Isaiah 42: 1-7 

Psalm 45:7-9 

Acts 10:34-38 

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22 

“Baptismal Epiphany” 

Grace and Peace to you my brothers and sisters in Christ, Amen. 

The thing about epiphanies is that they are events when  people realize something that was eluding them. A better way of  describing this event is like turning on a light. You walk in  darkness and you have no clue what is in front of you. Say you  are walking down a hallway in the middle of the night barefoot to  go to the bathroom and a shooting pain rips all the way your leg  as you step on something pointy. You have no clue what you just  stepped on and your pain is already distracting you. Finally you  get to the hallway’s light switch and behold there is toy on the  floor; maybe a Lego or a Hot Wheels car, but tiny with pointy  edges. You get an epiphany, a realization. That is what I stepped  on. It is like walking in the dark trying to find an object, only for  your much smarter better half to turn on the lights for you, thus  turning what would have been minutes of searching into mere  seconds. 

This is why the season of Epiphany is filled to the brim with  imageries of light. It begins with us remembering on January 6th the Wise men who follow the Advent Star and ends with us  remembering the transfiguration of our Lord. 

Now speaking of Wise Men, through the power of the Holy  Spirit, it was revealed to them through the studying of Scripture 

that the Messiah was to born soon, and that the guide they will  follow will be the Advent Star. This was their epiphany. It’s kind of  interesting because their epiphany happened not after, but before  Christ’s birth. And after their epiphany they gathered their gifts  and traveled far so that they could get to this Christ child as soon  as possible, how they got their epiphany exactly, we do not know,  but we know that such an epiphany could have only been  possible through the grace of God. And then shortly after the birth  of Jesus, within forty days, in accordance with Matthew and Luke and Leviticus, the Wise Men finally laid eyes on baby Jesus. 

Such might have been a second epiphany for them for it is  one thing just knowing of something, it’s a whole ‘nother ball  game seeing it for yourself. This is why some parents break down  in tears of joy upon seeing their child for the first time. This could  be during an ultrasound or right after their child’s birth. Such a  person knows that they are already a parent, and may have spent  many months of preparation for this child, but the full reality  doesn’t hit them until they see with their own eyes their son, their  daughter. The Wise Men knew of Jesus, but as soon as they saw  the baby in Mary’s arms, they immediately fell down and started  worshipping Jesus. The full thrust of reality, another epiphany  moment, overcame the Wise Men as they saw in front of them  their King, their Lord, their Savior. 

This is the real reason why Epiphany is celebrated after  Christmas, and why we wait to focus on the Wise men until a  couple weeks after the birth of Christ, because the true Epiphany  the Wise Men had was when they finally saw for the first time,  God in the flesh.

Now after Jesus came into the earth, many saw Jesus but  knew not who he truly was, short of a Nazarene who was the Son  of Joseph the Carpenter. Most who worshiped Jesus before his  mission was to begin did so because the Holy Spirit had already  revealed to them the full reality of who Jesus truly was. This  includes Simeon and Anna who were there on the fortieth day of  our Lord, upon his and Mary’s purification ceremony. But outside  of the few who were blessed by the Holy Spirit, most people did  not know that Jesus was the Son of God, God Himself made  flesh. How could they? Why would they? Thus, in order for such  to happen, an epiphany of sorts must occur. 

When we read our Gospel and the other Gospels that refers  to the event of Jesus’ baptism, a question that should be asked is  why did God the Father do what he did on that day? He obviously  didn’t do it merely for Jesus sake alone, for we know that Jesus  

was trying to keep his true ministry secret from the ears of the  Pharisees who would have clearly killed Jesus, and thus if this  baptism was for merely Jesus then God would had provided his  revelation to Jesus in secret. We also know that Jesus doesn’t  need an epiphany to realize that he is God’s son, just look at the  shenanigan he pulled off when he was 12 and stayed in his  Father’s house. So Jesus didn’t need an epiphany. So why did  God the Father say, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well  pleased”? 

