Lutheran Worship and Resources

Friday, January 7, 2022

The Epiphany of Our Lord

 


The Hymn # 132                O God of God, O Light of Light
The Order of Vespers p. 41
The Psalmody

The Lections

Isaiah 60:1-6

Matthew 2:1-12

The Sermon Hymn #131  The Star Proclaims   

The Star of Bethlehem Made a Comeback

The Prayers and Lord’s Prayer p. 44
The Collect for Peace p. 45
The Benediction p. 45
The Hymn # 127        As With Gladness Men of Old



Announcements and Prayers

  • We are looking at camera and broadcasting options.
  • Two are facing unConstitutional mandates. Keep them in your prayers.
  • Monday and next Monday - Cataract operations, Pastor Jackson
  • Medical issues - Pastor K, Doc Lito, Pastor James Schrader and his wife Chris
  • Callie, C, and a family with three boys, one with a very rare disorder - Aaron.

 

KJV Isaiah 60

Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. 2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. 3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. 4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. 5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.

KJV Matthew 2

2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him. 3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. 5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. 12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.


The Star of Bethlehem Made a Comeback

KJV Matthew 2:1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, 2 Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

Kepler, the astronomer was considered a crank, a "mystic," someone who believed in miracles. He carefully calculated and found that there was indeed a Star of Bethlehem at the time of Jesus' birth. That was treated as mythology as late as this generation. Roland Bainton, who was trained in New Testament rationalism, scoffed at the Star and the Wise Men.

The Star did appear, although there are a few possible candidates. Planetariums now get long lines explaining that to people. The people believe and what they believe is factually argued - the Star of Bethlehem made a big comeback through science.

As I mentioned before, I ran into an astronomer - on the Internet - who was disgusted the Star of Bethlehem was filling the planetariums. He did not think the astronomers should pander to the public. So he was blinded to the truth.

One point of this miracle is to show that Jesus came as the Savior of all mankind. He came from a tiny, hardly known religion, and was to go to the Jews first, then the Gentiles, like Paul. His first efforts were to reveal Himself to His own people, as shown by the shepherds seeing and hearing the angel chorus.

In this case, the Gentiles came to Him, as prophesied in the Old Testament. 

3 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.

The problem with being powerful is that there is so far to fall from that throne. Herod was all the more anxious because he was a pagan ruler. He knew the scholars were reading the future and knew what was coming. One could say that he believed, but only for his own good. That only made his actions worse. That will be true of many leaders today. No matter how much they escape their deserved fate, they will still have to face God Himself. Their pride and arrogance will do them no good, only harm, even if they grovel and make a show of convenient contrition.

This is where we see the importance of believing like a small child. They have the IQ and they grasp the message easily. The only fault they have is being impressed with adult wisdom. One mostly absent day put it this way, "No offense pastor, but I love the children's Christmas pageant is so pure coming from them. It is the Gospel. They are not doing it for a living - excuse me pastor. They are speaking from the heart."


There are so many excuses to be made, like the now-forgotten scientists in the age of Kepler. They agreed with one thing - Kepler was a nut.

That is why so many people concede that the Great Pyramid is solid poof of something, but nothing or nobody on earth.


5 And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, 6 And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. 7 Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. 

All through the Bible we have solid facts about the future. Some want to believe only what fits into their mindset, discarding the rest. But God's Word is so clear and powerful  that we can trust every single passage. What seems difficult now becomes much clearer as we deal with its message, over and over. 

The miracle of water turned into wine. At first, we are very impressed that the Son of God could do something like that. The actual miracle remains in our hearts and then we realize it is also an analogy to marriage. It starts out as romance (or even an arrangement, as they do among the very wealthy) But with Gospel help and maturing faith, the husband and wife see that this ordinary institution, only water to most people, can turn into something quite miraculous through God's power.  We learn to love and forgive, so love grows stronger. We teach God's Word to children and that bears fruit. We go through sorrow, challenges, failures, and successes, and realize God's role in it all.

