Today’s Reading: Matthew 2:1-12
When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. (Matthew 2:10)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Why not rejoice with “exceedingly great joy”? Though they came from so far away, the wise men were certainly included in the angelic announcement made at Jesus’ birth: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11).
Rejoice, all of them. And, rejoice, you, too. For God scoops you up with the birth of His Son and includes you, too, in that promise. Here, in this Child, is God’s answer to all of your sin, whoever you are. Here, Jesus, is God’s answer to your own unbelief. Here is God’s answer to all the darkness and misery of yesterday’s, today’s, and tomorrow’s sin and unbelief. For here, in Jesus, is the Good Shepherd who “lays down His life for the sheep” (John 10:11) that they, the wandering and unimpressive, now have eternal life.
It’s no ordinary joy, then, that God splashes onto you every day in your Baptism. It’s “exceedingly great joy.” It’s Jesus joy. Jesus is born to live for you, perfect faith in God and perfect love for neighbor, He not only sacrifices for you on the Cross, He now washes it over you every day in your Baptism. Your past? Holy in God’s sight. Your present? Holy. Your tomorrow? Holy. Your last day? You guessed it–holy now in God’s sight. So great is this joy.
No, this is no ordinary joy. It is exceedingly great joy. So great, God gives you a pastor to deliver it to you every Sunday in the Absolution and in the preaching of the Gospel. So great, God even prepares a Table of this joy with Jesus’ own Body and Blood, “for you, for the forgiveness of sins.”
No matter the distance, then, no matter how far away you feel from God, the star, the wise men, the Cross, and the Word, water, and Supper of Jesus all announce: “Fear not. The promise is for you, too. Always for you, too.” In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (Collect for the Epiphany of our Lord)
-Rev. Bradley Drew is pastor of Mount Olive Lutheran Church in Metairie, LA.
Audio Reflections Speaker: Pastor Duane Bamsch