|Theme:||Jesus is the fulfillment of God's promise. 3rd Sunday after Epiphany Yr. C|
|Object:||A wedding ring, a letter in an envelope ready for mailing, a credit card|
|Scripture:||The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing." Luke 4:20b-21 (NIV)|
People make promises every day. Sometimes we give something to another person as a sign of our promise, sometimes we sign our name to seal our promise, other times we just give our word to another person that we will do something.
I'm sure you have all seen a ring like this. (Show the wedding ring.) When a man and woman get married, they usually make promises to one another. They say something like, "I promise to love you for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live." Then they exchange rings as a symbol of that promise.
This is an ordinary letter like the ones we receive in our mail box every day. Right in the middle is the name and address of the person for whom it is intended. What do you see up here in the corner of the envelope? Right! It is a stamp. When the Postal Service sells you this stamp and you put it on a letter, it represents their promise to deliver it to the person to whom the envelope is addressed. It doesn't matter if it is cloudy or sunny, raining or snowing, hot or cold, the mail gets delivered. That is the promise that this stamp represents.
You are too young to have a credit card, but one day you probably will. Most adults have a credit card which they use to buy things. When you buy something using your credit card, you have to sign a ticket. When you sign the ticket, you are promising that you will pay for the items you purchased using the credit card. Your signature is your promise.
People make promises every day. Do they always keep their promises? Unfortunately, some people don't. God makes promises too. The Bible is full of God's promises. Does God always keep his promises? Yes he does! One of my favorite verses in the Bible is one that says, "For no matter how many promises God has made, they are 'Yes' in Christ. (2 Cor. 1:20) That is what our Bible lesson teaches us today.
Jesus was in the city of Nazareth on the Sabbath day so he did what he always did on the Sabbath. He went to the synagogue. He stood up and began to read the words of the prophet Isaiah from the Scripture. He read where it says, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come."
When he had finished reading, he sat down. All eyes were on Jesus. Then he began to speak to them. "The Scripture that you have just heard read has been fulfilled this very day!" Jesus came to earth to fulfill the promises of God. All of God's promises are fulfilled in him.
Wouldn't it be great if you and I were as faithful in keeping our promises to God as he is in keeping his promises to us?
Our Father in heaven, thank you for your faithfulness in keeping your promises. Help us to be faithful in keeping our promises to you. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.
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