Epiphany, in the Christian tradition, is cited in the story in Matthew’s gospel, of the coming of the three wise men to the place where the baby Jesus lay; and their discovery that this child was indeed special. So special that they left valuable gifts for the babe, of Gold, Frankincense and Myrrh.
These sages had followed a moving star, a phenomenon they detected. They saw in it an indication of something wonderfully important; the birth of a King, perhaps; and they stopped at the court of King Herod and asked where this might happen. The answer, written by the prophet, told them; “In Bethlehem, in the land of Judah.”
Herod became more than concerned, and spoke with the wise men, telling them to, “go search for the child, then tell me where he is, that I may come worship him, also.”
These men were indeed wise, and after finding and honoring Jesus, they returned to their own country by another road, not returning to tell Herod where the child was.
When the early Church heard the story of these wise men being led to Jesus, they looked at the incident as a revelation, a sudden Epiphany, and since that time have held that indeed the child Jesus, the Messiah, had been born to not only the Jews, but to the whole of mankind, we the Gentiles and all. To this day there is an awakening in each when they come to accept Jesus as their King. It is our personal Epiphany.
John the Baptist had an Epiphany, when at the Baptism of Jesus in the river Jordan, he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, alighting on Jesus, and a voice from heaven saying, “This is my son, the beloved, of whom I am well pleased.”
Andrew had listened to John the Baptist speaking of Jesus saying, “Look here is the Lamb of God.” And in Andrew’s Epiphany moment he went to his brother, Simon Peter, and said to him, “We have found the Messiah.”
Mary and Joseph took the child Jesus to the temple at the time of his purification, according to Jewish law; and they offered sacrifice accordingly. A man named Simeon, who had been told he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah, took Jesus in his arms and praised God, saying, “Lord, you now have set your servant free to go in peace as you have promised.” Simeon, in his Epiphany moment praised God.
All of these instances were in effect, Epiphanies; most certainly revelations or sudden insights which were for the moment overwhelming as the knowledge that Jesus, the Son of God, had come to earth to be with all of us; Andrew, Peter, Simeon, you and me. All who are woke to Jesus being in their lives. AMEN
The Rev. George O. Martin is an Ordained Deacon at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 17th and Adams, Great Bend. Send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.