The Epiphany of Our Lord
“O Come Let Us Adore Him!”
December 31, 2017
Sermon Text: Matthew 2:1-12
Peace be unto you from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Dearly Beloved of the Lord,
So, what gives? From the title of this sermon, one would think that what follows is a “Christmas message.” After all, it is the well-known refrain to the great hymn, yes, Christmas hymn, “O Come, All Ye Faithful.”
Here is the thing, the adoration of our Lord did not begin and certainly did not end with the angels and all of the heavenly host as they sang out, rang out the glorious news of Christ’s birth.
It did not end with the shepherds out in the fields, watching their flocks by night. Those who heard the news and came to the Baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
It did not end with Simeon and Anna who are given the great honor of seeing, meeting and greeting the Christ Child in the temple.
It did not end with the wise men whose account we consider this morning and all who will have the great epiphany… the greatest of epiphanies… that this Jesus is truly the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world… that He is Immanuel, God with us… God in the flesh.
It did not end with the Apostles, with the first believers, those who made up the Early Christian Church, many of whom were martyred for their faith in their Savior, Lord and King.
It did not end with the faithful in each and every successive century… in all of the years now past. It did not end with those who have gone on before us and are with Christ in heavenly bliss… fathers, mothers, grandparents, sisters and brothers, wives and husbands, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews as well as good friends, dear friends and acquaintances who now rest from their labors… including those who entered into glory over this year which now comes to a close.
For however long the Almighty, God our Father, chooses… the adoration of His only begotten Son will not end here on earth until, literally, the end of this earth. And then, it will continue forever in heaven. It will be ongoing in the new heaven and the new earth to come with all of the saints, God’s precious children, who reside there.
My friends, throughout time and into eternity… for all eternity… there will be those who will come… and adore Him… Christ the King.
For one last time this year, right here, right now… we come to do just that… to adore Him… to worship Him… to worship Jesus Christ with fellow believers in this place and throughout Christendom… and this, with angels and archangels and with all the company of heaven whose presence is not seen, but are most certainly with us… here… and now.
And I pray that before the day is out, before the clock strikes twelve and “the ball drops,” that in private devotion, we may individually or as a couple or as a family, come together and adore Him whose Name is truly above all names.
Indeed, in regard to the adoration rightly due our Savior, St. Paul reminds us about Him… about Jesus… who, “being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians. 2:8-11)
Wise men… who very well may have literally been kings in their own right… come a great distance over a great amount of time, to bow the knee before Christ the King.
They probably left their country soon after the star appeared. They came to worship the baby Jesus, but by the time they arrive, Scripture no longer calls our Lord a newborn baby, but a young child. And He, along with Mary and Joseph are now in a house.
The wise men come to find, come to adore He who is born King of the Jews. As such, they have no interest in or business with the one humanly appointed king, namely Herod, other than to inquire of him where they can find the true King… the Christ Child.
If anyone should have known, it should have been Herod. But he does not know. “And assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’” (Matthew 2:4-6)
My friends, Herod is the odd man out in all of this. His own chief priests and scribes knew. The wise men knew. Mary knew. Joseph knew. The shepherds along with Simeon and Anna knew. Zechariah and Elizabeth knew and even in her womb, her unborn son, John, who will be known as “the baptizer” knew… and leaped for joy.
And it is all because of the Word of God… either spoken to them from the lips of angels or proclaimed to them in Holy Scripture. They knew. They were graciously given this wonderful epiphany… one precious soul after another… coming to this glorious revelation… having this divine illumination by the mighty work of the Holy Spirit. One precious soul after another coming to know. One precious soul after another coming to believe.
They wholeheartedly embraced both the revelation and the revealed One and so many we, my friends… so may we always… now, more than ever. The Spirit-filled revelation that moves us to come and to encourage others to come with us, saying to them and to all, “O come let us adore Him.”
O come let us adore Him now and throughout this next year… if there is to be a next year for us and for the world. We do not know and it does not matter. This matters! That whatever time is left, we are where we are right now… worshiping the Lord, singing His praises, giving Him all glory and honor, and laying before Him our treasures as did some very special guests so long ago.
It does not matter if we are Jews or, as with the wise men, gentiles. Whether we are rich as kings or poor as paupers. We all have treasures to lay before the King, the best… the firstfruits of everything the Lord has graciously given to us.
We are truly blessed, dear brothers and sisters. And this to a person… each and every one of us. Blessed in the Lord… blessed by the Lord. It is how we end this year and how we will most certainly begin a new one. Blessed!
How could it possibly be that we have anything greater to say to ourselves and to others, than… “O come let us adore Him.” Amen.
May the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus, unto life everlasting. Amen.
“O Come Let Us Adore Him” 12/31/17 The Rev. Mark H. Hein, St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church, Lockport, IL