Thursday, February 20, 2020


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The Rev Andries Combrink is a Presbyterian Minister of the Gospel. He lives in Centurion, South Africa. 
To teach the Word of God is his calling,  based on the Reformed tradition. 

 

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"It is written: 'Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"  Matthew 4: 4. 

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Jan 3

Written by: Andries
Friday, January 03, 2020 3:38:03 AM  RssIcon

In Eastern Christianity the Feast of Epiphany is celebrated with outstanding liturgies and dazzling church services on January 6, where epiphany means enlightenment and revelation.  This tradition is more prominent in the Eastern Church and in Spanish speaking countries than Christmas and had been celebrated for a long time before the Church decided to remember the birth of Jesus on 25 December.
In recent years the Epiphany was again included in the celebrations, seasons and lectionaries of branches of the Western Church, including Protestant churches.
 
Epiphany celebrates that the Messiah was revealed to the Gentiles, while Christmas, the day celebrating the birth of Jesus, is celebrated as the day when Hebrew believers, such as the shepherds, worshipped the new born King.
This is why amongst Gentiles in the East, where the Wise Men came from, the Feast of the Epiphany early on in the history of the Church became an important day of remembrance and celebration of the light and love of Christ for the gentile nations.
They contemplate the visit of the Magi, where they, as non-Jews, were enlightened and received the revelation of the coming of Christ to our world and our lives.
 
Where the Feast of Epiphany is celebrated with enthusiasm, it is also customary to contemplate the revelation of Christ by the Father at Jesus’ baptism with the words: "This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased." (Matt 3:17.) They traditionally also remind each other of the first miracle, when Jesus turned water into wine, and that the Bible says that this was to reveal the “glory of Jesus”.
 
What makes the Eastern Feast important is the understanding that enlightenment about Jesus as Messiah and the revelation of his light and glory is only possible when our thinking and prayers go beyond the Christmas narrative!
 
The glory of the Son of God, as it was revealed to his followers through his miracles, parables and teachings should help us understand who the King was that came to reconcile both Hebrews and Gentiles with God!
And the radical, complete and final epiphany of the glory of Christ can only be understood when we consider the meaning of his eventual suffering, and his glorious resurrection and exultation.
 
The Feast of Epiphany points us to and begins to prepare us for Easter Sunday. Jesus' resurrection radically and completely changes the order of life and death, contradicts expectations that the Messiah would bring a swift end to political powers, and continually challenges us to examine our faith anew.
 
An epiphany of who the Son of God really is, requires a new path in the life for followers of the King whose birth we celebrate on Christmas day.
 
In the end, God is the ultimate actor. God has moved ahead of the church to embrace the entire world. The Wise Men from the east have no other message to tell, than that the Gospel we should embrace is that the Jewish Messiah is our own Christ, our Lord, Redeemer and our Saviour.
 
After we celebrated the birth and glorious enlightenment of Hebrew shepherds - and elderly believers when Jesus was circumcised – we should with excitement embrace the revelation that he is our own personal hope and salvation, our joy and our Messenger of God’s love, whoever and wherever we are.
 
We all need an epiphany of how the Holy Spirit wants to move amongst us as Gentiles to encounter new, unexpected and challenging ways to celebrate the impact of the birth, life, ministry, death and resurrection of “our Christ” to continue to be manifested around and through us.
 
An epiphany of the nature, work and character of the Son of God will every time move us in becoming the church that Jesus Christ came to establish: to tell the good news that the Messiah came to us and to all people!
  

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