Jesus is safe and effective to cure our sin

Published 6:00 am Friday, January 8, 2021

People around the world celebrated as we watched front line workers everywhere getting vaccinated.

We celebrated because this could signal the end of the pandemic that has gripped our world for almost a year and killed more than 1.7 million people. We should celebrate.

We also just celebrated Christmas. We celebrated the arrival of the Christ child which could signal the end of death’s reign over all of humanity. As Zechariah said in Luke 1:68, 69 “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and redeemed His people . . . that we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us.” We should indeed celebrate.

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Despite the opportunity to receive a potentially life-saving vaccine, many people remain skeptical and may not take it. Therefore, a major campaign is underway to convince as many people as possible to get vaccinated.

The heads of the CDC and FDA have been interviewed to assure us that the vaccine is safe and effective. Medical professionals across the country are getting vaccinated in front of the camera to demonstrate the vaccine is safe and effective. Political leaders, celebrities and sports heroes are all volunteering to get vaccinated in front of an audience to convince as many as possible that the vaccine is safe and effective. If we don’t believe the vaccine is safe and effective we won’t get vaccinated and it won’t help us.

The Christ child, whose birth we just celebrated, cannot defeat sin, death and the devil for us unless we believe that he too is safe and effective.

The greatest gift ever will go unused unless we believe. That’s what the season of Epiphany is all about. It’s all about showing us exactly who Jesus is so that we believe that he is safe and effective.

Epiphany begins with God moving the stars in the sky to show some magi who the Christ child is. Then we’ll see Jesus getting baptized in the Jordan River and hear God the Father declare from heaven, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

We will see Jesus doing things we simply can’t do like changing water into wine, healing the sick and raising the dead.

The season of Epiphany will end with Jesus being transfigured and we will hear God the Father say “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew 17:5) All so that you know that Jesus is the Son of God who defeated sin, death and the devil for you. So that you know that he is safe and effective versus the sin virus that you struggle with.

The 12 days of Christmas come to an end and Epiphany begins on Jan. 6, and God comes to unwrap that spectacular gift so that you can celebrate the forgiveness of your sins every day.

REV. MATTHEW SORENSON is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at