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Manifestation of the Son of God

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

What do the words, "Theophany" and "Epiphany" have in common? Both are from the Greek, meaning appearance, manifestation, revelation. Both are celebrated this month.

Last year, we talked about Epiphany. This year, we'll touch on Theophany.

Holy Theophany, that is, when "God reveals Himself" continues to be celebrated by many churches each January as the day of that special theophany, the revealing of the Son of God. We remember the words of the gospel writer:

    "Then Jesus, when He had been baptized, came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, 'This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.'" (Matthew 3:16, 17)

Later, God's affirming voice was again heard when Jesus brought three of his disciples up a high mountain. There they viewed another theophany, His awe-inspiring transfiguration, and heard His Father's voice again,

    "While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, 'This is My beloved son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!'" (Matthew 17:5)

All this was needed to begin to bring the world to know the Son of God, the One who was to come, the sacrificed lamb offering, to save all from their sins, from the Jews who look for their Messiah, to unbelievers who need proof of something more than they already know. Do we still need another Theophany? Jesus still tells us as He did Thomas:

    "'Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.' And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. And that believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:29-31)

Have no doubts, but believe! Here's to life!

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