Beliefnet
Mark D. Roberts

Today is Epiphany, the day after the twelve-day celebration of Christmas
(or in some liturgical calendars, the twelfth day of the Christmas
season). The English word “Epiphany” comes from the Greek word epiphaneia,
which means “appearing” or “revealing.” Epiphany focuses on God’s
self-revelation in Christ. On this day, some Christian traditions pay
special attention to the visit of the Magi. Other traditions focus on
the baptism of Jesus, especially the voice from heaven that identifies
Jesus as God’s Son. In either case, the emphasis is upon God making
himself known to the world through Jesus, the divine Son. (Photo: “Epiphany” by Hieronymus Bosch, 1475-80.)

bosch-epiphany-5.jpg

The
theological essence of Epiphany is found in 2 Timothy 1:9-10: “For God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning of time–to show us his grace through Christ Jesus. And now [God]
has made all of this plain to us by the appearing of Christ Jesus, our
Savior. He broke the power of death and illuminated the way to life and
immortality through the Good News.” If you were reading this verse in
Greek, you’d find the word epiphaneia where we have “appearing.” God has made “all of this” plain to us through the epiphany of Christ.

But
what is “all of this”? We find an answer in the previous verse: “For
God saved us and called us to live a holy life. He did this, not because
we deserved it, but because that was his plan from before the beginning
of time–to show us his grace through Christ Jesus.” The original
language makes it clear that “all of this” is God’s plan (or purpose)
and grace. In other words, through Jesus, God not only reveals himself
to us, but also reveals his plan to save us, a plan that centers in his
grace. The gracious plan of God reflects and confirms his gracious
character.

If we want to know God, we must turn our eyes to
Jesus. In his words and deeds, and most of all in his sacrificial death,
he reveals God to us. On this day of Epiphany, let us thank God for
making himself known to us in such a marvelous way. And let us renew our
commitment to sharing this good news with the world.

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