Second Lesson: Ephesians 3:2-12:
2Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
7I became a servant of this gospel by the gift of God’s grace given me through the working of his power. 8Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ, 9and to make plain to everyone the administration of this mystery, which for ages past was kept hidden in God, who created all things. 10His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.
Psalm 72 on Page 93 in Christian Worship
Endow the King with your justice, O God,
the royal Son with your righteousness.
He will defend the afflicted among the people
and save the children of the needy.
He will endure as long as the sun,
as long as the moon, through all generations.
He will be like rain falling on a mown field,
like showers watering the earth.
All kings will bow down to him,
and all nations will serve him.
All nations will be blessed through him,
and they will call him blessed.
Praise be to the Lord God, who alone does marvelous deeds.
May the whole earth be filled with his glory.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Gospel Lesson: Matthew 2:1-12:
1After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
3When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:
6“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel.’”
7Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”
9After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.
First Lesson/Sermon Text: 1 Kings 10:1-9:
When the queen of Sheba heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the Lord, she came to test Solomon with hard questions. 2Arriving at Jerusalem with a very great caravan—with camels carrying spices, large quantities of gold, and precious stones—she came to Solomon and talked with him about all that she had on her mind. 3Solomon answered all her questions; nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her. 4When the queen of Sheba saw all the wisdom of Solomon and the palace he had built, 5the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, his cupbearers, and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the Lord, she was overwhelmed.
6She said to the king, “The report I heard in my own country about your achievements and your wisdom is true. 7But I did not believe these things until I came and saw with my own eyes. Indeed, not even half was told me; in wisdom and wealth you have far exceeded the report I heard. 8How happy your people must be! How happy your officials, who continually stand before you and hear your wisdom! 9Praise be to the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on the throne of Israel. Because of the Lord’s eternal love for Israel, he has made you king to maintain justice and righteousness.”
Introduction: Today is the day that we observe Epiphany. This is a church festival which actually has a set date: January 6, right after the 12th Day of Christmas. The title of the festival is taken from the Greek word for “revelation” or “unveiling.” Every once in a while, you hear about someone having an epiphany, meaning that something is finally completely clear to them. This usually comes to a person in an instant when something suddenly becomes completely clear to them. When we celebrate Epiphany in church, we are talking about how Christ was revealed to the world as the Savior through his baptism, his early ministry, and his miracles. All of those accounts are things that we will be looking at in our Scripture lessons over the course of the next few weeks. Today, we remember how people from outside Israel got to see Jesus as the Savior. We traditionally focus on the Magi who travelled far to see Jesus. Today, we look at an Old Testament counterpart to the Magi: the Queen of Sheba. We see that she has the same epiphany that the Magi did when they came to see the child Jesus.
What an Epiphany!
I. Such wisdom!
II. What a sacrifice!
III. What amazing justice!
I. Such wisdom
- We don’t know anything about the Queen of Sheba except for what is written here
- We don’t know exactly where she came from. Best guesses: Yemen and Ethiopia
- What we do know is that she heard reports of the greatness of Solomon and came
- She asked him a series of riddles that he was able to answer absolutely completely
- He was able to do that because God had given him wisdom: the fear of the Lord
- It moved her to poured out her heart to him. Wanted to know more of this God
- The wisdom that God had in coming up with his plan of salvation amazes us, too
II. What a sacrifice
- We are then told that Solomon showed her around his palace and capital city
- She was amazed at the riches of his court and the wealth of the banquet they had
- One thing that really amazed her were the sacrifices that were done at the temple
- She was used to sacrifices to angry and greedy gods who demanded payment
- The sacrifices were different. In rites that were performed, there was forgiveness
- We are told, quite literally, that seeing all of this took her breath (spirit) away
- We are also astonished that Jesus would come into this world to sacrifice himself
III. What amazing justice
- We are told of her parting words with King Solomon before going back to Sheba
- She said that every report that she had heard did not do the reality of him justice
- She said that his people must be fortunate to receive his great wisdom regularly
- “Because of the Lord’s eternal love, he has made you king to maintain justice.”
- She meant more than just that he enforced the laws in a very wise and fair manner
- She was speaking about the amazing way in which he presented God’s justice
- This is something that amazes us. God gives us justice through Jesus’ 1 sacrifice
- This reminds me of what the Magi said in the Christmas movie The Nativity Story
- She & the Magi probably brought their revelation home as we share the revelation