THIRD SUNDAY AFTER EPIPHANY
FIRST READING Isaiah 9:1-4
This was written when the Assyrians were threatening to take over Judah. The prophet sees that God, who once saved his people from the Midianites, is now going to save them again. He sees God’s saving hand in the birth of a prince in the line of David who like his ancestor will make war to establish peace. The prince will rescue Galilee (he speaks here of Zebulon and Naphtali, areas of Galilee, and a few lines further mentions specifically the Galileans). So Christians take the prophecy to mean the rise of Christ, the prince of peace. In all probability the original listeners took it in much the same way, as a prophecy of a coming messiah. The beautiful images (continuing through verse 7) are frequently quoted at Christmas time because they so enhance the story of Jesus‘sbirth.
First Corinthians 1:10-18
This reading in a continuation of last week’s epistle—Paul’s letter to the Christian colony at Corinth. “Chloe’s people, “the servants or slaves of a lady named Chloe, have reported that there are factions in the colony each of which follows one Christian teacher or another–Paul, or Apollo, or Cephas (the Aramaic name for Peter). Paul urges them to overcome these divisions and be united in the gospel, the news, of salvation by Christ on the cross. In next week’s reading, we will hear Paul’s explanation of the doctrine of the cross which,he says, will sound like foolishness to those that decline the proffered salvation.
©Arthur H. Cash