Isaiah 49:1-7 Psalm 40:1-11 1 Corinthians 1:1-9 John 1:29-42
Last week I told you about the epiphany I had, some years ago, about epiphany. Well, this week, the epiphanies continued….so I’m having epiphanies about the epiphany I had about epiphany. Are you keeping up?!
Two weeks ago, we had the epiphany of the wise men, as they encountered the baby Jesus and discovered him to be the Christ, the hope of the nations.
Last week we had the epiphany, I suppose, of John the Baptist and all who witnessed Jesus’ baptism, at the waters of the Jordan river, as Jesus was baptised; the heavens were torn open, God’s spirit descended like a dove and rested on him and that voice was heard proclaiming, ‘this is my son, the beloved, with whom I am well pleased’ and all who were there discovered this carpenter man was, indeed, God, the Christ, the Son of the Almighty.
Today we are still in epiphany season and we have a continuation of last week; it’s the day after, and John sees Jesus and says ‘here is the lamb of God’…this is the one I was telling you about – and, he says, ‘I saw the spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him…this is the Son of God’. It’s like a precis of the plot. Those of you who missed last week, or yesterday in John’s case, this is what happened – I baptised him, the spirit came, this is God. He’s the one.
And what is the epiphany here? Well, John reveals and confirms that Jesus is God, but we had that epiphany last week.
He tells those gathered that he is the Lamb of God, and commentary writers and greater minds than mine can’t agree what that means, and they tie themselves up in all kinds of theological wranglings. Anyway, in whatever way he says it, and whatever it means to those with him that day, it results in two disciples hearing…and responding by following Jesus. Maybe John’s words are the epiphany. Maybe it’s the revelation that Jesus is the Lamb of God, the epiphany to me in these verses is this…
Every epiphany, every revelation, every discovery given to us, by God, through Jesus, is an invitation. A divine invitation, for all people, and we get to choose how we respond. Every epiphany – every unveiling or revealing of something amazing is an invitation, from God to us. Epiphany is invitation. It is always an invitation.
In the epiphany to the wise men, they were invited to stop their searching, kneel, and worship. All they had been looking for, maybe for generations, had been found. You don’t need to look any further! It is here, he is here, in this baby. Their invitation was to stop, bow down and worship.
In the epiphany of Christ’s baptism, where those gathered got to see the Spirit of God descending and hear the voice of God speaking, the epiphany was that this person is the messiah, the christ, the Son of God. But the invitation was to become one of God’s children; to know that same voice was speaking over them too; ‘you are my child too – you are beloved and with you I am so pleased’ – a divine invitation to join the family of Christ – and last week Kaius and Nathan and baby Gabriel said yes to that invitation, as many of us have before them. And many more will after them, too.
Epiphany is invitation. It’s not just a divine unveiling – a showing of something good – it is always an invitation to become part of the revelation.
And in today’s verses the invitation is explicit and clear.
‘What are you looking for?’ Jesus says…and then he says, ‘come and see’. Come and see! And they came and saw, and they remained with him, and then they went and told others ‘we have found the messiah’. They were invited to see where Jesus was staying and whatever it was they saw there revealed this incredible epiphany that Jesus is the Messiah, the saviour they have been waiting for…and they went and told others.
Epiphany is not just an event in history. It is a series of events, of happenings, that course through time and continue happening and revealing themselves, and every single one is a holy invitation. Every single one says ‘come and see’.
In the journey of the Magi, God was leading them on, saying ‘come and see’.
At the baptism of Christ, God was drawing people to that water’s edge, saying ‘come and see’.
When John’s disciples saw Jesus walking along, God, in Christ, said ‘come and see’.
And right here and now, that same God is saying to us, ‘come and see’. Come and see what I have in store for you. Come and see how much you are loved. Come and see how life can be when we journey together. Come and see.
And this holy invitation is for us individually, and it is also for us, collectively, as a church, as The Church, as God’s people who come together in this place.
What are you looking for, people of St Pauls?, Jesus asks.
What are you looking for, for the people of Beaconsfield, and for one another?
Come and see what I have for you. Come and see how and where I live. Come and see that I am the messiah. Come and see. And then go and tell others that you have met the Christ, that you know the Messiah and life can be different.
Come and see and then let others know that they can come and see too.
May God give us grace to see each epiphany as an invitation.
May we have the courage to say yes to every divine offer.
May we come and see and go and tell.
And may it all be for the glory of God. Amen.
Your great work in leading our faith community is so much appreciated. As a member of the choir I’m delighted with our work, but I’d like to see a broader range that makes the great classics represented every week. So many great works out there, both old and new … 😊