Over the last few weeks I have been listening to the biography of Steve Jobs by Walter Issacson. Jobs was a fascinating man who was not without character flaws. He was a man of intense passion for his product and did whatever it took to make sure Apple produced a flawless project. He was a bully and and a wholesale jerk, but the man was also a genius.
What was fascinating to me was he never really invented much. While his name is on all kinds of patents, where his influence was felt was taking great ideas and developing them into something magnificent by using his sharpened sense of intuition and “gut”. He wasn’t much of an engineer or designer. His talents produced perfection by virtue of the great people he surrounded himself with and a relentless desire to get things right.
One such example of being relentless was the various launch events he was so well known for. Jobs was a master of creating buzz and heightening peoples expectation – then delivering. He would obsess over excruciating details of each launch event to make sure everything was perfect – from the lighting to the final reveal.
And it worked. Jobs would have so many people worked into a frenzy and had the ability to deliver. What was promised was delivered. And, it was great.
Epiphany is about expectation. In the first verse of our gospel reading this week it literally says – the people were filled with expectation. They knew something was happening with the prophet in the desert and the one he spoke of – Jesus. The people of Israel had put their trust in so many idols and leaders and had been let down.
But Jesus was something entirely different. They knew something was coming. They just had no idea how real and beautiful it was.
This week we will focus on the excitement and expectations we have about Jesus. How does he change things? When he comes on the scene, what is different? How have our expectations about Jesus been met or exceeded? How have we been let down? What have we misunderstood?
Join us this week as we anticipate Jesus.
Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Everyone was expecting the Messiah to come soon, and they were eager to know whether John might be the Messiah. John answered their questions by saying, “I baptize you with water; but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am—so much greater that I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the straps of his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.”
One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.”
But now, O Jacob, listen to the Lord who created you.
O Israel, the one who formed you says,
“Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you.
I have called you by name; you are mine.
When you go through deep waters,
I will be with you.
When you go through rivers of difficulty,
you will not drown.
When you walk through the fire of oppression,
you will not be burned up;
the flames will not consume you.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.
I gave Egypt as a ransom for your freedom;
I gave Ethiopia and Seba in your place.
Others were given in exchange for you.
I traded their lives for yours
because you are precious to me.
You are honored, and I love you.
“Do not be afraid, for I am with you.
I will gather you and your children from east and west.
I will say to the north and south,
‘Bring my sons and daughters back to Israel
from the distant corners of the earth.
Bring all who claim me as their God,
for I have made them for my glory.
It was I who created them.’”
Honor the Lord, you heavenly beings;
honor the Lord for his glory and strength.
Honor the Lord for the glory of his name.
Worship the Lord in the splendor of his holiness.
The voice of the Lord echoes above the sea.
The God of glory thunders.
The Lord thunders over the mighty sea.
The voice of the Lord is powerful;
the voice of the Lord is majestic.
The voice of the Lord splits the mighty cedars;
the Lord shatters the cedars of Lebanon.
He makes Lebanon’s mountains skip like a calf;
he makes Mount Hermon leap like a young wild ox.
The voice of the Lord strikes
with bolts of lightning.
The voice of the Lord makes the barren wilderness quake;
the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh.
The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks
and strips the forests bare.
In his Temple everyone shouts, “Glory!”
The Lord rules over the floodwaters.
The Lord reigns as king forever.
The Lord gives his people strength.
The Lord blesses them with peace.
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria had accepted God’s message, they sent Peter and John there. As soon as they arrived, they prayed for these new believers to receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them, for they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John laid their hands upon these believers, and they received the Holy Spirit.