Christmas ended yesterday (in the church calendar there are 12 days of Christmas), and today is Epiphany traditionally the day that the church recognizes the visitation of the wise men to Jesus. First, lets dispel a little myth. The wise men most likely didn’t show up to see Jesus, Joseph and Mary until Jesus was about 2 years old. Second, We really don’t know how many wise men there were that came to visit. We often surmise three of them because of the three gifts brought, and laid at the feet of Jesus.
Here is the beautiful thing about Epiphany, the light that pierces the darkness has come, the hope of the nations has arrived, and we can now experience this marvelous light for ourselves just as the wise men did all those years ago. Jesus is this light in the world that is pushing back the darkness, that is charging against the gates of hell, rescuing people from death.
For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles arefellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God’s grace, which was given me by the working of his power. To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him. So I ask you not to lose heart over what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. (Ephesians 3:1-13, ESV)
In Paul’s letter to the Ephesians he recounts for them the mystery of the ages being made known through out all the earth, in Christ. This is the moment that all of creation had been waiting for. It is the very strength that we have when all other strength has been lost. It is the opportunity to continue on when you don’t think you can do it any more. Most importantly it is the hope and empowerment that we don’t have to live a broken life any more.
It is through this Gospel, that the light of the nations would come and dwell among us, to show us a better way and to commission us as agents of the kingdom of light, having been liberated from the kingdom of darkness. As Peter writes in his letter to the church as it was scattered all over the Mediterranean world:
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10, ESV)
Many scholars understand the letter going to incredibly diverse regions. Peter is calling believers to resist the former life and embrace the light. The challenge for us today is the same, we must leave what is behind and run into the marvelous light of Jesus Christ. Our posture should be the same as the wise men, whatever it takes get to the light and humble yourself before it.
Epiphany reminds us that we are to embrace this divine light, and remember that it calls us to a life of humility and one that pushes out the darkness so that others see the light in us and glorify the great God of the universe, our Father.