Pastor Todd Mathison's sermon will be highlighting the theme of Epiphany—the manifestation of God's divine light through the Gospel in Jesus Christ. Isaiah's prophecy foretells a time when God's illuminating glory dispels thick darkness. The Gospel of Mark shows this happening; how the Light of God is embodied in the person of Jesus. Where Jesus is, there is God’s Kingdom, Power & Glory (though glory this side of Christ’s second coming is that of the cross).

Pr. Todd Mathison

The Light Embodied

Kingdom, Power, & Glory
Isaiah 60:1-6
January 7, 2024
Pastor Todd Mathison's sermon will be highlighting the theme of Epiphany—the manifestation of God's divine light through the Gospel in Jesus Christ. Isaiah's prophecy foretells a time when God's illuminating glory dispels thick darkness. The Gospel of Mark shows this happening; how the Light of God is embodied in the person of Jesus. Where Jesus is, there is God’s Kingdom, Power & Glory (though glory this side of Christ’s second coming is that of the cross).

Kingdom, power, and glory. It’s a new series we launch off this weekend. And today we’re going to be looking here on Epiphany Weekend, The Light Embodied. It being Epiphany, it’s the end of Christmas. And if you watched our Daily Hope on Friday with Kristen Houlton Prouty of Behind the Music, you would have learned that Epiphany It’s from the Greek word that means manifestation. It’s a Christian holiday commemorating the first manifestation of God in Jesus Christ, connecting often the coming of Jesus, the light into the world with the arrival of the Magi to worship the newborn king. The Magi, often called the three wise men. And why three? Well, did you know that the Bible doesn’t say that there were three kings that came?

There were three gifts that were brought. Story is told in a Sunday school class about a teacher teaching on the three wise men and the gifts that they brought, and the teacher asked the class, what were those gifts? And an eager boy shoots up and says, ooh, ooh, I know this one. It’s gold, frankenstein, and myrtle. That’s an old pastor joke on the three wise men. Thanks for humoring me. But there were three gifts. Gold, signifying Jesus status as king and king of the Jews that would later be played out, frankincense, representing deity. Jesus is God in the flesh, and myrrh, an interesting gift, used as an embalming oil to prepare a body for burial.

Isn’t that something? Jesus, the light of the world, the epiphany. Jesus, the manifestation of the king of creation, God in the flesh, who was born to die. Now, here’s a question I want to posit for you. What was Jesus primary message during his earthly ministry? I was asked that question by a career missionary. He had served for decades in restricted access countries. And I was surprised at how I was fumbling around the answer. The main message of Jesus? Well, it’s Christianity. Oh, no. Hold it. That’s just using his name in the definition. Uh, is It’s love. It’s forgiveness. He said, biblically, what is it? And when you read the Bible, especially carefully, you’ll see that the primary message of Jesus is the kingdom of God has come.

The kingdom of God. Pastor Susan led us into this last weekend in Mark chapter one, where the Bible says, Jesus went into Galilee proclaiming the good news of God. The time has come, he said, the kingdom of God. has come. Repent and believe the good news. Jesus preached throughout his whole ministry the good news of the kingdom of God. It’s arrived. It’s come in the person of Jesus. And every kingdom has what? A king. So what do we do with Jesus as our king? What do you do? with Jesus as your king, the king of kings. You know, here in America, we don’t, it seems that we only talk about a king and a kingdom comfortably in church. I mean, we don’t consider America a kingdom, right? It’s a, it’s a country, it’s a nation. The founding fathers were actually so concerned about what to call the head of the new government that was being formed. I mean, they had just, they were declaring independence from a king, King George the third of Great Britain. And it’s understandable that there is a resistance to call the new head of the American government king. And so, some suggestions were, Your Highness? How about, Your Most Benign Highness? Think of that at a presidential press conference. Your Most Benign Highness! Your Elective Majesty? I mean, they were wrestling with this whole thing and they finally landed on president. But here today at Victory, we readily declare our ultimate allegiance to a king, King Jesus.

