The First Sunday after Epiphany
January 7, 1996
I. Mary's Cross
A. No bliss until heaven.
B. Saints also suffered.
II. The Meaning behind Suffering
A. Remove pride.
B. Experience the cross of Christ.
C. Make us thankful.
"Later on we read that even the most prominent leaders, both Peter and Barnabas, fell into error and all the other Jews with them. Then Paul alone rose up and rebuked Peter publicly, as he himself writes in Galatians 2:11."
Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholas Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, II, p. 28.
"For if they [great saints] should at all times be strong in spirit, and experience only joy and sweetness, they might finally fall into the fatal pride of the devil, which despises God and trusts in self."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 40.
"But, they say, the Christian church is always led by the Holy Spirit, who will not permit the church to err or go wrong. To this we answer with what we said before: However good the church may be, it has never possessed the Spirit in as large a measure as Mary, who although she was led by the Spirit, erred nevertheless, so that we might learn from her experience."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 27.
"In a word; He will not permit himself to be found either among friends and acquaintances, nor in anything outside of His Word."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 43.
"Thus you see, that God can deal with His saints in a way to deprive them of happiness and comfort whenever He pleases, and cast them into the greatest fear concerning that in which they have their greatest joy. So, likewise, He can again confer the greatest joy."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 36.
"Secondly, God permits His saints to suffer these trials as an example for others, both to alarm the carnally secure and to comfort the timid and alarmed...But when we see and hear that God has in like manner dealt with His saints and did not spare even His own mother, we have the knowledge and comfort that we need not despair in our trials, but remain quiet and wait until He helps us, even as He has helped all His saints."
Sermons of Martin Luther, II, p. 40f.
The Day of Epiphany is when the Wise Men saw Jesus, guided by the Star of Bethlehem. The Sundays in Epiphany emphasize the miraculous deeds of Christ, culminating in the Transfiguration, when He appeared with Moses and Elijah, and changed before the disciples' eyes, prefiguring the Resurrection.