Why is Epiphany so Important?

And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Luke 3:22

Our text today is Luke 3:15-22: Last week, we celebrated Epiphany, when the wise men visited the infant Christ. Today’s reading, takes us to Jesus’ baptism, marking the beginning of his ministry. From now until Easter, our Lectionary readings will follow the ministry of Christ through to his death and resurrection.

The Jewish people had been waiting for a Messiah, a Saviour, to restore the throne of David, release the Jewish people from the oppressive Romans’ rule, gather lost tribes and restore Israel to its past glory. When John the Baptist suddenly appeared on the scene, many Jews wondered if he was the one who was the Messiah.

In this passage from Luke’s Gospel, we find the people around John in the wilderness. The wilderness reminds the Jewish people of Exodus, their wandering for forty years. The wilderness is where Israel was formed into a people of God. The wilderness symbolises the place people come for spiritual renewal.

John responds by preaching of a more powerful one who will come to them. The baptism offered by John brings repentance but the one who is coming will bring the fire of the Spirit to purify and redeem.

In the Jordan River, Jesus is baptised. Whilst the baptism of Jesus is important, the real message for us is what takes place after the baptism. After Jesus is baptised, God affirms Jesus as the beloved Son. The Holy Spirit descends on him in bodily form like a dove. Jesus offers himself through baptism and prayer. God affirms Jesus through divine voice as well as the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Hence, Jesus’ identity as the Son of God has been established. This is the meaning of Epiphany – God is Christ. Jesus has been revealed to the world.

Why is the period of Epiphany so important to us as Christians? God in Christ Jesus has been revealed to the world. We explore how the nature of God continues to be revealed. We find hope that even in darkness and when we are wandering in the wilderness, God is always present in our lives and in the world. The Holy Spirit invites us into God’s saving and redeeming grace.

Today, we are reminded that our ministry as individuals and as a church is dependent on prayerfully seeking God’s direction then it is God who resources us, and we will not fail. Let us use this day of the baptism of Jesus to be reminded of our baptism; our calling to serve God. God will affirm and commission you to engage in God’s mission.

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