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Epiphanies Happen Here

January 23, 2022 Pastor: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Christ Lutheran Church
Cleveland, Ohio
January 23, 2022
by: Rev. Dean Kavouras

Epiphany 3
Epiphany Happens Here

And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. (Nehemiah 8:3 DKV)

Jesus rolled up the scroll and handed it to the attendant, then he sat down, and every eye in the synagogue was transfixed on him. (Luke 4:20 – DKV)
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To put things in simple terms, Dear Christians, Adam by his transgression cut off himself, and all his descendants, from the Source of life.

With the introduction of sin humanity became like a Christmas tree. Once the tree is separated from its roots it can continue on for a while. It is still beautiful, and fills the air with its sweet fragrance. And the tree, though dead, thinks that it is still alive; because as soon as you bring it home and put it in water it starts taking in nourishment and, continues to do what evergreen trees do.

For a while.

And the same can be said of us: unless we become reconnected to our true Father by: “Man Christ Jesus” who is the One mediator between God and man.

A few weeks ago the church was transfixed on the Lord’s Holy Birth which we celebrated for 12 glorious days; because nothing can steal Christmas from us. Not “grinches,” and certainly not epidemics.

After those 12 days the church enters the Epiphany season. What does epiphany mean? Epiphany means: Aha! Now I see. Now I understand.

In this season the church reveals precisely who the Christmas Child is.

Not merely a Baby born in poverty to humble parents, but very God of very God: come to us in human flesh to “visit and redeem his people.” (Luke 1:76)

And so in this season the church gathers certain lessons from Scripture, and matrixes them together, so that by them she can show all who care to know, exactly how God loved the world: namely by giving his One and Only Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (John 3:16) So that whoever believes in him, will not perish, but have everlasting life!

In previous weeks we heard the liturgy of the Lord’s baptism, and last week of his chief miracle: changing water into wine. We heard of the 12 year old Jesus teaching the teachers in the Temple. And today we learn of Jesus, some 18 years later, teaching people again, and showing himself to be the fulfillment of all the promises God ever made. And next week we worship Jesus who expels stubborn demons, even multiple demons, bent on destroying the lives of his people.

All this is read aloud so that the world will see the zealous Savior at work. He who will pay the ultimate price, not for his own sins because he has none, but for
ours! And THAT is the liberation that Isaiah predicts, and Jesus fulfills in our hearing this day.

And so may we, and all the world, know that if anyone is oppressed by sin, death, or the wicked devil; if they are pushed to edge; at the end of their rope; surrounded by packs of wild dogs, and by the “bulls of Bashan” as David cries out in Psalm 22 …

… if they are pushed so hard and about to be thrown over a cliff – as they tried to do to Jesus in Capernaum – let them know that with the help of the Lord Christ they can walk to safety, right through the midst of the most pressing enemies.

Moreover Jesus restores sight to the blind. And so if anyone is Woke let her pay attention to the Scriptures as read and interpreted by Ezra the Priest, and by Jesus our High Priest, who opens the eyes of those are who are dead in sin, to the eternal joy of “the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.”

If you don’t already know it let us clearly articulate today that those who are Woke are actually in a deep, deep, deep coma concerning all that is alive, good, true, right and beautiful.

Their seamless ideology is without a single crack by which the light might enter in.

But Jesus opens the eyes of the blind to see their sins: which angered the people and drove them to murder … because nobody wants to hear about his sins. Nor would God’s people had they not been enlightened by the true teaching of the Bible – and been received by God as his beloved sons in baptism, which makes us his beloved sons.

All three of today’s readings conspire to teach us these things.

In them the church explicitly learns what she already knows. That epiphanies happen here! That Divine Service is a gracious encounter with God, and as such reconnects us to the source of our Life, and imparts the remission of sins, life, glory, peace and salvation to us.

In today’s Old Testament reading we find that epiphanies happen when: “The ears of all the people are attentive to the Book of the Law;” (Neh. 8:3) and in today’s gospel that epiphanies happen when “… every eye in the synagogue is transfixed on Jesus.”

As we hear the Old Testament reading we find that the structure of our worship today is the same as that of the restored people of God 2,500 years ago. They gathered. They brought the Book of the Law into their midst, even as we do in the gospel procession today. They listened to it read for many hours, and then preached upon for many more.

Then they all fell down on their faces and worshiped God. Our version of that is to kneel at the Lord’s altar in pure worship, praise, glory and thanksgiving, and to gratefully eat the rich food, and drink the sweet wine of the Lord’s resurrected Flesh and Blood.

We see another perfect worship service in today’s gospel. Every eye transfixed upon Jesus who was present among them with his Flesh and Blood to save.

The same is true today. He himself is present when the priest leads us in the confessional prayer, and bestows Christ’s own absolution on us. May every eye be transfixed on him. And again as he leads us in worship, and as he consecrates and distributes the Holy Supper which is unique all the cosmos.

We find the same in today’s Epistle lesson in which St. Paul teaches us about the Body of Christ. When Paul uses the word BODY here he does not mean the organization or the “body politic.” But he means the resurrected Body of Christ of which we are all parts and members; because he is in us, and we in him.
WE are:

the eyes of Christ
the hands of Christ
the feet of Christ
the ears of Christ

made so by the Holy Spirit of God – and each one of us is a vitally important part of His BODY.

And so while the Lord is here present to reveal himself by Word and Sacrament; we see him just as clearly by the presence of one another: fellow members of his Mystical Body the church. No wonder, then, at the happiness with which we greet one another every Lord’s Day. Amen