The Week of Epiphany – Wednesday
LESSON: MATTHEW 2:1-12
Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60:1
The admonition to “arise” is without doubt spoken to one who has not arisen, that is, to one who is lying asleep, or is dead. I think St. Paul had this passage in mind when he said in Ephesians, “It is said, ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.’” Ephesians 5:14.
Without doubt Christ is the “light” of which Isaiah speaks here, the light which through the Gospel shines forth throughout the whole world and gives light to all men who arise and desire Him.
But who are these sleepers and dead men? Without a doubt they are all those who are in subjection under the Law, for they are all dead through sin. They also include those who are dead, who disregard the Law and live a free life without the restraints of the Law.
The work-righteous are the sleepers who do not feel any shortcomings at all. Neither of these two groups pays much attention to the Gospel. They keep on in their sleep and a life which is nothing but death. The Spirit must awaken them so that they see and recognize the light.
There is a third group who feel the Law biting their conscience; they also long for grace and sigh for the Gospel; they also see to it that the Gospel comes and is given to men; they proclaim it, like Isaiah, to awake the sleepers and those who are dead so that they may accept the light.
AE 76, 49
PRAYER: Shine in our hearts, O Lord, with true Epiphany light, that we, through this light, may at all times be a true light in this world to all our fellowmen. Amen.