During the season of Epiphany, we celebrate the Lord Jesus being revealed to the world for Who He is. He is true God come in the flesh to save us. As we receive this Word of the Lord, we are illumined by the power of the Holy Spirit to believe it. Such faith is seen in our lives in what is revealed to us in Galatians as “the fruit of the Spirit.”
The services in Epiphany, from The Baptism of Jesus, on January 8, through the Transfiguration, on February 26, will be tied together by the theme “The Fruit of the Spirit.” Each week we will highlight a different fruit of the Spirit as it relates to the lessons of the day. Each week there will be a skit to help deliver the theme.
But first, the Name of Jesus will lead us into the Epiphany season as our theme on January 1st, 8 days after Christmas. On the 8th day after his birth our Lord was circumcised and given the name that the angel told to both Mary and Joseph - Jesus, which means “Savior” or “the Lord saves.” The Christmas Gospel said, “(All) who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.” That belief, that faith is created in us by the power of the Holy Spirit received in our baptisms when God put His Name on us. The faith that believes in the name of Jesus also produces in our lives fruit of the Spirit.
On January 8th we will examine the first fruit of the Spirit, “love.” At Jesus’ baptism, His divine nature was revealed by the Heavenly Father saying, “This is my beloved Son.” The love of the Father is made known to us by His Son, Who came to save us. As we receive the love of God in Jesus, love for others comes from us as fruit of the Spirit.
On January 15th, the fruit of the Spirit we examine is “joy.” In the Gospel reading for the day, John the Baptist identifies Jesus as, “the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!” Sin is what stands in the way of true joy. Jesus is the Lamb of God Who takes away our sin to bring us a sense of joy not found anywhere else. As the Psalm of the day proclaims, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and hear, and put their trust in the LORD.”
On January 22nd the fruit of the Spirit will be “peace.” In the Gospel for the day, Matthew reveals Jesus as the One who fulfills the Isaiah prophecy which says, “the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.” Jesus came to remove darkness and death which brings us peace. In this Gospel reading Jesus preaches,
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Repentance leads to peace as we confess our sins, and look to the Lord to take them away. Because of Jesus, He does! Peace with God is restored. In this passage, Jesus also chose Peter to be His disciple. As impulsive as Peter was, peace must have been difficult for him to experience, yet Peter wrote to his flock in 2 Peter 3:14, “Therefore, beloved … be … at peace.”
In the Gospel reading for January 29th, Jesus reveals His divine nature by His amazing preaching which is beyond any human ability. The Gospel reading is the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The fruit of the Spirit we examine will be “patience.” Although Jesus does not say, “Blessed are the patient,” the fruit of the Spirit underlies His “blessed are” statements. It takes great patience to be merciful, to act as a peacemaker, and especially to endure persecution for righteousness’ sake. The Spirit produces such patience in us as the children of God in Christ Jesus.
As we look at the divine nature of Jesus and the fruit of the Spirit on Sundays, on Wednesday evenings we will explore the work of our heavenly Father, exploring the 1st Article of the Apostles’ Creed.
During the beginning of this Epiphany season, may the light of the Lord Jesus shine upon you with His love, joy, peace and patience. “For this His glad epiphany, all glory unto Jesus be, Whom with the Father we adore and Holy Ghost forevermore.” LW 81.