Reflections: The Third Sunday of Epiphany

Today’s Reading: Matthew 4:12-25

Daily Lectionary: Joel 2:1-17, Romans 11:1-24

“Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. During the season of Epiphany, we rejoice that the light of Christ shines to people who are in darkness. When Jesus began His earthly ministry, He went about Galilee preaching, teaching, and healing. The people who heard Him were called to repent of their sins and they found forgiveness and life from Jesus, the King who had come to save.

As Jesus did this work, He was not alone. He first found Peter and Andrew, James and John, and He called them to follow Him. Each time Jesus entered a village, they were with Him. They heard each sermon, listened to people ask questions, and learned from Jesus’ answers. They watched Him have compassion on the sick and oppressed and saw His power to save. And each sermon, each answer, each miracle strengthened their faith in Jesus.

After Jesus ascended, the light of Christ continued to shine through the ministry of the apostles as they witnessed the resurrection of Christ to all the people they encountered. They preached what Jesus preached, taught as He taught, and had mercy like He did. They brought Jesus to people. But the light of Christ needed to continue to shine even after the Apostles died — so the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles and evangelists to write down what Jesus had done and how they had carried His light wherever they preached.

The light of Christ continues to shine forth in the Gospels and Epistles in the New Testament to all who hear them preached and to all who read them. As you read how Jesus called the people of Galilee to repent of their sins and believe in Him, you know that Jesus is also calling you to repent and believe. When Jesus teaches in the synagogues of that region, you know He is in your church on Sunday, teaching you through the preaching of the Word of God and blessing you in the sacraments. When Jesus has compassion on people in need, you know He invites you to come to Him in prayer with your needs.

Jesus is not far away. He came near to the people of His day in His daily work and life. He stays near to you today through the blessings of life and forgiveness that He gives you in the Word and Sacraments. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. 

Almighty and everlasting God, mercifully look upon our infirmities and stretch forth the hand of Your majesty to heal and defend us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

-Pastor Jeffrey Horn is Pastor at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, Escondido, CA,

Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.

Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.