Monday, January 31, 2011

By the Way, We're Still in the Epiphany Season

You may have wondered why the Gospel lesson for yesterday was Matthew 5:1-12. This is Epiphany Season, after all, a time when the Gospel lessons revolve around those instances in Jesus' life and ministry when His deity was revealed. What does yesterday's lesson, encompassing the opening of Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, have to do with this Epiphany theme?

Consider the setting in which the sermon happens: "the mountain." It was to the top of a mountain that God called Moses back in the Old Testament book of Exodus. There, God gave Moses the Ten Commandments.

It was on mountain- and hill- tops that ancient peoples built shrines, altars, and temples to their deities. It was on Mount Zion in Jerusalem that God's people built the Temple. And God was deeply offended, repeatedly, when His people used other hills and mountains to erect altars to foreign deities, just to "cover all the bases."

When the one true God of the universe entered the world in the person of Jesus Christ, He called His followers to be with Him on the mountain to let them know more fully Who He is and what He wills. He showed Himself to be more than a "new Moses"; Jesus is God Himself calling us to be in relationship with Him.

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