As we have entered into the season of Epiphany, let’s take this time to briefly examine what this season is all about. “Epiphany” means “to shine light upon.” And in Jesus, God reveals who He is. Let’s just look at a few examples”
1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2 saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”
Jesus is the one worshipped by magi. Gentiles are brought into the fold. There may be times when we doubt our worthiness to be in the fold of Jesus. And we are correct to acknowledge that our sin should keep us from God. But all people who believe are grafted into God’s chosen people. Even the most unworthy. Being in God’s chosen people was never about bloodline anyway. It was always about those who trust the promises of God. And God, in bringing these magi to Jesus, gives another reminder that the Good News of God’s love and forgiveness in his Savior is for all who would believe.
13 Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. 14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
Jesus is the Son of God. We know who his earthly parents are. But now, God makes a bold statement of who his real Father is… and just what the qualifications of this Savior are. We each deserve death for our own sins. We certainly could not die for another… we’ve got our own sins to pay for. When this Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world dies on our behalf, the sacrifice… is a sacrifice of God himself. God the Son has come to offer himself.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
Jesus is the Lord of Creation. Here at a wedding, a fairly common occurrence, Jesus does something most uncommon: Changing of water into wine. The water, the molecules, the atoms themselves all change at the direction of the one who put them all together in the first place. He wills the water to become wine… and it can do nothing else but what the Lord of Creation wishes.
17 And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor.” 20 And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. 21 And he began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus is the keeper of promises. God has been promising a Savior from the beginning. Jesus himself is now claiming to be that long-awaited promised one.
33 And in the synagogue there was a man who had the spirit of an unclean demon, and he cried out with a loud voice,34 “Ha! What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God.” 35 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be silent and come out of him!” And when the demon had thrown him down in their midst, he came out of him, having done him no harm.36 And they were all amazed and said to one another, “What is this word? For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits, and they come out!”
Jesus is the King over all Creatures. Even the rebellious demons obey his every word. There is nothing else for them to do when the Word of God become flesh speaks to them. When the Word of God, who was present at the creation of the world… when the original creator even of these now rebellious creatures… commands them. They must obey his authority. And so he proves that no one can snatch us out of his hand.
29 And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. 30 And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, 31 who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.
Jesus is the one who fulfills the Law and the Prophets. Even when mankind couldn’t keep the Law of the Lord. Indeed, when humans were doing nothing but rebelling against God… in selfishness or in fear… God himself would keep these commandments on our behalf. He fulfills the obligations of mankind… and he fulfills the promises of God.
The story of Epiphany is how God Himself shows up in love… and how His love moves Him to save us… so that we would be with Him forever. Amen.
Pastor Jeremy May