Daily Devotion for January 14, 2012
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 the Morning
Oh Lord, most heavenly Father, Almighty and everlasting God, who has safely brought me to the beginning of this day; I give you thanks for my creation, preservation, and all the blessings of my life. Grant that this day I fall into no sin, neither run into any kind of danger; but that all my doings, being governed by your will, may be righteous in your sight. Through Christ our Lord, I pray.
Prayer for Grace and Strength
Lord God, I pray that you will fill my heart with the blessing of your Holy Spirit. Grant me this day the strength to be temperate in all things, diligent in my duties, and patient under my afflictions. Direct me in all my ways. Give me grace to be just and upright in all my dealings; quiet and peaceable; full of compassion; and ready to do good to all people, according to my abilities and opportunities. For the sake of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,
Community of Prayer
Heavenly Lord, I know I am not alone saying these prayers or reading your Word this morning, but many people unknown to me, from all stations of life, have joined together in this brief moment of devotion. May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be among the community of all who pray in the name of Christ this morning, and remain among us always.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Questions for God
Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable?
Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.
~ C. S. Lewis
Matthew 12:14-21 (RSV)
But the Pharisees went out and took counsel against him, how to destroy him. Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all, and ordered them not to make him known.
This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:
Notes on the Scripture
Celebration of the Epiphany (or "Feast of the Epiphany" in more liturgical denominations) is done on different days in different churches and even commemorates different events. Epiphany in its strictest sense — the sense used by Christianity — is an old Greek word, meaning the appearance of a god on earth; in a broader sense, it means any revelation or realization that comes suddenly as a solution to a perplexing problem.
Most often, the Christian Epiphany is celebrated on January 6 and commemorates the visitation of the magi to the infant Jesus. Because they worshipped Him, it is assumed that they realized he was the son of God, and because they were Gentiles, they are a proxy for Christ's appearance to the entire world; for on that day, non-Jews first worshipped the Jewish Messiah and the world became aware of its Saviour.
But the process of Jesus coming to be known as the Messiah, and as the Son of God, stretched out over a long period of time, even among his followers. (Indeed, it will never be full accomplished until the Day of Judgment, for it seems we will always have atheists and heathens.) He instructed his disciples at times to keep his divinity to themselves, or not to speak of certain miracles, for Christ had his own timetable.
Today's passage is a snapshot from the middle period of Christ's life. The Pharisees are already up in arms against Him, for He has healed the sick on the Sabbath and denounced cities which would not accept his teachings. Yet he instructs those whom he heals not to make him known. Although we cannot know the mind of God, it would seem that Jesus wanted to accomplish a certain amount, and to bring the corps of the faithful to a certain point, before He became fully known to the authorities; for he would be tried for the heresy of being known as God's son, and executed.
The beautiful quote from Isaiah describes a peculiar Jewish Messiah. He is not a political leader and harms nobody, a far cry from the larger version of Joshua or Judas Maccabeus that most Jews expected. He does not yell or cause riots in the cities. And he comes to save the Gentiles as well as the Jews, and will not rest until they have had the experience of the Epiphany, witnessing the visitation of God to earth.