noun 1. the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi 2. the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6
3. a manifestation of a divine supernatural being.
4. a moment of sudden revelation or insight.
We are still in the season of Epiphany! We have gone from the star, to the "Wise Guys," to the sky tearing open, the Spirit descending looking like a dove, and the Father saying, "This is my Son, in whom I am well pleased!" Finally, John blurts out, in case we have missed it, "Behold, the Lamb of God who is taking away the sin of the world!" Jesus is being revealed before our eyes! Every sign builds a strong case that this Jesus guys is important. Ok, now that we are looking and listening, what will we see and hear?
Our readings at this point in the church year are transitioning from signs about Jesus to where we hear from the man himself, and we will do that this month though the Sermon on the Mount!
If you are unfamiliar, this is an early section of Matthew’s gospel, chapters 5-7, where Jesus teaches on various topics. This chunk of scripture conspicuously finds itself right after a brief summary of Jesus’ Galilean ministry, after calling His first disciples. This is how sermon is introduced:
4:23 And he went throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction among the people. 24 So his fame spread throughout all Syria, and they brought him all the sick, those afflicted with various diseases and pains, those oppressed by demons, those having seizures, and paralytics, and he healed them. 25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan.
5:1 Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…”
Matthew 4:23-5:3 ESV
This sets the scene rather well. For about three years Jesus’ activity consisted of healing the sick, performing wonders, and exorcizing demons around the villages located alongside the sea of Galilee. He gathered a large group of people who followed Him around, and when nothing else action-packed was happening, they all sat down and Jesus’ taught.
The content of Matthew 5-7 is the material that Jesus, Son of God, Savior of the world, believed was so important that he took the time to share it with his disciples. “Disciples,” by the way, comes from the Greek word for “one who learns.” A disciple is just a student. If we in the church consider ourselves “disciples of Jesus Christ,” then it is prudent that we spend some considerable time with his teaching.
We who "follow Christ!" will let him teach us throughout the following month in sermons, through facebook posts, and personal meditation, if you wish to join in.
Themes for Worship in February
As a devotional practice this next month, consider reflecting on the Sermon of the Mount, Matthew 5-7. Write questions, ponder Christ’s words. Let them challenge you, and let them comfort you. Here is an example schedule for working through the Sermon in the month, with readings short enough to allow you to consider them throughout the day.
Sundays with the worship themes are listed in bold. No readings are assigned for Saturday for a weekly break. The reading and additional thoughts/ resources will be posted on the church’s facebook page.
Date in February/ Theme/ Reading
2nd Worship: Blessing Matthew 5:1-12
3rd Blessings Matthew 5:1-12
4th Salt & Light Matthew 5:13-16
5th Fulfillment Matthew 5:17-20
6th Anger Matthew 5:21-26
7th Lust Matthew 5:27-30
9th Worship: Calling Matthew 5:13-20
10th Divorce Matthew 5:31-32
11th Oaths Matthew 5:33-37
12th Retaliation Matthew 5:38-42
13th Love your Enemies Matthew 5:43-48
14th Generosity Matthew 6:1-4
16th Worship: You have Heard it Said Matthew 5: 21-37
17th When You Pray Matthew 6:5-6
18th The Lord’s Prayer Matthew 6:7-15
19th Fasting Matthew 6:16-18
20th Treasures Matthew 6:19-24
21st Do not be Anxious Matthew 6:25-34
23rd Worship Transfiguration: Listening to the Word of the Teacher Matthew 17:1-9
24th Judging Matthew 7:1-6
25th Asking & Receiving Matthew 7:7-14
26th Ash Wednesday: When You Fast Matthew 6:1-6; 16-21
26th Fruit of the Tree Matthew 7:15-20
27th Depart from Me Matthew 7:21-23
28th Built on the Rock Matthew 7:24-27
Some of these readings are easy, warm, and fuzzy! Some of them challenge us, or do not make sense. On those days, I will do my best to post something helpful for unpacking a perhaps difficult, yet profound scriptural truth. Let’s be disciples this month! It’ll be fun, and the when the Word does its work, we may be surprised by the effects it may have on ours lives.
Remember, your relationship with God does not depend on you doing regular devotions, or living perfectly. Your relationship with God depends solely on the grace of our teacher. May we who are blessed by Christ's Word be moved by them in love of God and neighbor! Amen!
Sitting on a Mountain,