January 6 is the 12th day after Christmas. The date for Epiphany is one of the immovable festivals of the church year. The Christmas season is generally considered to be the period from December 25 to January 6. In some parts of the ancient church the birth of Christ was observed on January 6. The word “epiphany” is derived from a Greek word that means “manifestation,” or to “make clear.” Epiphany commemorates the manifestation of Jesus to the wise men who traveled from the east. The length of the Epiphany season in the church year depends upon the date of Easter. It was first commemorated to celebrate the baptism of Jesus.
Abraham and his descendants were chosen of the Lord to be the ancestors of the Lord. They were the descendants of Shem. Their selection was an exercise of grace. Jesus told the woman at the well of Samaria, “Salvation is of the Jews” (John 4:22) All the prophecies of the Old Testament pointed in that direction. Jesus according to His humanity was born of the line of David, who was born of the tribe of Judah, who was the son of Jacob who descended from Abraham.
We thank God for His faithfulness in keeping His promise. But while salvation was of the Jews, it was not exclusively for the Jews. The Heavenly Father said to Abraham, “In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Simeon declared the Savior to be “the light to lighten the Gentiles” (Luke 2:32).
The wise men as we know them, however many there were, followed the special star until it stood over the house where the Savior was. The wise men were the first Gentiles to worship the Lord Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. Now, and hereafter in the Gospel, “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared unto all men” (Titus 2:11). By reason of sin, mankind could not rise to God so God stooped to live among mankind in the person of His Son, Jesus declared by Scripture to be God and Man (1 Timothy 2:5).
Epiphany is the celebration of the fact, as well as a witness to our faith and confidence, that Jesus Christ, true God who became Man of the chosen virgin is our God and Savior. He shall bring to glory from Jew and Gentile all those who trust in Him and worship Him as such.
The age in which we live is said to be a religious age. For the most part, it is a godless age. Yes, godless unless Christ is believed in and trusted as the true God and the only Savior. Observation shows us that the majority of humanity does not confess Him, and among some who claim to worship Him allowance is made that one can still come to God without Christ. Scripture tells us that the Ephesians were at one time without Christ, hopeless and without God (Ephesians 2:12).
As Gentile Christians we do not want to let Epiphany die among us, but faithfully believe and confess, “I believe that Jesus Christ, True God, begotten of the Father from eternity and also true Man, born of the Virgin Mary is my Lord …” Holding that Epiphany faith we can join with the son of Abraham and say with confidence and certain hope, “Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation…”(Luke 2:29,30).