Monday, January 18, 2010

January 17, 2010, Second Sunday after Epiphany, Exodus 33:12-23

And Moses said to Yahweh, "See, You Yourself say to me, ‘Bring up this people,' yet You Yourself have not made known to me that which You will send with me. And You Yourself have said, ‘I have known you in name, and also you have found grace in my sight.' And now, if You please, I find grace in Your sight, make known to me, please, Your ways, and I may know You, in order that I may find grace in your sight, and you regard that Your people (is) this nation." And He said, "My face will walk along, and I will give you rest." Then he said to Him, "If there isn't Your face walking along, do not lead us up from here. And in what may it be known then, that I have found grace in your sight, I and Your people? Isn't it in your walking with us and we will be distinct, I and Your people, from all the peoples which are on the face of the earth? And Yahweh said to Moses, "Also, this word which you speak, I will do, for you have found grace in My sight, and I have known you in name." And he said, "Show me, please, Your glory." And He said, "I Myself will cause all my goodness to pass over your face, and I will call in the name of Yahweh to your face, and I will be gracious to those which I will be gracious, and I will have compassion on those which I will have compassion." Yet He said, "You are not able to see My face, for no man is able to see me and live." And Yahweh said, "Look, a place with me, and you will stand on the rock. And it will be, in My glory passing over and I will place you in a cleft of the rock, and I will screen with My hand over you until I pass over. And I will remove My hand and You will see My back, yet My face, you will not see.

The third part of the Christmas cycle, the season of Epiphany is upon us. It is this unique season where Immanuel=God with us is manifest in the words & actions of Jesus. We know that God is with us, after all, we learned of His omni-presence back in Confirmation class. God is everywhere, and that includes being with us wherever we are. But Epiphany is about God actually showing that presence; and how God chooses to manifest His divine presence in Jesus may be a rather surprising thing!

The first thing we notice is how God doesn't choose to reveal his divine glory at the whim of men. He is no beck-and-call-God. Moses asked to behold God's glory on Mt. Sinai, but God says, "Not so fast, Moses!" Mary wanted Jesus to begin revealing His divine glory at the Cana wedding, but Jesus tells her that it isn't quite time yet. You too may want God to show Himself to you in some divine miracle, but He may be saying to you, "Not just now..." Be patient, for His ways are not our ways, after all.

God makes known to us His ways just as He did to Moses. His way of manifesting Himself to you today is through Jesus. Not with the pomp and circumstance we might desire. Jesus comes to be with you in the simplest way, in the plain water and words of your Baptism. In that sacrament, God is with us, cleansing us from all our unrighteousness, rescuing us from death and the devil, and giving life!

The second thing we note is how the LORD doesn't want to overwhelm us. We think we can handle all of the truth, but sometimes we aren't able to, just yet. Moses wasn't ready to see God's glorious face. The wedding guests weren't prepared as of yet for a flashy miracle either. Nor does God want you to be overwhelmed...just "whelmed". You may think you want Jesus to come to you in the most exciting and fascinating ways, but He knows best how *not* to come to you, as well as how *to* be with you.

Jesus' word reveals the very best way for Him to come to you. Your faith comes by hearing the gospel message of Christ's love for you from the cross. Your Savior comes to you in your ear each time you hear how He loves you enough to die in your place on Calvary's hill. Jesus comes to be with you whenever your sins are forgiven in Jesus' Name absolutely. Jesus' tender voice is heard in His word.

One more thing we recognize is that God comes to us in unusual and amazing ways. Moses never expected to be placed in the cleft of a rock to see the back-side of God pass by in front of him. The wedding guests were all pleasantly surprised to find such high quality wine available at the end of the wedding feast. You too may be wanting God to act and show Himself to you in a particular way, yet when the LORD does arrive, you ought not be disappointed in the way He chooses to come to you.

For the flesh and blood Jesus chooses to come to you in a special way, with His body masked under the bread, and His blood hidden in the cup of the Lord's Supper. He comes to be with you there for a single purpose–to forgive you your sins. And not just some sins, not the few sins you would offer to Him, but Jesus comes to take away all of your sins in Holy Communion, taking them to the cross.

Hymns for today from LSB:
#408 Come Join in Cana's Wedding Feast
#402 The Only Son From Heaven
#399 The Star Proclaims the Kings is Here

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