January 14, 2023

Jesus Delivers Us from Evil (Epiphany 2)

 This is how our Psalm (40) ended. It summarizes the three Epiphany moments of the Readings and also of course, the Lord’s Prayer. This is the great cry of our hearts when we are in trouble. The three Epiphany moments in the Readings are:

·     Isaiah: In Babylon the Hebrews realized they could not save themselves

·     John: realized Jesus was the Lamb of God who would deliver all people from the bondages of sin and spiritual blindness

·     Paul: The Corinthians, like us, needed to experience Jesus deliverance from both the bondage of sin and spiritual evil

·     We all need epiphany moments when our spiritual eyes are opened by Jesus, the light of the world 


1.    We cannot save ourselves

This is the prideful worldly thinking that surrounds us. The first 2/3 of the Bible is the long, up and down history of the Hebrew people as God reaches out to individuals and prophets to draw them into a holy, loving and obedient relationship. 

·     High point is God meeting with them to give them the rules or conditions of the Covenant of Moses

·     Low point is their failure to keep the Covenant, the destruction of the Temple and the Babylonian Captivity.

·     Isaiah, who had warned them this would happen, cries out to God and is given an Epiphany moment - the prophecy of the Servant who would deliver His people

·     Servant would have a tongue like a “sharpened sword” – would pierce the false teachings of Hebrew priests and Pharisees

·     Servant would “display God’s splendor” and deliver Israel

·     Servant would be a “light to the Gentiles” to teach them to love and obey Him as Lord.


2.   Jesus Delivers Us from the Bondage of Sin

Who is Jesus? This is the Epiphany moment we must all experience to become a serious Christian. John was the first to recognize Jesus as the “Lamb of God”. 

·     Hebrews had no effective way to the forgiveness of sins.

·     Sin-guilt pollutes our personal spirit, makes us unholy and unable to be in right-relationship to God

·     This is the “God dilemma” – can not force us to love God, has to give us free will – and we rebel and get separated

·     John sees that Jesus is the “lamb of God” – the sacrifice that will die in our place, so we can get back into right-relationship with God

·     Jesus is fully divine because Holy Spirit is His father 

·     New Covenant of Jesus has conditions for forgiveness:

o  Belief or trust in Jesus as divine Lord and Saviour

o  Repentance & asking Jesus for specific forgiveness


3.     Jesus Delivers Us from the Bondage of Spiritual Blindness

Paul is writing to the church in Corinth. Corinth was a hotbed of sin and immorality. Sailors had to haul their boats over a narrow neck of land or take a much longer stormy voyage around. Paul is teaching them about how the Holy Spirit of Jesus will open their spiritual eyes and guide them in their spiritual lives:

·     This is the greatest challenge for modern Christians in a secular culture which does not believe in or understand the supernatural dimension of the Bible

·     The Good News is that when we have this Epiphany moment and our spiritual eyes are opened, Holy Spirit will come to each of us and help us understand Jesus teachings

·     Holy Spirit is the sharpened tongue of the Servant (Jesus) who “displays God’s wonder” and delivers us from evil.

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