Over the next five weeks, we’re going to be considering the manifestation of God in Jesus Christ along these three lines, Kingdom, Power, and Glory. And I hope to kind of recharge your praying of the Lord’s Prayer every time you say or sing it. And when you sing those words as well, for every kingdom has a king, every king has power and every king displays and receives glory. As Tom read from Isaiah, Isaiah’s prophecy foretells a time when God’s ultimate glory, the glory of God dispels the thick darkness. And the Gospel of Mark shows this happening, how the light of God embodied in the person of Jesus. Where Jesus is, that’s where the kingdom of God is. Where Jesus is, that’s where the power of God is. And where Jesus is, that’s where the glory of God is revealed. So, we’re going to continue on in Mark chapter 1. If you have your Bibles or devices, I invite you to turn to Mark 1. I’m going to be picking up our story at verse 21 from last weekend where Pastor Susan led us into the coming and arrival of the baptism of Jesus. And then the testing of him, the announcement of the good news, calling of his first disciples, and we pick up the story at verse 21. They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority. Not as the teachers of the law. Just then, a man in their synagogue, who was possessed by an impure spirit, cried out, What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God. Be quiet, said Jesus sternly. Come out of him. The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, What is this, a new teaching, and with authority? He even gives orders to impure spirits, and they obey him. News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee. As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother in law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand, and helped her up. The fever left her, and she began to wait on them. That evening, after sunset, the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons. But he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. The Gospel of our Lord.

Let’s pray. Living God, as we delve into your word now, we need your Holy Spirit to enliven our hearts. To hear your word. Your word given then, and your word fresh, given to each of us this day. May we see you, Jesus, the light. The light of God who has come into our world to dispel thick darkness. Make this a reality in us, I ask in Jesus name. Amen. Dear friends, grace to you and peace from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. Jesus declared, the time has come, the kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news. In Capernaum, Jesus taught. He taught by the lake. He taught in the synagogue. We just read Jesus exercises absolute authority over evil spirits when he casts out a demon. And did you catch this? From a person in a worship service in the synagogue. And did you pick up on the fact that the demon knew who Jesus was? I know who you are, the Holy One of God. Jesus divinity is even recognized by Satan and his demons, and Jesus has full authority and power over them. Jesus exerts his righteous rule over disease when he heals Peter’s mother in law, and then as a good midwestern girl, gets up and serves them.

Go figure. And then he physically heals and spiritually delivers many people in that town. Later in this chapter, Jesus again brings health and wholeness when he heals a man with leprosy. I mean, Jesus was a sensation, and he was the channel of God’s kingship. Jesus incredible authority, His amazing power, and His relentless determination were thoroughly captivating and people hung on His every word. Do you and I hang on Jesus every word? Through Him all the power of the Kingdom of Heaven poured out and touched those He encountered. All that humanity longed for was revealed on earth in Jesus. And Jesus clearly intended for these events to be understood as a foretaste of a future world where he would reign as king. They were signs, a signpost to a destination, an invitation to a world that is surely coming. For in heaven there is no sickness, so Jesus heals the sick. In heaven there is no hunger, so Jesus feeds the crowds. In heaven there is no death, and so Jesus raises the dead. We’re going to be unpacking Jesus kingdom, power, and glory in the weeks ahead. But I want to land this message by building out a biblical framing for our understanding of the glory of God. When I think of glory, Especially that of a king and most certainly the glory of God. I’m, I’m taken to those biblical scenes of the great throne room in heaven where everyone is bowing down and worshipping before the Lord Almighty. And that will ultimately happen. In fact, it’s even happening right now. But for all of us, we will experience this. Where the Bible says in Philippians chapter 2, Therefore God exalted Jesus to the highest place. And gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow in heaven and on earth and under the earth.