The answer is because God did this not for Jesus’ sake but  for those who witnessed this event. This was God the father and  the Holy Spirit which descended like a dove intervening on behalf 

of Jesus in order to provide all who witnessed this event an  epiphany, to realize the full depth of who Jesus was. Let it be  known that the only way one can believe that Jesus is Christ is  through the Holy Spirit. Thus the Holy Spirit was present, and the  Father spoke, all for the sake that all who were present would  believe that Jesus was Christ. 

And with this event, the official ministry that Jesus was  placed on this earth for began. The events that ultimately would  lead to the climax of his mission, and of humanity at large, was  finally put in motion, as the cat was finally out of the bag. This is  the Son of God, and there’s no way you can take that back,  especially in the way God presented this fact. Like wildfire the  news spread and with it rumors and speculation as many who  were not present wondered how this was so. Eventually the  Pharisees did catch wind of this Messiah, though they knew not  whom the news referred to. It took time, but eventually they were  able to apprehend Jesus and kill him on the cross. 

But the great epiphany, and with it the beginning of Jesus’  ministry, was in of itself a beginning for many others, a revelation  that the prophesied Messiah that they have waited long for has  arrived. And like the Wise Men and parents who finally see their  birthed children, I could imagine a similar reaction. For most who  were present were not present for Jesus, for they knew not Jesus,  but for John the Baptizer. The baptized came to be washed in  preparation for the coming Lord of whom John has preached  about emphatically. There is no way one wouldn’t know of John,  lest they lived under a rock, and new that his primary message  has always been to make yourself ready for Christ is coming. So 

those who came to the river came to hear from the prophet John  and his message about the King who was closely approaching.  They knew of Christ, but they knew not who Christ was. They  heard of him, but they have never seen him, nor did they think  that they would on that fateful day. 

So as people were being baptized one by one, listening to  the words of John, all of a sudden John proclaims that Christ is  here! John then makes a scene in front of everyone about how it  would inappropriate for him to baptize Jesus, but then relents and  baptizes Jesus. Some at this point may have believed that Jesus  was Christ at that moment, but others may have not. To those  who did not believe, I wonder how many were still in denial after  the intervention of God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  Regardless, those who were there knew of Christ, simply because  of John, but now have actually seen him, truly seen him. This was  their epiphany moment, as the full depth of all that John the  Baptizer has been preaching about reached home. They have  finally and knowingly laid eyes on Christ. 

Now to all of you, most of you have already had your own  epiphany moment. The mere fact that you believe that Jesus is  Christ is proof of this. And I mean truly believe, as in having a  faith that desires and loves and hopes in the promises of grace  through Christ who died on the cross to forgive us of all of our  sins. But there are many out there that know of Christ, but know  not who Christ truly is. They quite simply lack faith. They have yet  to have had an epiphany moment, to realize that they had it all  wrong, to realize that the world which lives in darkness has been  lying to them the entire time. We can serve as a light for them. For 

many live in darkness and knows not the truth. We who do know  the truth, which is revealed only through the Holy Spirit, can serve  God in the Great Commission by boldly speaking the Word in  hopes that the Holy Spirit shines out of us and enters into the  hearts of those who lack faith, thus providing them with their own  epiphany moment. This can be done in the form of inviting people  to church, occasionally saying that Christ did die to forgive us of  our sins, and using any opportunity to open up the Bible and  speak the plain Word of God. 

But know this; you are not the source of the epiphany. God  alone is the source of our epiphanies, he who reveals himself to  us. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be like John the Baptizer,  ceaselessly preaching of Christ, for those who have not had their  own epiphany; preaching the Gospel in hopes that the Holy Spirit  through us opens the eyes and ears and hearts of those who  listen so that they too may finally see Christ with eyes a new. 

Let us pray, 


Dear Heavenly Father, you who are the source of all  revelations, who washes our eyes of the sin that blinds us from  the Truth, help guide us as we spread your light for all to see. In  your heavenly name we pray, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

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