Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christ for the World

The Epiphany of the Lord

This Sunday, the second reading will be from Eph 3:2-3a, 5-6.

The first Messianic prophecy in the bible occurs in Genesis 3:15. What do you suppose Adam and Eve would have said and done if God had unfolded for them the full plan for salvation right then? Do you think they could have possibly understood it all? Could they have even taken it all in?

Certainly not. At the time, they didn’t even have any idea what this thing called “dying” was, only that it would be necessary for them to one day do it, and it was a punishment.

God has, throughout the history of humanity, revealed himself to mankind, until ultimately, we were ready to receive the whole plan. God chose Abraham, and his descendants to be his chosen people, revealed his laws to them in the desert, and chastened them throughout history whenever they drifted away to the service of other gods. And with each event, he revealed to this chosen people more of himself, and more of the plan, all the while leaving the rest of the world in the dark.

Public revelation was closed with the completion of the New Testament. But now Christians are in very much the same place as the Jews had been in salvation history, right up to the coming of Christ. “Darkness covers the Earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory.” We have the light and can see to walk a clear path.

The earliest Christians were a sect of Judaism. Isaiah prophesied that Israel, his chosen people would lead all of the nations of the earth to him. The Great Commission can be understood as an extension of the prophecy about Israel. The chosen people of God - at least the ones who accepted the Messiah - have worked hard to spread the word about him to the nations. Gentiles, too.

Most Christians, nowadays, are not converts from Judaism. Most of us are converts from something else - somewhere up the way in our family tree. This is because that first generation of apostles wisely discerned God’s will for the church that it be open for all of mankind.

In this Sunday’s second reading, Paul declares that it is God’s will that the church must call all of the nations to repent of their sins and come seeking the Lord, in the very same way that the three wise men came seeking the new king.

Let us pray, thanking God that the salvation that has been made available to all the nations through the perfect sacrifice of Christ our Lord. Let us pray that we might manifest true gratitude.

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