We are in the Sundays after the Epiphany, a time in which we reflect on the revelation that appeared in the LIFE of Jesus. Our focus here is on what he said and did during his three year ministry on earth.
As Christians we believe Christ is the final revelation of who God is and what God’s will for humanity is. We are Christ centered. Jesus himself said that the Scriptures testify of him (John 5.39). They are all about Christ.
How Christ behaved is how God is and Jesus embodies and confirms the God who is revealed in the course of Israel’s history. A climactic statement of this God’s will for humanity is found in Micah 6:8,
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
In Matthew 23:23 Jesus references this passage as a summary of the “weightier” (ESV) or “more important” (NIV) matters of God’s law.
To act justly is to seek justice in the world. John Stott summarizes this well,
seeking man’s liberation from oppression, together with the promotion of civil rights, justice in the law courts, integrity in business dealings and honour in home and family affairs (The Message of the Sermon on the Mount).
God is concerned that people be treated fairly and more than that he wants us to have sympathy for the plight of other people. John Ylvisaker says that in the Bible “mercy is an act of sympathetic love toward those who are in need of assistance in a temporal or spiritual way” (Buls’ Notes).
To walk humbly is to live by faith (this is exactly how Jesus interprets this phrase in Matthew 23.23). It means “to live in conscious fellowship with God, exercising a spirit of humility before him” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary). It is to live each moment of each day in God awareness. Such a God awareness is to shape the very way we live our lives.
Jesus embodied all these qualities of the more important matters of the law. He lived as one God aware. He sought the right treatment of all people. He entered sympathetically into the plight of others.
As Christians we are to live this way in our world, being shaped by Jesus’ example and empowered by his presence in our lives. Who we are in our jobs, our homes, our communities should reflect a life being drawn into the reality that has come in Christ.
The Sundays after Epiphany help us stay on track. They bring before us once more the revelation that has appeared in Christ’s life and teaching. May the remaining weeks of this season be transformative and may we more fully reflect Christ into our world.
May God’s glory be reflected in your life!