Epiphany - The Reveal
“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod, the king, behold, magi from the East arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw his star in the East and have come to worship him.” –Matthew 2: 1-2
Dear friends, in this season of Epiphany, I would like to invite you into an exploration of how you can allow the presence of Christ to be more fully revealed in your life. This year the season of Epiphany began with the Feast Day of Epiphany (January 6) and will end on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday (February 21).
Epiphany comes from the Greek word for “reveal.” As Christians, we celebrate how the star of Bethlehem was a sign in the sky that the Magi followed, which led them to the Christ child. Through this child, whom prophets foretold, the love of God for all people was revealed.
The gospel stories designated in the lectionary for the season of Epiphany describe various events that reveal the divinity of this child the Magi traveled to greet and worship in Bethlehem. In the lectionary, these gospel stories were chosen for corporate worship and private study in the season of Epiphany so that we might read about the ways the divinity of Christ was revealed during his earthly life and ministry.
In the gospel stories of Christ's baptism, we discover this child would grow to be the One whom John, a wilderness preacher, would baptize and pave the way for those who would become Christ’s disciples. (The gospel reading for Sunday, January 8, 2023, was Matthew 3:13-17.)
In the gospel stories of John, the baptizer’s proclamation of Jesus as the Christ, we discover this child would be the One who is filled with the Holy Spirit. (The gospel reading for Sunday, January 15, 2023, is John 1:29-42.)
In the gospel stories of the calling of the disciples, we discover this child would grow to be the One who would inspire others to follow him and seek to experience and build God’s radically transformative kin-dom in which all people are seen and experienced as God’s beloved. (The gospel reading for Sunday, January 22, 2023, is Matthew 4:12-23.)
In the gospel stories of Jesus’ sermon on the mount, we discover this child would grow to be the One who will teach the way of holy living. (The gospel reading for Sunday, January 29, 2023, is Matthew 5:1-12.)
In the gospel stories of Jesus’ childhood, we discover this child would be named and claimed by wise leaders in the temple on the day of his presentation as a “Messiah” for whom the world has been waiting. (The gospel reading for Thursday, February 2, 2023, is Luke 2:22-40.)
In the gospel stories of the teachings of Jesus, we discover this child would grow to be the One who would teach us how to be servants of God as light and salt of the world. (The gospel reading for Sunday, February 5, 2023, is Matthew 5: 13-20)
In the gospel stories of hard sayings of Jesus, we discover this child would grow to be the One who never shied away from naming the cost of discipleship. (The gospel reading for Sunday, February 12, 2023, is Matthew 5: 21-37.)
And finally, in the gospel stories of the transfiguration, we discover this child would grow to be the One who was both fully human and fully divine. (The gospel reading for Sunday, February 19, 2023, is Matthew 17: 1-9.)
During this season of Epiphany, I invite you to read, study, pray and reflect upon these scriptures. What do these gospel stories reveal about the person and ministry of Jesus Christ?
But remember, the gospel stories do not end with what has been recorded in scripture. The spirit of the living God, the presence of Christ, is still moving afresh in you and me.
There are signs and wonders of Christ all around us. Yet, like the Magi, we must pay attention to their appearance. While for us it might not be a star in the sky, it could be something you see, hear or experience that has the power to reveal a deeper truth and connection with you, the divine.
The key is to have an open heart attuned to the workings of the Spirit. Pay attention to the nudges of the Spirit. And then, like the Magi, when something is revealed to you, have faith and trust to follow, not knowing from the outset where it will lead you. In this season of Epiphany, may you experience the awe of how the Spirit of God will show in your life when you commit to the watching, wondering, and wandering of faith.
Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister