January 6 marks the end of one season on the Christian calendar – Christmastide – and the beginning of a new one – Epiphany. With origins in the Eastern church stretching back centuries, Epiphany celebrates a variety of events, including the baptism of Jesus, the miracle at Cana, the Nativity, and the visit of the Magi. The word itself means “appearance” or “manifestation.” Epiphany is the season to deeply reflect on the meaning of God’s earthly revelation in Jesus Christ.
Here are five verses related to the Epiphany season:
“Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you” (Isaiah 60:1).
The world, plunged in gloom, is suddenly bathed in divine light. The illumination, emanating from Zion, will draw all nations and every ruler (v 3). Jesus, born in Israel, is this light, the “light of the world.”
How have you experienced this light? In what ways can you carry the light of Christ to others?
“…the mystery made known to me by revelation…” (Ephesians 3:3).
In the Bible, a “mystery” is something that is hidden until revealed by heaven. Jesus Christ is the mystery of God, “in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Colossians 2:2-3).
Paul used the word “mystery” over 20 times in his letters. Here he refers to the revelation that God gave him, unveiling Jesus as the Christ and dispatching him to be apostle to the Gentiles.
How does God reveal Himself today? How would you respond to someone who believed that God is an unfathomable mystery that cannot be known?
“What Jesus did here in Cana of Galilee was the first of the signs through which he revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.” (John 2:11).
John called all of Jesus’ miracles “signs.” He reports that the water-into-wine miracle was the first sign; six more were to follow. The Bible word for “sign” comes from a verb meaning “to signify” or “make known.” Jesus revealed His Messiahship through these signs so that we may believe.
What kinds of “God-signs” do you see in the world today? Why do you think so many people are resistant to the idea of miracles?
“As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water…” (Matthew 3:16)
The baptism of the Lord is linked to the Epiphany season because when Jesus emerged from the river, God revealed Himself as the Holy Trinity. God the Father thundered His pleasure from above, the heavens broke open over the Son of God and the Holy Spirit descended in a form like a dove.
In what ways does baptism reveal God? How does your baptism effect you today?
“…magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.’” (Matthew 2:1-2)
Here we note the stark contrast between Herod, a false king, and Jesus, True King. God uses a star, ancient symbol of royalty, to draw Wise Men from far-off lands to God’s Anointed Ruler. The star announced to the magi, “Arise, shine; for your light has come!” But this astronomical miracle wasn’t solely for a select group of oriental stargazers. The heavenly sign reveals God’s desire to include all peoples in his unfolding salvation plan.
Do you seek divine signs today? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of doing so?
Woman and sunrise photo courtesy of jill111 via pixabay
Baptism of Jesus photo courtesy of strecosa via pixabay