In the season of epiphany, God reveals his vision for allPublished 9:08am Friday, January 10, 2014
By the Rev. Jim Rushton
First Lutheran Church
Once in a while you might hear someone mouth this phrase, “What an epiphany!” And that is saying a mouthful. And what do they mean when they blurt it out? Why, they mean something has dawned on them, like being struck by lighting.
To have an epiphany is to have a revelation. In fact, epiphany means to reveal. And in God’s church in this season of epiphany, God is revealing what his only son has come to accomplish for us. We will have eight Sundays to see this vision of what it means for God to become man.
We will see Jesus being baptized by John in the Jordan River, and John’s belief that Jesus is so great that John ought to be baptized by Jesus, and Jesus’ reply dealing with coming to among the very people he will save. And then comes the announcement, “Behold, the lamb of God,” as John sees this sacrificial gift of God.
The following week that sacrifice is played out in John’s arrest, and Jesus picks up John’s proclamation about repentance and the coming of God’s kingdom.
Now, will Jesus also be persecuted like John? And then Matthew shares Jesus’ beatitudes and how Jesus’ words challenge what is of value to the world. The last Sunday in epiphany is always transfiguration Sunday, with the appearance of Moses and Elijah at Jesus’ words challenge what is of value to the world. The last Sunday in epiphany is always transfiguration Sunday, with the appearance of Moses and Elijah at Jesus’ side on the mountain, whose ministries were also met with rejecting and yet who were remembered by God.
So who is this Jesus? Why, he is God, but our God who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Jesus is the suffering servant of Isaiah who proclaims, “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him as stricken, struck down by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed by our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.”