Sunday, January 12 2020
Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning wick he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth; and the coastlands wait for his teaching (Isaiah 42:1-3).
The Gospel of Mathew weaves together scripture from both the Old and the New Testament. Mispat in Hebrew means justice. Justice is relationship with God that brings the servant to do the will of God. As we explore the Gospel of Matthew in the coming year, we will constantly be looking at Jesus as the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. At St. John’s, we celebrate our 275th by following our mission, To Know Christ, and Make Him Known. Please draw nearer to God by listening closely to the Word of God in the coming year that we might know Christ intimately and witness to his love, hope, and mercy.
Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem (Acts 10:34-39).
At St. John’s, we proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord of all. By this we mean that the grace and forgiveness of God is offered to everyone. At St. John’s, we proclaim that “all are welcome” which means that we believe that God shows no partiality. This does not mean that God approves of everything that people do, but that we are called to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. Part of living in community is understanding that we do not all agree on what is right and acceptable to God, but that through the Word of God in the person of Jesus Christ, we can get a glimpse of God’s grace and mercy.
And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well please” (Matthew 3:16-17).
Jesus comes out of the river, still wet from the waters of baptism and goes to the margins of society. He heals the sick, gives hope to the poor, and becomes the servant that he is called to be. Jesus then teaches how to give your life for the sake of others. This is what we mean by the Epiphany. God’s will is manifested in the actions of the Son. Jesus doesn’t worry about what the powerful are going to do to him, he prays and heals everyone he meets with a broken heart, every person that is lonely, sick, hungry, alienated and suffering. Jesus gets into the muddy waters of our messy lives and shows us the way to new life. God up in heaven loves us so much, that God shows us this path of emerging from this water into new life. In Baptism we are fully initiated into the body of Christ by the pouring of the water and by the indwelling of the Spirit. God has acted in our lives in the waters of Baptism, filled us with the Holy Spirit, and we have the power to emerge, as faithful witnesses to the love of God.
In Christ’s love,