Epiphany of the Lord (January 6, 2016)
- First reading
- Second reading
Today is Epiphany. From Wikipedia:
- Epiphany (“Manifestation”, “striking appearance”)
- Theophany – Τheophaneia meaning “Vision of God”
- also known as Three Kings’ Day,
- is a Christian feast day that celebrates the revelation of God the Son as human in Jesus Christ. In Western Christianity, the feast commemorates principally (but not solely) the visit of the Magi to the Christ child, and thus Jesus’ physical manifestation to the Gentiles
We celebrate the wise men coming to Bethlehem to pay homage to the Christ child. The wise men or magi, reveal who this child is. They bring him three gifts (Note: that this is the important part of the story, whether there were three or more or less – not so important – at least to me.) These three gifts are:
- Gold – designates that Jesus is a king. We know that Jesus is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.
- Francencense – a perfume or incense – designates that Jesus is the great high priest (as the writer of Hebrews puts it.)
- Myrrh – another perfume – in ancient times it was put on the body as an embalming perfume. It was bitter – death is bitter – and signified that Jesus would die for our sins.
For more about the feast of Epiphany click here.
Ephesians 3:1-12 New Living Translation
3 When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . 2 assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. 3 As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. 4 As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ.5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.
6 And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus. 7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.
8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ. 9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.
10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
As I already mentioned, today is Epiphany. We celebrate that Christ was made “manifest” to the wise men and to the world. I often refer to Epiphany as the season of light. The readings for Epiphany spend a great deal of time with Jesus being the light of the world. Epiphany is a great time to talk about the mission of the church and many times I also emphasis missions as well. Jesus was God’s plan to reveal his plan to both the Jews and the Gentiles. Paul was a Jew by birth, but God chose him to take the message to the Gentiles, being that Paul was also a Roman citizen – it would give him a large audience. Paul was to explain the mystery of Jesus coming as Emmanuel – God with us – God in the flesh – how he came to live among us – die for our sins – rise again for us to break the bonds of sin. Paul reminds us that this was the plan from the beginning, not something cooked up after we sinned. I like how Paul also reminds the church that this is why we were placed here. The church is suppose to display God’s wisdom. Lord have mercy when we don’t do that.
So because Christ came to the earth to be our sacrifice – to be the redemption of human kind – we can now come boldly to his throne – to worship Him – to pray to Him – to be his people!