scenes by tradition include camels. St. Matthew does not say anything about how the magi traveled, but Isaiah says: "And the Gentiles will walk in your light, and kings in the brightness of your birth." And more: "A multitude of camels will cover you, dromedaries of Midian and Efa.” And still more: "They will bring gold and incense, and they will publish the praises of Jehovah."

Gold, of course, is a precious metal. Incense is like perfume, myrrh a lotion for the skin. They were also precious treasures and gifts. When a king, or ambassador of a king, visited another king, he brought gifts like gold, incense and myrrh to honor the king. In addition, incense was used in the worship of the gods. Israel offered incense in the worship of the true God as we do. "I raised my prayer to you as incense, and lifted up from my hands like the oblation of the evening," says the psalmist (Psalm 141: 2).

This is the revelation of the mystery "that in other ages was not made known to the children of men, as it is now revealed to its holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit," as St. Paul says in our epistle (Ephesians 3: 1-12). God promised Abraham in his old age descendants like sand on the shores of the sea or like the stars in heaven. And more, from the descendants of Abraham would come a Descendant for which all the families of the earth would be blessed. The Jews were the descendants of Abraham by blood. Jesus Christ is the Descendant who by His blood blessed all nations.

The word "Gentiles" meant all the nations, tribes and families that were not part of the chosen people, Israel. However, God's plan of salvation was to incorporate all races and nations into His kingdom, his family. This is the mystery of which Paul speaks: "That the Gentiles be co-heirs and members of the same body, and share in his promise in Christ through the gospel."

Isaiah says: "For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and darkness the people." Because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, the human race lost its good relationship with God. And many people still walk in the dark. They do not know the true God; they only worship idols.

"But the LORD shall arise over you, and his glory shall be seen upon you." First the light of Christ shone on the shepherds, common men of the people of Israel. Then came the magi who represented the kings of the nations. Jesus preached the good news of the redemption to the Jews, but He sent his apostles to all the nations with these words: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to keep all the things that I have commanded you. "

Therefore, we begin this season of Epiphany, the season of the revelation of the divinity of Jesus Christ, with the baptism of Jesuly Marianyelis Fernández Torres and Josué Manuel Fernández Torres. In the water joined with the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will illuminate the souls of these children with the light of Christ, as He enlightens the souls of all of us in baptism.

The meaning of this mystery is still hidden from human reason apart from its revelation in Jesus Christ. But today Jesuly and Joshua will have the assurance that they are children of God by adoption in the blood of Christ with members of all nations.

Now we are all children of Abraham, by the blood of Christ. We are co-heirs and members of the same body, and co-participants in their promise in Christ for the gospel. The church is the new Israel because of the new covenant, and baptism is the entrance of the church. In this, we have the peace that surpasses all understanding. Amen.

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