And every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the, get this, to the glory of God the Father. Now this will happen, every knee will bow before Jesus, willingly or just out of absolute terror. But this will happen when Jesus comes again. When the Kingdom of God will be fully revealed and God’s redemptive reign fully experienced. So the Kingdom of God has this dynamic of it has come in Jesus, but it is yet to come. When he returns in its full revelation. Until then, we still live in a world where there is sin, and disease, and death. Right? And we ourselves continue to struggle with sin and disease and death in our own lives. And so we need to continually walk by faith, looking to Jesus as our hope and Redeemer and Savior. So the kingdom, power and glory of God, in many ways, it’s a matter of faith. The kingdom of God has indeed come and is revealed in Jesus, but it’s yet to be fully revealed and enforced when Christ returns. Until then, we live by faith. And this is where I think, in our faith journey now, in this life, that a biblical understanding of the glory of Jesus is actually essential for our Christian walk.

For the glory of God revealed in Jesus Christ, when Christ first came, it was not seen in some conquering sovereign who would subdue all his foes. In fact, that’s the type of Messiah that the Jewish nation was looking for and expecting. They didn’t expect it in Jesus. Rather, Christ came, born in humble circumstance, to a lowly family, himself a refugee, sometimes in flight for his life and who came, as Jesus said about himself, as one who has come not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. So here is the shocking biblical reality of the glory of God, if you will receive it. The glory of God is seen best in the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus speaks to this dynamic of his glory.

When he prays to his father in heaven, the night in which he was betrayed, just an hour or, and, before he was betrayed, and hours before he was brutally crucified, he prays in the garden, Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, that your son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people, that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life. That they know you, the true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had before the world began. So where do we see the glory of God today? It is in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And so it is very fitting. That today, on Epiphany weekend, as we begin a new year, as we consider the manifestation of God in Jesus Christ, his authority, kingdom, power, and glory revealed, it’s very fitting for us now, that we should prepare our hearts for communion, to remember the broken body and shed blood of Jesus Christ.

The light of the world, broken and shed. Join me in prayer. Heavenly Father, we are in awe today of the King of Kings, Jesus Christ, your Son, whom you sent, in whom is all of the divine kingdom, power, and glory. And so as we reflect in our hearts on the manifestation of God in Jesus, we recognize that he has full authority over evil. We need his healing touch. And desperately cling to the promise of his sacrificial love. Revealing the true nature of His glory. So prepare our hearts and lives now to receive all that you have given us in Christ Jesus, in whose name I pray.

 

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Follow Jesus

Weather you are new in faith or are seeking to deepen your walk with Jesus, we are eager to connect with you.

Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.

GriefShare

The GriefShare Program is a 13-week series of videos that we watch each week of the meeting. Each weekly GriefShare group begins with a 30-minute video featuring respected experts on grief-related topics and helpful stories from people who have experienced loss. Their insights will help you manage your emotions, gain clarity, and find answers to your questions as you walk through the grief process. We welcome everyone who has a loss; whether it be a child or a parent or spouse.

The videos are followed by discussion. Talking with other people who understand what you’re experiencing brings great comfort, normalizes the grief experience, and offers a supportive environment to work through your grief.

Each session stands alone, so you can join anytime. Consider a single session to learn about the program.

We meet every Monday from 12:30-2:30pm here at Victory.
Check out the schedule.

Sign up today!

Do you have more questions? 
Don’t hesitate to reach us out at (480) 830-5024, or message us filling the form below.
Learn more about GriefShare at their webpage: www.griefshare.org.

WOMEN’S MINISTRY

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study.

Summer Schedule (May-Sept): 2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am

Winter Schedule (Oct-April): 2nd Tuesday of the month

Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am

Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)


Women’s Ministry

PURPOSE STATEMENT

As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Women’s Ministry

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30 am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

  • 2nd Tuesday of the month
  • Esperanza Bible Study - 9:30am
  • Naomi Bible Study - 2:00 pm
  • Mary Bible Study - 1:30 pm (in-home)
  • Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way, you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    FAMILY PROMISE

    Four times a year we host families experiencing homelessness at Victory for a week at a time. Volunteers needed to set up rooms, preparing a meal, serve/clean-up dinner or stay as an overnight host.

    Upcoming Host Weeks: April 16-23, 2023 & November 112-19, 2023

    STEPHEN MINISTRY

    Stephen Ministers are lay congregation members trained to provide one-to-one care to those experiencing a difficult time in life. 

