Today many churches celebrated Epiphany or 3 Kings Day. Actually, 3 Kings Day is Jan. 6th. In old Spanish traditions, they didn’t celebrate Christmas, but 3 Kings Day when the 3 Wise Men brought gifts to the baby Jesus. Spanish children found gifts by their beds when they awoke.
Puerto Rico claimed not only the old Spanish traditions, but adopted American ones, too. So as a lucky Puerto Rican kid, I got gifts both on Christmas and 3 Kings Day.
As an adult, I learned that 3 Kings Day was also called “Epiphany”.
What is an epiphany?
It’s an ah-hah moment when you realize something or something makes sense.
The dictionary defines it as
“A sudden insight or intuitive understanding.”
For the 3 Wise Men, it was an intuitive discovery of the Christ child that was prophesied.
In Luke 2:25-32, we read the story of Simeon who also had an epiphany of sorts… Mary and Joseph had taken Jesus to the Temple in Jerusalem to be presented to the Lord.
“At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and was eagerly waiting for the Messiah to come and rescue Israel. The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
“That day the Spirit led him to the Temple. So when Mary and Joseph came to present the baby Jesus to the Lord as the law required, Simeon was there.
“He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, ‘Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised. I have seen your salvation, which you have prepared for all people…’”Luke 2:25-32
Salvation. Salvation from ALL our sins.
In Romans 6:23 Paul writes…
“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Just like the 3 Kings brought Jesus 3 gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, Jesus gives us 3 gifts through His Grace.
He freely gives us Salvation from death through the forgiveness of ALL our sins — once and for all by His death on the cross.
He granted us Peace of heart and mind as He lifted the guilt of sin from our shoulders and carried them on the cross.
He gives us the Hope of eternal life in paradise with Him. Just like He told the criminal who hung next to Him…
“One of the criminals hanging beside him scoffed, ‘So you’re the Messiah, are you? Prove it by saving yourself—and us, too, while you’re at it!’
“But the other criminal protested, ‘Don’t you fear God even when you have been sentenced to die? We deserve to die for our crimes, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.’
“Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.’
And Jesus replied, ‘I assure you, today you will be with me in paradise.’”Luke 23:39-43 NLT
Notice Jesus didn’t say, “But first you have to spend an indefinite period of time in Purgatory while you work off your sins.” No. There is no such place or state as Purgatory.
I’ll talk in more detail about Purgatory in a future episode. Subscribe so you don’t miss it.
What’s important to understand is that we don’t deserve these gifts. They are given to us by God’s Grace which we could never earn.
All we have to do is repent our sins…
“But if we confess our sins to Him [that’s Jesus], he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”1 John 1:9 NLT
ALL means ALL!
Because of Jesus’ gift, we are washed clean of all our sins. That’s it. It’s that simple!
It’s a shame that many churches, run by humans, have complicated what God made so simple.
I’m not telling you to leave your church, but I encourage you to read the Gospels and the letters of Paul and seek the truth for yourself. Read them with an open mind. Ask Jesus to light the way for you.
Hopefully, you’ll have your own epiphany.