Daily Devotion for January 6, 2013
Feast of the Epiphany
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for Sunday Worship
O God, who makes us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ; Give me this day such blessings through my worship of you, that the days to come may be spent in your service; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer for All People
O God, the creator and preserver of all mankind, I humbly pray to you for all sorts and conditions of humanity; that it might please you to make your Word known to them and bring your saving health to all nations. In particular I pray for the entirety of your church, in all of its many forms; that it may be guided and governed by your Holy Spirit, and that all who profess your name and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth. May all of us live in the unity of spirit our faith in Christ provides to us, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life.
Now to Him who has given me grace in accordance with His gospel, in keeping with the revelation of the mystery hidden for many ages past, but now revealed and made known by the command of the eternal God, so that all mankind might find the obedience that comes from faith; to the only God, the God of wisdom and truth, be glory forever through His only son, Jesus Christ.
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
Psalm 100 (NKJV)
Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!
Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.
Know that the Lord, He is God;
It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves;
We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
Enter into His gates with thanksgiving,
And into His courts with praise.
Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.
For the Lord is good;
His mercy is everlasting,
And His truth endures to all generations.
Division of People over Jesus
On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, "If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Some of the people therefore, when they heard these words, were saying, "This certainly is the Prophet." Others were saying, "This is the Christ."
Still others were saying, "Surely the Christ is not going to come from Galilee, is He? Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the descendants of David, and from Bethlehem, the village where David was?"
So a division occurred in the crowd because of Him.
Notes on the Scripture
Epiphany is an unusual feast day, because it celebrates a concept: the time when Christ became known among men as the Son of God, when people realized that the physical person of Jesus and the spirit of the Word were the same.
Different churches choose to illustrate the Epiphany with different moments in Christ's life. Most commonly, Epiphany is celebrated on January 6, representing the date when the Magi visited the Christ child. Some churches count Christ's baptism by John the Baptist, when the Holy Spirit descended upon him in the form of a dove, as the Epiphany; many Protestant churches celebrate it as a season, extending from the end of Christmas (January 6) to Ash Wednesday.
The event described today is recounted only in the Gospel of John. Christ, who has begun to be hunted by the Pharisees of Judea for arrest, has traveled secretly from Galilee to Judea during a Jewish celebration, the Feast of Booths. (The Festival of Booths, or Festival of Tabernacles, was a sort of Hebrew Thanksgiving in October, a week-long harvest feast. It was one of three annual festivals where families were supposed to travel to Jerusalem to celebrate.) When he begins to teach, he is recognized by the crowd. Some of them marvel at him and come to realize that he is the Christ, while others do not believe.
Christ uses the image of thirst in his teaching. The thirst is spiritual thirst, and Christ promises that those who thirst will not find simply a drink, but a river of living water, by believing in him.
Today as much as then, the world can seem to be a spiritual desert. Millions or billions of people seem to wander around in a daze, confused and lost, not able to quench their thirst for truth and justice, searching fruitlessly for meaning in their lives. They are dying of thirst, and yet they seem unaware that water even exists, right at hand. They reject the one compass that we have, the Bible, that would lead them out of the desert to the clear, pure water of life.
Celebration of they Epiphany is a day of great happiness. Today is the day we rejoice in our own salvation, and in the possibility that others may find the way. Let us give thanks and praise, with light and joyful hearts; today we remember the time in which we and others realized that Christ is God, and found the water of life.