Luke: 15-22 (ESV)
As the people were in expectation, and all were questioning in their hearts concerning John, whether he might be the Christ, John answered them all, saying, “I baptize you with water, but he who is mightier than I is coming, the strap of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people. But Herod the tetrarch, who had been reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evil things that Herod had done, added this to them all, that he locked up John in prison.
Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heavens were opened, and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form, like a dove; and a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.”
This is being published on January 6th, which is in the Christian calendar ‘Epiphany’. Why have I selected this day for epiphany? The event of the heavens opening and the voice of God, the Father sounding forth and the dove as a symbol of the Holy Spirit descending onto Jesus is an explosion of understanding – an epiphany. At the birth of the baby Jesus we have an explosion of events leading to Emmanuel (God with us) occurs. At the beginning of Jesus Ministry as an adult Rabbi or teacher we have the same explosion of the mind–boggling fact that the Three-in-One God is a real actor on the stage of human history! But not everyone is happy. The earlier Herod killed many young boys to seek to destroy Jesus at his birth. A later Herod imprisons and decapitates John. It will be interesting to see how this Herod deals with the mature man Jesus as he blossoms as a prophet and more before his (Herod’s) eyes.
Various factions of the church underline several other possibilities of what the Epiphany stands for. I can see that it can legitimately be seen as the bright light shining through several events occurring in this era. Was it the Gentile wisemen worshipping at the Jewish Messiah’s feet? Was it the the light shining into the lives of Anna & Simeon allowing them to die in celebration of having see the promised Messiah.
This event occurring at the Baptism of Jesus with the heavenly voice and the descending dove is certainly an epiphany for me!
Prayer: Open my eyes to see your actions in history please.