• joelpukallus

This is the one.

Updated: Feb 2


Luke 4:21-30

21 Then Jesus began to say to the people in the synagogue at Nazareth: “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” 22 All spoke well of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his lips. “Isn’t this Joseph’s son?” they asked.

23 Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’”

24 “Truly I tell you” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. 25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.”

28 All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. 29 They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. 30 But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.


SERMON


So today is the fourth Sunday of Epiphany, and there is a season of Epiphany every year, and so because we are a church that likes to not get bogged down in jargon and things that we don’t understand, I am so sure that we are all up to date and squared away on what the word epiphany means and where it comes from. Right? If I was to pick a person at random they could tell me all about Epiphany. Well, I am not going to do that.

How about this, I will promise not to do that, if you promise to review with me quickly what it is all about.


Because I think epiphany is the poor forgotten middle child of the church year. Right? Other middle children? You know what I mean.

Not as popular as Christmas, not as heart-rending and tragic and then joyful as the roller-coaster seasons of Lent and Easter, it doesn’t even have a standard length!

Christmas is December 25th every year, and Easter, well that is hard to nail down, because it was based the Passover, which was calculated by the Jewish lunar calendar, so it is the first Sunday after the first full moon after March 21st, the Spring Equinox of the Northern Hemisphere. (There can be over a month difference each year in which it occurs) Lent has it’s set 40 days not including Sundays.

But Epiphany, caught between the Christmas Season and the Lenten Season changes with the timing of Easter.

It is an apparent fill-in, stuck between the Julian Solar Calendar and the Jewish Lunar Calendar.


But Epiphany is an important time of year. It comes from the Greek word Epiphainein, meaning revelation, as I am sure you all knew, and it is the time of revealing who Jesus, (who was born at Christmas) really is!

Important information to know, before we get to the events of Holy Week and Easter. Who is this Jesus, who suffers, dies and rises again? Are there witnesses to who he is? Well actually, there are.


The Sundays after Epiphany are framed by different stories about Jesus. Namely, the wise men coming to worship the infant, Jesus Baptism, Jesus’ first Sermon, and now Jesus’ rejection in his home town. And there is a real progression here in the voices that are speaking, and what they are saying about Jesus.

Human voices, as the wise men come to worship the One they had heard about, and say that there is something different about this boy. He is the one.

Then God’s voice, as it thunders at his baptism: “this is my Son!” He is the One.

Then in his first Sermon in the Synagogue in his home town, we hear the prophet’s voice, proclaiming the mission of the One who will come, and Jesus’ voice claiming: It’s me! I’m the One!


And today we hear the people’s voices, as they loved his message initially, but then went back to that old human trait of ignoring the message and pulling apart the messenger. Isn’t this Joseph’s son? He can’t be the one.


But his disciples and others believed in him. Epiphany for me is like the progression of the words of John 1: selected verses:

1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—

14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”)


John actually uses the words: “this is the one”.

But as we will see unfortunately just because the identity of Jesus has been made clear, does not mean that he will not come up against significant opposition.

As we can already see for the Gospel lesson for today, people are starting to choose sides. Some are amazed by him, and are loving him and what he is doing and saying, while some are wanting to see him killed, and in fact, are already trying.


The choice is still there today when we start to see who Jesus is. Some people try to pretend he never existed, because it is easier not to have to make a choice for or against him, caught between pride and conscience the don’t want to say yes and submit themselves to his Lordship, or say no and know that they are denying the King of Kings. Easier to believe he never existed. But that is a fool’s argument. Historians around the world agree that Jesus of Nazareth lived when the bible says he did, and that he has indeed changed the world.


In fact, there is more independent evidence that Jesus lived than there is that you or I live.

So who is he? And what does that mean for me? We had better make up our minds about that one. Because he has been revealed, manifested as the Son of God, foretold in prophecy, witnessed to by the voice of God himself.

What do you believe? And what are you going to do about it?

Amen.

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