A Note from Pastor Rall: EPIPHANY OF OUR LORD

Epiphany is a Christian feast day that celebrates the visit of the Magi to the Christ child, and thus His physical manifestation to the Gentiles.  The date of Epiphany is January 6th, the 12th day after Christmas.  It appears from Matthew’s account of the visit of the Magi that the baby Jesus could have been already a toddler.  He was dwelling in a house with His parents when the Magi visited Him, and Herod’s attempt to kill this new king caused him to slaughter baby boys in the vicinity of Bethlehem who were two years old and younger, based upon when the Magi had first seen the star in the East.

The Christian Church commemorates the Baptism of Jesus on the first Sunday after the Epiphany, which this year falls on the very first day after Epiphany, so we remember both this Sunday.  Both of these events serve as revelations of the true nature of Jesus.  The Magi worship Jesus and present Him gifts that are befitting a king.  At the baptism of Jesus, the Father Himself pronounces Jesus as His Son and the Holy Spirit descends to dwell in Him.

The word Epiphany comes from the Greek word which means “to appear”.  The season of Epiphany then is all about the manifestation of Jesus, His true nature as the Son of God and His mission to redeem all peoples.

The Baptism of Jesus is important for our understanding of the significance of our baptism.  In baptism God claims us as His own children.  He makes us part of His family, in effect saying, “You are my beloved son/daughter, and I love you”.  He creates with us a new relationship that makes us heirs of all the blessings that Jesus has secured for us.  Our baptism is the assurance of His eternal love for us.  But our baptism is also a call to share the mission of our Lord – to seek and save the lost.  In John’s Gospel, Jesus begins to call disciples to follow Him immediately after His baptism.  His baptism marks the beginning of His ministry.  In the same way our baptism joins us to Christ and to His great love for all people, so that we can share in the mission of bringing good news to the nations.

…Pastor Rall