“For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:11-14).
- The visible manifestation of the invisible deity.
- A moment of sudden revelation or insight.
In January, we enter the season of Epiphany. Though most don’t give it much attention, Epiphany is one of the five great seasons of the Church (Advent, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost). Each season of the Church represents a primary facet of Jesus Christ’s ministry, and Epiphany is no different. While most people think of the three wise men when they think of Epiphany, Epiphany is not just the commemoration of the Adoration of the Magi. Rather, Epiphany is the season of Jesus Christ’s manifestation on earth and God’s revelation that Jesus is God the Son made flesh.
The specific events in the Gospels that we commemorate in Epiphany include:
- The Nativity – The Epiphany of Christ in the Manger to the Shepherds;
- The Adoration of the Magi – The Epiphany of Christ to the Gentiles;
- The Baptism of our Lord – The Epiphany of Christ by the Father and the Holy Spirit; and
- The Wedding Feast of Cana – The Epiphany of Christ through His own power.
But more than commemorating specific events that demonstrate the manifestation of God the Son in Jesus Christ, Epiphany is the season of the revelation of the Word of God made flesh. Jesus did reveal Himself in power (just as the angels proclaimed His coming, and the star proclaimed His coming, and God the Father and the Holy Spirit proclaimed His coming), but more importantly, Jesus revealed Himself in what He said and taught. Even more importantly, Jesus revealed Himself to us through what He did for us all on the cross. While we commemorate the visible manifestation of God in Jesus Christ, Jesus did not just come to be seen to be God. No, Jesus came for a purpose. He came to teach us, and to lead us, and to suffer and die for us, saving us from the power of sin and death. It is through His Word and through Christ’s death and resurrection, that God is revealed to us. This is the true Epiphany – God revealed to our heart by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
And this is an Epiphany that continues today. Each day, God is revealed to us in His Word. And that Word directs us to become the visible manifestation of the invisible God in this world. When we bring the love of Jesus Christ to our neighbor, it is an Epiphany. When we proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to our neighbor, it is an Epiphany. When we struggle, and suffer for Christ’s sake and the sake of the Gospel, it is an Epiphany. In our community, to our neighbors, we – as the Body of Christ – are God’s Epiphany today.
“Therefore, do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord… who saved us and called us to a holy calling, not because of our works but because of his own purpose and grace, which he gave us in Christ Jesus before the ages began, and which now has been manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel…” (2 Timothy 18-10).