+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Opening (A Collect for Peace – Tuesday)
O God, the author of peace and lover of concord, to know you is eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom: Defend us, your humble servants, in all assaults of our enemies; that we, surely trusting in your defense, may not fear the power of any adversaries, through the might of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Morning Reading – Matthew 2:1-15 (NLT)
Visitors from the East
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was everyone in Jerusalem. He called a meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law and asked, “Where is the Messiah supposed to be born?”
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
‘And you, O Bethlehem in the land of Judah, are not least among the ruling cities of Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”
Then Herod called for a private meeting with the wise men, and he learned from them the time when the star first appeared. Then he told them, “Go to Bethlehem and search carefully for the child. And when you find him, come back and tell me so that I can go and worship him, too!”
After this interview the wise men went their way. And the star they had seen in the east guided them to Bethlehem. It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were filled with joy! They entered the house and saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route, for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
The Escape to Egypt
After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. “Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said. “Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother, and they stayed there until Herod’s death. This fulfilled what the Lord had spoken through the prophet: “I called my Son out of Egypt.”
King Jesus: Love him/Hate him.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod.
– Matthew 2:1 –
Matthew cites Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem as another prophetic validation of his Kingship. But what kind of reception would King Jesus receive? The Wise Men loved him, and Herod hated him.
+ The Wise Men recognized that there had been a cosmic announcement of a newborn Jewish King – one who was worthy of their worship, even though they were Gentiles.
+ King Herod discovered that Bethlehem was the prophesied birthplace of Jewish rulers – one who threatened his position and authority, one who must be eliminated.
And so it is today: Believers welcome his kingship and worship him, willing accepting his teaching and authority. While unbelievers reject his authority and go to great lengths to eliminate him in every area of public life.
Questions for consideration:
- Why do you think the wise men traveled such a great distance to find Jesus? What were they searching for? Please explain.
- What were you searching for when you found Jesus? How have you worshiped him and accepted his authority in your life? Please explain.
- What is Jesus leading you to be, say, or do? Where does Jesus want you to trust him, to follow him? Please explain.
- Why do you think that unbelievers go to such great lengths to eliminate Jesus from public discourse? Please explain.
Morning Prayer: Epiphany
O God, by the leading of a star you manifested your only Son to the peoples of the earth: Lead us, who know you now by faith, to your presence, where we may see your glory face to face.
+ Fill us with wonder, that we may fall down before you in worship.
+ Deliver us from evil, that we may welcome your Kingship over us.
Through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
“King of Kings” – Hillsong Worship
May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen
Categories: Life in Christ