Isaiah 60:1-6 Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14 Ephesians 3:1-12 Matthew 2:1-12
The word “epiphany” refers to a manifestation of a divine being; and also means an illumination, or insight, into the essence of something.
Jesus is God Incarnate, the manifestation of a divine being—God among us to rescue us from the darkness of sin and death. Jesus gives us insight into the essence of God—Loving Creator and Savior.
We need an epiphany. We live in darkness. It is not always clear that God is loving, nor do we always feel saved. The decline of faith around us signifies the power of darkness. Truth is silenced by political correctness. Hopelessness manifests in myriad ways. Many of us are lonely in our core, wounded and hurt, hungry for the Healing Light. This is what drove those wise men many miles because they had heard the testimony of the stars: a king is born. When they finally find Jesus they rejoice, but in the darkness Herod waits to destroy the child.
Isaiah proclaims hope in God’s Light—but let us hear his voice to understand our predicament.
Isaiah 58-59 spells out the problem. (p533)
(58:1)“Shout out do not hold back! Lift up your voice like a trumpet! (God tells the prophet) Announce to my people their rebellion, to the house of Jacob their sins.” YHWH rejects their pious practices as a faith devoid of justice.
(58:6-11) “IF you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness. The Lord will guide you…and satisfy your needs.”
(59:1-2) See…your iniquities have been barriers between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.” God finds no truth, no justice—so He vows to come among us Himself.
In Isaiah 60, God comes like the rising sun to begin the new day. Jerusalem also shines, drawing the peoples of the world to her. God’s holy city will be the habitation of all who love, trust and obey Him.
“Rise, shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people, but the Lord will arise upon you, and His glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light and kings to the brightness of your dawn….the wealth of the nations shall come to you…they shall bring gold and frankincense and shall proclaim the praise of the Lord.” Matthew 2 tells us that the wisemen brought their wealth, they made gifts of gold and frankincense. God Himself has come among us in Jesus. The light of God, the glory of God is here in His flesh. But there is one other gift, myrrh. It is not until Matthew 26 that we understand why the myrrh is included. In the house of Simon a woman came and poured a jar of myrrh on Jesus’ head as He sat at table. Jesus says, “by pouring this myrrh on my body she has prepared Me for burial.” The darkness will consume Jesus, He dies to save us, but the Son will rise. Darkness will be defeated by the Light of God: Jesus. This is the essential meaning of Epiphany. Repent and Believe the Good News.