The Epiphany that Jesus is God
“In the beginning was the Word… and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
-John 1:1, 14
The quote from above is from the Gospel reading for Christmas Day. During the Christmas season, the focus is on the birth of Jesus, that He “was made man” as the Nicene Creed puts it. In a sense, this emphasizes the humanity of Christ in much the same way Good Friday does. Humans are born and humans die. God is not born, nor does God die, but at Christmas and on Good Friday, He does. In Luther’s Small Catechism as he explains the second article of the Creed about the person of Jesus, he provides no more evidence than that Jesus was “born of the Virgin Mary” to prove that Jesus is “true man.” While other evidence can be offered, the birth of Jesus is the definitive proof of the humanity of Jesus. While His conception was certainly miraculous, His birth was just like ours. Christmas proves that Jesus was made man.
Epiphany, however, shows us the other nature of Christ, that He is God. That is what the season of Epiphany is for, to give you the epiphany, the realization and revelation that this man, born of Mary in the kingdom of Herod when Quirinius was governor of Syria, is true God, begotten of the Father from eternity. Though Jesus was made man, Jesus was not made. Jesus was “begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.” Three times the Nicene Creed uses the word “begotten,” which is the word to describe the relationship between any father and son, just as I have begotten two sons. He is specifically described as “not made.” Jesus is the fullness of God. He is every bit of God and every bit of Him is God. This is the epiphany of Epiphany.
So throughout the Epiphany season, we will see Jesus doing things that only God can do such as the stars announcing His birth to the world, the Father proclaiming His Sonship at His Baptism, turning water into wine, fulfilling prophecies of Scripture, casting out demons and healing other various diseases, preaching by His own authority, and being transfigured on a mountain before His disciples so that His appearance is altered and His clothing becomes dazzling white.
As so as we finish oohing and aahing over tiny, sweet, little baby Jesus, we are given the Epiphany of the fullness of His divinity and it is this Jesus, true man and true God, that we have going into Lent, Holy Week, and Easter, where He shows us once again that He is true man, dead on the cross, and true God, risen from the dead, for our salvation.
In the epiphany of Christ,