2nd Sunday of Epiphany – Sermon 273

7th January 2019 Off By Derek

2nd Sunday of Epiphany
10.00am Holy Communion
15th January 2017

Prayer to start      

May the words of my lips and the thoughts of our hearts be graciously received for the Glory and Honour of our Lord Jesus Christ



A little boy was taken to his first Church service – and although he had seen what churches look like – on television –  this was the first time he attended one with his parents –

after it was over his mother asked him what he had thought of it!

‘The music and singing were alright’ – he said – ‘but I didn’t think much to the news!’

Reaching out – and exciting others about Jesus – can sometimes seem a difficult task –

But its something that we all – as Christians – have been called to do –

Jesus’ last command was that we should reach out to the world with His Gospel – make his name and presence known in the hearts and lives of those around us –

And in our readings this morning we have three great examples – of people doing just that – let’s see what we can learn –

First Point              Isaiah – Seeing Jesus

In our OT reading we have – Isaiah’s second servant song – where he tells of the prophecy of Jesus’ coming – and His story from before His birth – to His mission –

Listen to me, O coastlands, pay attention, you peoples from far away -…… God will give you a light to the nations – …whose salvation may reach to the ends of the earth –

He – will be called from His mother’s womb – have to wait – hidden by God’s hand – until the appointed time – His task is great – He will face discouragement – will be despised and hated by nations – yet served by kings – and in God – He will find the strength to succeed  –

God’s Glory – will be seen – through His – life and work – He will be given the task of a shepherd – to restore God’s people – and bring them home to Him –

Isaiah was a prophet who spoke out for God – in the corridors of power in Judah – after its split from Israel –

He served politicians and Kings – refused to temper his message – for the sake of popularity – or position –  

His name means – ‘the Lord saves’ – and the New Testament quotes him more than all the other prophets combined –

Known as the Shakespeare of Hebrew Literature – 

His vision – awareness and voice was used by God – at a time when Judah was beginning to falter – slide down the slippery slope –

The people of Judah were moving away from God’s dependence – keeping an outward appearance of religion – but doing little more – and Isaiah’s voice and call was an important counter that God used to urge them back towards Him –

Second Point         Paul & Church in Corinth

Paul – in our NT lesson – takes a similar line –

He had heard of the many divisions in the Corinthian Church – and wanted to bring an end to the squabbling –

Corinth was a busy port – and the people and church reflected much of the cities life and differences in its congregation. 

He writes to tells them how important Jesus is to them – and that they should focus on the real issue – the spreading of the Gospel of Jesus Christ –

In these first nine verses – he mentions Jesus eight times –

He speaks of Jesus’ Authority – character – grace and peace – of the great enrichment He provides – His witness – expectations – confirmation – and fellowship – and how much He is a part of them – and they are of Him –

Jesus is the pivotal presence that we must all turn to –

Through Jesus we will be kept blameless and strong – till the time of His return – blameless because of what He has done for us on the cross – strong because of the Spiritual gifts – He will pour out on us – through the Holy Spirit – 

These two passages are clear descriptions of what we can see in Jesus – what we know about Him – what we can say and write to others about Him –

Point 3         John the Baptist & the Lamb of God

But perhaps the most telling declaration – comes from John’s gospel – through John the Baptist – who encourages his disciples to go and meet Jesus listen to him – talk to him –

Here we have the first public appearance of Jesus

John – points to the key things that Jesus has come for – His death – and the bringing of the Spirit –

Jesus is the One on whom God’s Spirit rests – He is the One who will baptize not just with water – but with the Holy Spirit – and only after the temple – our human hearts – have been purified by Jesus –will the Spirit be given –

When John the Baptist saw Jesus walking towards him – he called him “The Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world”

For Jews the Lamb has a special significance – because it symbolizes the forgiveness of sins – and plays an important part in the Passover meal and in the deliverance of the people of Israel from Egypt

By linking Jesus with the sacrificial Lamb – John reminds us of the cost – that will be paid by God for our sins –

Sacrifice is central to the Christian experience – and in any relationship – it’s the sacrifice that God has made for us – and the sacrifices we make for each other – that make the love so much stronger –

The Passover Lamb is without blemish – Jesus is without sin – The Passover Lamb died in the place of the firstborn – Jesus died in our place on the cross –

Jesus has overcome the worst the world can offer – defeated death – and shown us that His love can never be taken away – 

John wasted no time sending his two disciples to Jesus – and they both took His testimony to heart –

Andrew in turn tells his brother Peter – and Peter follows Jesus – [becoming the rock of His Church]

Jesus calls us all to turn away from our old nature and turn to His – John’s disciples didn’t waste any time – and neither should we

Conclusion:  Our Reaction

A young man had an awful facial deformity – he grew up alone and lonely – and when he reached adulthood – decided to move from his town to begin a new life –

On his way he found a beautiful mask – that fit- making him look handsome.  At first the mask was uncomfortable – and he was afraid people might find out who he really was – but he continued to wear the mask every day.

In his new hometown he made many friends – and fell in love – But one day a wicked woman from his old town came to his new home town and discovered the man’s true identity.  In front of his friends and fiancé she forced him to remove the mask.  When he removed the mask – it revealed a handsome face – his face had changed and conformed to the mask.

Becoming like Jesus is a lot like this story – at first it may seem unnatural or uncomfortable – and maybe we wonder who we’re trying to fool – but every day if we keep putting on Jesus – every day we will grow to look more and more like Him –

In our readings Isaiah, Paul and John all point us in the direction of Jesus – His story – his mission – his gospel – they remind us that God’s love and strength will be with us – if we make Jesus part of our lives –

Jesus Himself – encourages us to ‘come and see’ – what He has to offer – what He can do for our lives – and for our future

we may feel we are – slow to speak – slow to act – slow to listen to Him or to help others – but we must not hold back – from accepting Jesus –  and from telling others about Him – encouraging us and others to get to know Jesus – day by day –

And as the disciples discovered – when we go looking for Jesus – what we find – is that He’s been looking for us –

His presence and love saves our lives – transforms our hearts – fills us with His Spirit and strength – and when we find Jesus – we will treasure that day forever – There can be no better news than that –

Prayer to Finish