Epiphany January 4, 2015

Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 Ephesians 3:1-12 Matthew 2:1-12

The light of the world has come into the world! When we realize that Jesus Christ is the light of the world, then our lives shake, like we have a different way to move. (Show MercyMe’s “Shake” video .)

The darkness that once ruled our lives no longer does. As we continue to follow the light of the world, then we start to look differently. This starts for us when we get baptized. For it is when we get baptized that we are saying that we want to get out of the darkness and live in the light of the world, Jesus Christ.

The questions we are asked at our baptism are:
On behalf of the whole church, I ask you:
+++1. Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
+++2. Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?

By answering these questions, you are saying that yes, you do want to be in the glory of the Lord. You are saying that you want to worship the Lord with your life. So, you accept the grace that He is doing in your life. You are accepting the fact that God has given you the light of the world, Jesus Christ.

What happens after baptism? After we meet Jesus, we are like the magi. We do not go away from Jesus the same way we came to him. The magi were warned in a dream to go home by another route. So they did. We go on living a different way than we were living before we met Jesus.

As we continue to follow Jesus, we begin to resemble him. As we are following Jesus, other people will see that our lives are different, even better.

Nathanial Hawthorne wrote a tale called “The Great Stone Face” about a man who lives in a village located near a mountain shaped like a great stone face. There is a legend that someday a stranger with a face like the one on the mountain will come and do great things for the people of the village. The hero in Hawthorne’s story spends his life in the village, doing things for people, helping and serving them, even becoming mayor of the town as he waits, hoping year after year that the stranger will come in his lifetime. But the stranger never comes. Finally, one day, when the mayor is an old man, giving his last speech with the mountain with the great stone face in the background, someone points to him. “Look!” the man says. “The mayor’s face is exactly like the great stone face.”

We want to be like Jesus as we are living in the light of the world. We cannot live in this world without Jesus. Once we get baptized, then we continue to follow Jesus Christ. He becomes our lighthouse. (Play Rend Collective’s “My Lighthouse.”)
What about you, are you ready to follow the light of the world? Your life will not be lived in the darkness anymore. Your life will be shaken. Yet, this will be for your good.

Your life can start to resemble the life of Jesus Christ as you live your baptism. People may even see Jesus in you!

Baptism is not the end of being in the light. As a matter of fact, Jesus could be said to be our lighthouse, as he guides us each day of our lives until we all are with God in his kingdom.

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