“Epiphany” is a word used to describe a life-changing realization that has just dawned on you. In the Church calendar, it’s used to describe the life-changing revelation of Jesus Christ to the gentiles, as seen in His appearing to the wise men. Celebrated twelve days after Christmas, Epiphany is great opportunity to take stock of where we stand before the King of glory. Are we seeking Him? Are we trying to use Him for our own purposes? Are we worshipping Him? True joy is found in giving our lives to the One who first gave His life for us.
Refugees have a tough life. Driven from their homes by things like famine, persecution, and war, they face danger, deprivation, and despair. No one chooses to become a refugee, but our Lord Jesus willingly took on flesh, knowing that the very first stage of His earthly life would be lived as a refugee in Egypt. But it was all part of God’s grand plan of salvation. Jesus would become a refugee for us so that we might find our refuge in Him. He would shelter us through His blood so that we might help shelter others in His Name.
The devil has many tactics to destroy us but Christ delivers us from them all through His work on the cross. The One who was delivered over to death in our place is able to deliver us from every evil attack as we pray to Him for grace.
When it comes to temptation, we are in grave danger because we are exceedingly weak and our enemy is exceedingly strong. But God is infinitely stronger still, and He delights to protect and preserve those who pray in the Name of the One who never succumb to temptation, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The only thing harder than asking for forgiveness is forgiving someone who has really hurt us, yet Jesus says both are essential to the Christian life. How can we receive and extend true forgiveness? Only through the grace of the Savior who prayed, ‘Father, forgive them’ on the cross.
Dependence is not an easy thing to teach independently-minded sinners. How might God impress upon us our daily need for Him as well as His gracious provision for that need? By teaching us to pray the fourth petition of the Lord’s Prayer. He is the one who meets our daily needs-both physical and spiritual-through His Son, the true Bread from heaven.
Who runs your life? Christians are quick to say “God,” but when we examine our motives and actions more closely we find that we often still try to be little gods unto ourselves. In the third petition of the Lord’s Prayer Jesus teaches us that the purpose of prayer is not to get what we want, but to learn what God wants and to tune our will to His.
There are many ways to build a kingdom: militarily, through force; economically, through prosperity; culturally, through shared experience. But all such kingdoms are destined to perish because they are based on human means and human ends. God is building an eternal kingdom for His glory through the proclamation of His Son, who invites us to join Him in His great work by praying, “Your kingdom come!”
Sin is fundamentally disorienting. It convinces us we’re at the center of the universe while God is either non-existent or exists to serve us. We have no sense of His profound holiness, and therefore do not love Him, worship Him, or obey Him. The first petition of the Lord’s Prayer reorients our hearts back to our Holy Father through the Son whom He loves.
Wouldn’t it be amazing to get private prayer lessons from Jesus Himself? That is exactly what we have been given in the Lord’s Prayer. The preface teaches us that our God is personal, accessible, and ascendant. He has truly become “Our Father in heaven” through the work of our Lord Jesus Christ.