Welcome to this week’s edition of Word Nerd Wednesday where I’ll be demystifying a church observance – Epiphany. Have you experienced a personal epiphany?
(Greek – epiphaneia, appearance) to manifest; to show.
1. a Christian festival held on January 6th to celebrate the manifestation of the divine nature of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi.
2. a revelatory manifestation of a divine being.
3.a. a sudden manifestation of the meaning or essence of something; b. a sudden intuitive realization or perception of reality.
Though not a word that appears in the Bible, epiphany carries significant meaning for Christians. Western and Eastern Churches vary somewhat as to what is actually celebrated, but the gist is that Jesus was made known to the world as the incarnation of God in human form.Epiphany - Jesus made known. #wordnerdwednesday #epiphany Click To Tweet
On the 8th day after Jesus’ birth, His parents presented Him in the temple where Simeon and Anna recognized this baby as God’s Salvation and Redeemer for the world. (Luke 2:25-38) The Jewish population should have been well acquainted with the fulfillment of prophecy regarding the Messiah.
But Epiphany celebrates God’s revelation to the Gentiles in the form of three prominent visitors from the East. God led the Maji by a star to the cradle of the Christ. Along the way the Magi asked the Jewish leaders where ancient texts claimed the Messiah would be born. Jewish scholars and religious leaders failed to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, yet used their own written prophecy to direct the Maji to Bethlehem. (Matthew 2:1-12)
Epiphany can also be said to commemorate Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist where God said, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased” as the Holy Spirit descended upon him (Matthew 3:13-17) and His first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding feast in Cana which displayed His deity (John 2:1-12).
An Epiphany Appearing
Each time a person recognizes Christ as their entirely human yet fully-God Savior they experience a personal epiphany.Each time a person recognizes Christ as their entirely human yet fully-God Savior they experience a personal epiphany. #wordnerdwednesday #epiphany Click To Tweet
Christ also appeared to Mary outside the tomb after His resurrection (John 20:16), the apostles in the upper room (Luke 24:36, John 20:24-29), Peter who had returned to his previous career (John 21), and several other times before His ascension into heaven. In all these appearances, the essence of His teachings became apparent to His followers causing many to believe.
He will manifest Himself to us all once again as He returns to claim His rightful reign over all creation. At that point, every knee shall bend and every mouth proclaim the reality of His Kingship (Romans 14:11).
When He reappears, there will be a sudden intuitive perception of His reality by those who once doubted. Revelation depicts the final epiphany.Revelation depicts the final epiphany. #wordnerdwednesday #epiphany Click To Tweet
12 Days of Christmas & Epiphany
The carol the Twelve Days of Christmas actually refers to the time between December 25th and the Christian festival of Epiphany. While the familiar song may seem non-sensical and secular in nature, it was actually created as a means of learning the tenants of the Christian faith by Catholics living in England between 1558 and 1829 who were forbidden by Parliament to practice their faith. Read more history about the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas.’
Dig in the Word
Take a moment to look up the bible verses referenced here. I’d love to know which one speaks the most to you about the true identity of our Lord and Savior. Leave a comment about why you picked it.