Herod wanted only evil, which he doubtless saw as protecting the kingdom for Rome. Maybe he heard the marching footsteps of the elite soldiers in his mind. They could depose him. They were coming, but later when conflict turned into civil war, after the resurrection of Jesus plus 40 years. 

He only wanted to know the signs so he could kill, but like all evil people, he died anyway.

8 And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. 9 When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.

Bainton was amused by the idea of a star moving. Planets move relative to our place on earth, and that is why they are called planets (Greek for wanderer). If this was a conjunction of two or three planets, they would certainly would have seen this strange and exciting movement.

People hardly look up into the skies, partly because of light pollution, trees blocking the view, and clouds.  In those days they had almost no illumination in a dry climate with few clouds. Then the sky is spectacular and changes are impossible to miss. 

The Star led the Wise men because they had faith in what God was doing.

10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. 11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh. 

47. However, that heretics originated from the Scriptures, is true. From where else should they have come? There is no other book that teaches the Christian faith but the Scriptures. Therefore, as no one can become a Christian except by the Scriptures, so also can no one become a heretic but by the same Scriptures. Christ is indeed a sign spoken against and set for the falling and rising of many. Should we on that account reject him or set up another Christ by his side? You do not at the same time need wine and bread, but should we on that account quit tilling the farm and the vineyards or start others besides them? Satan is the enemy of the Scriptures and therefore he has decried and calumniated them by this clamor and blasphemy.

48. But what does this Gospel teach? In the first place, these wise men did not inquire after the chief priests and do not ask: Where is Annas or Caiaphas, or how did this or that man live? But they ask: Where is the newborn king of the Jews? Yes, Christ permits them, as a warning to us, to go astray and to seek him in Jerusalem in the holy city among the priests, the learned and the royalty. He is not found in the holy place nor in the holy customs. Nor did they receive as an answer any human opinions, but only what the Scriptures say about Christ, which alone are to be sought among the holy people and in holy places.

They wandered around at first, because they went to the natural places to find out - the cultural centers in Jerusalem. So we wander around in life until we realize that the sole source of God's wisdom is God's Word. Many times the great and educated have to be pushed aside because they do not teach the truth. We still have the clear Word of Jesus Christ, which can be discerned in the midst of all the turmoil.

Let's take a poll. All of the institutions are KJV-Nevers. They will allow any translation or paraphrase except the KJV. They go easy on the "living" (verbose) and "amplified" (extremely verbose) versions. But the KJV? NO!

These are men and women with multiple degrees. They will gladly offer that information. They want the best Bible text of science and discovery - and they have it - the Majority or Byzantine Text. That text keeps reproducing itself because it is the text of the Christian Church of believers. 

Their so-called scientific texts are 1) the fraudulent Sinaiticus and 2) the Vaticanus forgery. Neither one has any descendants, so there are two mysteries. 
A. Why did no one make any copies of these great, wonderful, marvelous, best ever texts of our New Testament? They have no children, not a good way to deal with the best texts, eh? 
B. Manuscripts written on leather should not have lasted 1400-1500 years. They would have been used to death, right? 
C. One man wrote a letter to the newspaper in London, saying, "I created that Bible called Sinaiticus, as a present to the Russian Tzar."

And that is proving to be true. The previously despised and ignored Majority Text, which is the basis for the KJV, is now being accepted by serious scholars as the only possible NT text.

The NIV, ESV, RSV, NRSV, and many others could become as ridiculous and out of place as The Cottonpatch Bible (done in Southern lingo) and The Women's Bible (100 years old, changing words for the early Suffragettes). They are hulahoops, not the Holy Bible.

12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

They took the Gospel back with them. Who knows how many became Christian believers or preserved the Faith in that land, which may have been relatively close or far away, just as we are far away from that original place of revelation.


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