For God So Loved the World

As I’ve mentioned before I’m a Baptist, and I grew up a Baptist, and we celebrated Christmas and Easter, but we never ran across most of the traditional church feasts or celebrations. Advent we didn’t know about and Lent, well, it belonged to another segment of the Christian church.

I’m developing an understanding, sometimes an appreciation, of many of these celebrations, even those which I will probably never embrace myself, but I came upon one several years ago that seems really, really important.

In the scriptures of the Old Testament, we run across some clues to it:

In Genesis 26:4, we read this promise to Abraham, “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.”

Then in Psalm 72:8-11 KJV, we read this: 
8 He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.
9 They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust.
10 The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts.
11 Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him.

And again in Isaiah 60:1-6 KJV:
1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.
3 And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising.
4 Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side.
5 Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee.
6 The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the Lord.

Within the church, this festival is called Epiphany or Three Kings Day. It’s the day that follows the 12 Days of Christmas (January 6), and as the name Three Kings shows, it celebrates the arrival of the Magi, or Wise Men to worship the Christ Child.

And why is that important?

Look with me at Romans 15:10-12 KJV: “And again he saith, Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with his people. 11 And again, Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud him, all ye people. 12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in him shall the Gentiles trust.”

Here it is: Jesus came to bring salvation to all people!

In the church, Epiphany (related to a Greek word meaning “reveal”) is celebrated as the revelation of Christ to the Gentiles, and that my brothers and sisters is most of us. In fact, this celebration, as I understand it, pre-dated the celebration of Christmas because it was so important.

It gets really personal. If Jesus had not come to bring salvation to Gentiles, then I would not have the opportunity to know Him as my Savior and Lord. But He did, and that is a very big deal!

So, if you celebrate Epiphany in a big way, I encourage you to do so with gratitude and thanksgiving. And, even if you choose not to make a big deal of the day, recognize what it means and give glory to God for His great mercy, love, and grace.

Thanks be to God! Amen.

Blessings,
Richard

PS: In what ways are you grateful that Christ came to save you? Let me know in the comments. And if you’d like to sign up for my email newsletter so you can know about new blog posts as well as videos and other opportunities, send me an email at richard@rsdickson.net.

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