Epiphany: “revealing”; “shining forth”; “manifestation”. To the ancients the Greek word epiphany often connoted the revealing or manifestation of a god and was used at times to describe a king as such. Thus emperors (kings), in their pomp, prestige and power, were worshiped as revealed “gods”.
Indeed in Jesus of Nazareth God in man was manifest, but not in the way the world desires or expects. The world wants an epiphany of glitz and glamor and greatness, but God our king generates His epiphany in humility, in darkness and in apparent failure.
Is then this baby—born in a stable, beheld by the magi in the insignificant backwoods shepherd-town of Bethlehem, an infant in need of nurture and care, a child on the verge of being murdered—really God incarnate? This is God’s epiphany, an epiphany of humility, darkness and apparent failure.
Is this Jesus at the Jordan—a poor man washed by that hillbilly preacher, an associate of sinners and of all the miserable people who were coming to be baptized, a man led by the Spirit right after His baptism into the Satan-infested wilderness—really our merciful Lord and God? This is God’s epiphany, an epiphany of humility, darkness and apparent failure.
Is this itinerant preacher—bouncing from town to town with nowhere to lay his head, mingling with unclean lepers and spiritually dirty tax-collectors, lover of the poor and the nobodies—really and truly the Christ, the Son of God? This is God’s epiphany, an epiphany of humility, darkness and apparent failure.
Is this apparent criminal—whipped and tortured mercilessly, pierced and bled to death on the infamous gibbet of Roman execution, hung in utter darkness for three hours, crying out forlorn words of misery and desertion—really God our Savior? This is God’s epiphany, an epiphany of humility, darkness and apparent failure. This is indeed God’s ultimate epiphany!
O wonderful epiphany! On behalf of the poor, the lowly, the persecuted, the miserable, the sinners, the lonely, the dying, the crying and all others who find themselves in the horrors of this realm of the prince of darkness, eternal thanks to God our Father. For He sent and has given the epiphany of His Son, who took upon Himself all our lowliness, our darkness and our failures that we would be raised up, have eternal living light and be overwhelmingly conquerors through Him who loved us.
And just when it seemed like God was catching on to the worldly meaning of epiphany—when the dead Christ burst forth with bright victory from the dirty, dark grave—this Christ reveals himself neither to the mighty nor to the royal, but first to a few lowly even disreputable women, and then to fisherman and to other such nobodies.
And then to cap it all off, this Christ leaves; you would think He would give the world the epiphany it craves by physically showing His glorious, immortal, resurrected body. But instead of sticking around, He gives mankind His epiphany via the preaching of sinful men and through the seeming emptiness of water and bread and wine. Yet all along hasn’t this been God’s way of having an epiphany