Epiphany of the Lord (January 6, 2017)
- First reading
- Second reading
Ephesians 3:1-12 | New Living Translation (NLT)
When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles . . . assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles. As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me. As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ. God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.
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. By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.
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. I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.
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. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.
Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
Today is Epiphany. You may ask what is Epiphany. I think the easiest way to describe Epiphany is to describe what an epiphany is. An epiphany is an “ah-a” moment. If you think of it as a cartoon, it’s when the lightbulb appears in the characters’s thought bubble. It’s that moment when we say, “I’ve got it!”
Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of Jesus to the world. It is the day – it always falls on January 6th – after the 12 days of Christmas, which we finished up yesterday – that we celebrate the wise men – or the magi – coming to visit Jesus. In many ways they represent that Jesus came as a savior for the whole world. As we look at the scripture above, this is what Paul is getting at. Jesus did not just come for the Jewish people, but he came for the Gentiles as well. The wise men’s gifts symbolize what he came for. The wise men brought him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Gold represents his kingship. Frankincense represents that Jesus is the high priest. Finally myrrh represents that Jesus will die for our sins and be our Savior. The wisemen were foreigners – they were not Jewish and yet God revealed Jesus to them. God gave the Gentiles an epiphany moment.
Paul reminds us that all who believe the good news, whether Jew or Gentile are all God’s children. We are heirs to the promise of Jesus Christ. We can share in the riches of Christ. Because of this, Paul reminds us that we can come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.
While Epiphany is a one day event, this idea that Christ came for all spread throughout the next weeks. It is the first of two ordinary time seasons. However the season that follows will emphasize the mission of Christ to the world. Paul writes, “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. This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The next several weeks, look at the mission of Jesus and the mission of the church. How do we bring light to the world? How do we bring Christ’s light to the world?.
Today however, remember that Jesus was revealed to the world through the magi.