The traditional reading for this feast is that of the visitation of the Magi, as recorded in the second chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. In this classic tale, we see the beginnings of faith among the peoples of the world in Jesus the Messiah. Traditional readings for the Sundays after Epiphany continue on the theme. The first Sunday after Epiphany recounts Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist, the official start of his public ministry which was accompanied by a heavenly declaration of Jesus’ status as God’s Son. The following Sundays traditionally recount his earliest miracles (most especially his first “sign” performed at a wedding in Cana) and the calling of his disciples. In the modern lectionary, the season ends with the Sunday before Lent, when we hear the story of his Transfiguration, truly the clearest manifestation of his divine glory up to that point in his ministry. Immediately after this, Luke recounts how he “set his face on Jerusalem.” The Transfiguration thus serves as a very appropriate hinge from Epiphany to Lent.
Epiphany is a season when we are called to remember our first duty to proclaim Christ to the world. In him God was made manifest in human flesh. As baptized members of his body, it is now our duty and our joy to continue to make him manifest to the world by proclaiming his gospel both by word and deed to all who do not yet believe it.
On this day, I highly encourage you to set aside some time with your family to read together the story of the Magi’s visitation (Matthew 2:1-12) or of Christ’s baptism (Matthew 3:1-17) and to pray as a single household, both thanking God for so great a gift as Jesus and to ask him how he might empower you to more clearly proclaim his good news to the world.
One key way we manifest Christ’s presence in our lives is by being attached to a local body of believers who bear his name. This Epiphany season we will be offering a new members class at Christ Church Anglican. Click here for more information.
Christ is surely manifested in the world through his church, the body of all faithful people who call on his name and have received his Holy Spirit for the work of proclaiming his gospel in the world. Let us this season of Epiphany remember what a great gift we have received in Jesus and take steps to show forth our gratitude by word and deed.