    GRIEFSHARE

    A grief recovery support group where you can find help and healing for the hurt of losing a loved one.

    13-week Program: Mondays, 12:30-2:30pm, February 13-May 8, 2023
    (No meeting April 10th)
    GriefShare.org

    LSS-SW

    Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest (LSS-SW)

    I-HELP PROGRAM: We provide a safe and secure place for women who are currently experiencing homelessness the 2nd & 4th Thursday of the month.

    FOOD PANTRY: Food boxes distributed Mondays & Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30am.
    Utility & rental assistance by appointment only 480-654-4539.

    Victory Quilters

    We meet the 3rd Tuesday and Wednesday of the month at 8:30am. Come when you can, stay as long as you can; everyone can cut, sew, pin and tie knots. You do not need to be a church or circle member to attend. Bring a friend! The quilts are donated to Navajo Lutheran Mission, Orchard: Africa and Lutheran Social Ministries. We typically break for the summer. Please check schedule.

    MUSIC MINISTRY

    Ensembles at Victory practice weekly during the high season to prepare for weekly worship and special events. In addition, many people share their talents individually. Click here for our concert line-up!

    NAVAJO LUTHERAN MISSION

    Serving the Navajo community of Rock Point, AZ, a remote, isolated village near the Four Corners. The Mission campus includes a K-2 private Christian school, clinic, cultural center, water project and food bank.  (nelm.org)

    FAIR TRADE

    Victory Women support Lutheran World Relief (lwr.org) by selling Fair Trade hand-made crafts, jewelry, coffee and tea that generates income for small-scale businesses in third world countries. 

    OPERATION CHRISTMAS CHILD

    A “shoebox ministry” of Samaritan’s Purse, delivering gift-filled shoeboxes to boys and girls around the world.

    ORCHARD: AFRICA

    To equip the church to respond to poverty & injustice, thereby caring for the vulnerable using four programs: Food & Agriculture, Care, Education and Ministry.  (orchardafrica.org)

    Stephen Ministry

    Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide confidential one-to-one Christian care to individuals in our congregation and community who are experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

    Stephen Ministers are trained by their congregation’s Stephen Leaders using resources from Stephen Ministries St. Louis. The training they receive in the congregation equips them to provide high-quality care to people who are hurting.

    Care receivers are individuals in the congregation or community who are going through a crisis or life difficulty. Potential care receivers first meet with a pastor or Stephen Leader, who assesses their needs for care and matches them with a Stephen Minister.

    After being matched with a person experiencing a life crisis, the Stephen Minister meets with that person on a weekly basis for about an hour to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. The caring relationship lasts as long as the need for care exists.

    “Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2, NRSV)

    WOMEN’S MINISTRY

    Welcome to the vibrant women’s ministry at Victory Lutheran Church! As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we are committed to growing in faith, affirming our gifts, and supporting one another in our callings. Our purpose is to engage in ministry and action, promoting healing and wholeness in the church, society, and the world. At Victory Lutheran Church, our women’s ministry provides a nurturing and empowering space for women of all ages to connect, grow, and serve together. Through uplifting worship, inspiring Bible studies, enriching events, and impactful service opportunities, we equip women to live out their God-given purpose and embrace their unique gifts. Join us as we journey together, fostering fellowship, spiritual growth, and making a lasting impact within our church, our families, and our wider community.

    PURPOSE STATEMENT

    As a community of women created in the image of God, called to discipleship in Jesus Christ,  and empowered by the Holy Spirit, we commit ourselves to grow in faith, affirm our gifts,  support one another in our callings, engage in ministry and action, and promote healing and wholeness in the church, the society, and the world.

    We meet throughout the year on the 2nd Tuesday of the month for Bible Study:

    Summer Schedule (May-Sept)

    2nd Tuesday of the month all groups meet together on campus at 9:30am.

    Winter Schedule (Oct-April)

    • 2nd Tuesday of the month
    • Esperanza Bible Study – 9:30am
    • Naomi Bible Study – 2:00pm
    • Mary Bible Study – 1:30pm (in home)