Summary: THE CELEBRATION OF EPIPHANY
January 12, 2014 Sunday Sermon. By Okoye Benjamin . E
Theme: The Manifestation of Christ To the Gentiles.
In order to properly address the Theme: The Manifestation of Christ To the Gentiles, we must have a good understanding of the key words; Manifestation and Gentiles.
Manifestation could be defined as an indication of existence, reality of presence of something.
It is one of the forms in which someone or something such as a person, a divine being or an idea is revealed.
An event, action or object that clearly shows or embodies something abstract or theoretical.
Who are the Gentiles?
The Bible is a sacred text for both Jews and Christians. It divides the world’s people into Israelites and Gentiles. Gentiles are not a specific group of people, nationality or ethnicity. Instead a Gentile is any person who is not an Israelite. Gentiles appear in the Bible as friends, foes and potential religious converts. It simply means nation. A word used for both Israelites and non-Israelites alike.
However, several passages in the Bible such as Deut 15:6, Deut 28:12 and Num 14:12, specifically used it for non-Israelite nations and it became another word for strangers. The Gentiles were any non-Israelites, such as Egyptians, Philistines and Assyrians.
The theme as a whole:
The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles is referred to in the Christian world as Epiphany.
Epiphany, also known as ‘’The Three Kings Day’’ AND ‘’Twelfth Day’’, is a Christian holiday commemorated on January 6. It falls on the twelfth day after Christmas, and for some denominations signals the conclusion of the twelve days of Christmas season. Though many different cultural and denominational customs are practiced, in general, the feast celebrates the manifestation of God in the form of human flesh through Jesus Christ His Son.
The word epiphany means ‘’manifestation’’ or ‘’revelation’’ or ‘’showing forth’’. It is also called Theophany (manifestation of God). It commemorates the first two occasions on which the divinity of Christ according to Christian belief was manifested. The Church used epiphany to replace certain pagan festivals of old.
Epiphany is commonly linked in Western Christianity with the Visit of the wise men (Magi) to the infant Christ. Through the Magi, Christ revealed himself to the Gentiles. Mathew 2:1-2, the magi were probably men from Iran, who are members of a learned religious class. Take note that Iran is not part of Israel. They are part of the Gentile nations.
The visit of the magi was important for two main reasons;
1.It shows that Jesus is worthy of honour from all humanity, both Israelites and Gentiles.
2.It shows that both Israelites and Gentiles are included in God’s redemptive plan. (Mathew 8:11, 28:19 and Romans 10:12).
In Eastern Christianity, epiphany puts emphasis on the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist, with Christ revealing himself to the world as God’s own Son.