Daily Devotion for January 6, 2011
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 of Thanks for God's Creation
O Lord God of Israel and God of the nations, you are the only God in heaven above or the earth below. I walk before you with all my heart. I bless your name in the morning when I rise and in the evening when I sleep, and all the day when your creation fills my eye. Bless me to remember you this day; when I see and hear the thousand miracles of your creation, let me see them anew, recalling that you have made them, and no other; that I may live in your presence among the common miracles I take for granted. Through Christ I pray,
Prayer for Purity of Thought
Almighty God, who alone gave me the breath of life, and alone can keep alive in me the holy desires your Spirit brings; I pray to you, in the name of your infinite compassion, to sanctify my thoughts and endeavors this day; that I may not begin to act without a pure intention or continue it without your blessing. And grant that, having the eyes of my mind opened to behold things invisible and unseen, I may in heart be inspired by your wisdom, and in work be upheld by your strength, and in the end be accepted by you as your faithful servant; through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Prayer for Life
O God, who for our redemption gave your only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.
Almighty God, by your Holy Spirit you have made me one with your saints in heaven and on earth. Grant that in my earthly pilgrimage I may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know myself to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. I ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns for ever and ever
(Additional prayers may be found at Prayers for All Occasions.)
God be with you 'til we meet again.
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, To all who call upon Him in truth.
He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them.
The Lord preserves all who love Him, But all the wicked He will destroy.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord, And all flesh shall bless His holy name Forever and ever.
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
The basic concept of Epiphany is to celebrate the time when Christ became known among men as the Son of God. Different churches have had different practices, but most common is to tie it to January 6, 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 on January 6 to Ash Wednesday. (In fact, the "twelve days of Christmas" are counted slightly differently among churches.)
At any rate, January 6 is a reasonable time to celebrate humanity's realization that Christ was the Son of God; the Epiphany was really a long series of events that began before His birth, rather than a specific event, although the Adoration of the Magi and Christ's baptism were both milestones in the process.
The event described today was told only by 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. When he begins to teach, he is recognized by the crowd. Some of them marvel at him and come to realize that his is the Christ, while others do not believe.
Notice the reasons given in this passage by the nonbelievers; the reasons they will not accept him relate to his birth. It shows how important it was, to the Jews, that he was born in Bethlehem and can trace his roots to David. This is why the Gospel According to Matthew begins with a long, boring genealogy. The Jewish prophecies of a Messiah were very specific about his ancestry and his birth.
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. This is as true today as then. Often, the world seems to be a spiritual desert. Millions and billions of people seem to wander around in a daze, confused and lost, not able to quench their thirst for truth and justice. They often seem unaware that water even exists. 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.
Today 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 hearts, in our celebration of the Epiphany; today we remember the time in which people realize that Christ is God, and find the water of life.