Epiphany of our Lord

1 My heart overflows with a pleasing theme;
I address my verses | to the king;*
         my tongue is like the pen
         of a | ready scribe.

2 You are the most handsome of the sons of
men; grace is poured up- | on your lips;*
         therefore God has blessed you for- | ever.

3 Gird your sword on your thigh,
O | mighty one,*
         in your splendor and | majesty!

4 In your majesty ride out victoriously
for the cause of truth and meekness
and | righteousness;*
         let your right hand teach you | awesome deeds!

5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart
of the king’s | enemies;*
         the peoples fall | under you.

6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever.
The scepter of your kingdom is a scepter
of up- | rightness;*
         7 you have loved righteousness
         and hated | wickedness.

    —Psalm 45:1–7

Additional Psalm: Psalm 72

Old Testament Reading: Isaiah 66:1–20
The Humble and Contrite in Spirit
1Thus says the LORD:

“Heaven is my throne,
         and the earth is my footstool;

what is the house that you would build for me,
         and what is the place of my rest?

2All these things my hand has made,
         and so all these things came to be,
         declares the LORD.

But this is the one to whom I will look:
         he who is humble and contrite in spirit
         and trembles at my word.

3“He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man;
         he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck;

he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood;
         he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.

These have chosen their own ways,
         and their soul delights in their abominations;

4I also will choose harsh treatment for them
         and bring their fears upon them,

because when I called, no one answered,
         when I spoke, they did not listen;

but they did what was evil in my eyes
         and chose that in which I did not delight.”

5Hear the word of the LORD,
         you who tremble at his word:

“Your brothers who hate you
         and cast you out for my name’s sake

have said, ‘Let the LORD be glorified,
         that we may see your joy’;
         but it is they who shall be put to shame.

6“The sound of an uproar from the city!
         A sound from the temple!

The sound of the LORD,
         rendering recompense to his enemies!

Rejoice with Jerusalem
7“Before she was in labor
         she gave birth;

before her pain came upon her
         she delivered a son.

8Who has heard such a thing?
         Who has seen such things?

Shall a land be born in one day?
         Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?

For as soon as Zion was in labor
         she brought forth her children.

9Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?”
         says the LORD;

“shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?”
         says your God.

10“Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
         all you who love her;

rejoice with her in joy,
         all you who mourn over her;

11that you may nurse and be satisfied
         from her consoling breast;

that you may drink deeply with delight
         from her glorious abundance.”

12For thus says the LORD:

“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
         and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;

and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
         and bounced upon her knees.

13As one whom his mother comforts,
         so I will comfort you;
         you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

14You shall see,
         and your heart shall rejoice;
         your bones shall flourish like the grass;

and the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants,
         and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.

Final Judgment and Glory of the LORD
15“For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
         and his chariots like the whirlwind,

to render his anger in fury,
         and his rebuke with flames of fire.

16For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment,
         and by his sword, with all flesh;
         and those slain by the LORD shall be many.

17“Those who sanctify and purify them-selves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, eating pig’s flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the LORD.

18“For I know their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming to gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, 19and I will set a sign among them. And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the LORD.”

New Testament Reading: Luke 3:21–38
[John the Baptist Prepares the Way]
21Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, 22and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”

The Genealogy of Jesus Christ
23Jesus, when he began his ministry, was about thirty years of age, being the son (as was supposed) of Joseph, the son of Heli, 24the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, the son of Melchi, the son of Jannai, the son of Joseph, 25the son of Mattathias, the son of Amos, the son of Nahum, the son of Esli, the son of Naggai, 26the son of Maath, the son of Mattathias, the son of Semein, the son of Josech, the son of Joda, 27the son of Joanan, the son of Rhesa, the son of Zerubbabel, the son of Shealtiel, the son of Neri, 28the son of Melchi, the son of Addi, the son of Cosam, the son of Elmadam, the son of Er, 29the son of Joshua, the son of Eliezer, the son of Jorim, the son of Matthat, the son of Levi, 30the son of Simeon, the son of Judah, the son of Joseph, the son of Jonam, the son of Eliakim, 31the son of Melea, the son of Menna, the son of Mattatha, the son of Nathan, the son of David, 32the son of Jesse, the son of Obed, the son of Boaz, the son of Sala, the son of Nahshon, 33the son of Amminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, 34the son of Jacob, the son of Isaac, the son of Abraham, the son of Terah, the son of Nahor, 35the son of Serug, the son of Reu, the son of Peleg, the son of Eber, the son of Shelah, 36the son of Cainan, the son of Arphaxad, the son of Shem, the son of Noah, the son of Lamech, 37the son of Methuselah, the son of Enoch, the son of Jared, the son of Mahalaleel, the son of Cainan, 38the son of Enos, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God.

Jesus goes up out of the water … for with Himself He carries up the world … and sees heaven opened, which Adam had shut against himself and all his posterity, as the gates of Paradise by the flaming sword. And the Spirit bears witness to His Godhead, for He descends upon one that is like Him. So also does the voice from heaven, for Jesus came from heaven, witness to His Godhead. And the Spirit comes like a dove, for He honors the body of Jesus, for this also was God through its union with God, so the Spirit is also seen in a bodily form. Moreover, the dove has from distant ages desired to proclaim the end of the deluge. But if you are to judge the Godhead by bulk and weight, and the Spirit seems to you a small thing because He came in the form of a dove, O man of contemptible littleness of thought concerning the greatest of things, you must also to be consistent despise the kingdom of heaven because it is compared to a mustard seed. And you must exalt the adversary above the majesty of Jesus, because he is called a great mountain and leviathan, king of that which lives in the water, whereas Christ is called the lamb, and the pearl, and the drop of rain that comes from heaven, and similar names.

    —Gregory of Nazianzus

These truths on Jordan’s banks were shown

By mighty word and wonder.

The Father’s voice from heav’n came down,

Which we do well to ponder:

“This man is My beloved Son,

In whom My heart has pleasure.

Him you must hear, and Him alone,

And trust in fullest measure

The word that He has spoken.”

    —To Jordan Came the Christ, Our Lord (LSB 406:3)

Prayer of the Day
O God, by the leading of a star You made known Your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles. Lead us, who know You by faith, to enjoy in heaven the fullness of Your divine presence; through the same Jesus Christ, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. (L11)

The Epiphany of Our Lord
The feast of the Epiphany of Our Lord commemorates no event but presents an idea that assumes concrete form only through the facts of our Lord’s life. The idea of Epiphany is that the Christ who was born in Bethlehem is recognized by the world as God. At Christmas, God appears as man, and at Epiphany, this man appears before the world as God. That Christ became man needed no proof. But that this man, this helpless child, is God needed proof. The manifestations of the Trinity, the signs and wonders performed by this man, and all His miracles have the purpose of proving to men that Jesus is God. Lately, especially in the Western Church, the story of the Magi has been associated with this feast day. As Gentiles who were brought to faith in Jesus Christ, the Magi represent all believers from the Gentile world.

Suggested Reading from
the Book of Concord
Large Catechism II 25–33