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home : religion : inspirational reflections January 20, 2020

1/12/2020 1:01:00 PM
Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is  10% what happens to you and  90% how you react to it.'

Charles R. Swindoll — 'Life is 
10% what happens to you and 
90% how you react to it.'

Rev. Susan Smith Walker
Emanuel Reformed Church

Last week many churches celebrated “Epiphany” on January 6, twelve days after Christmas, to remember the day the Magi came to visit the baby Jesus with their gift of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Most scholars believe the magi were Gentiles. This visit foreshadowed God’s plan that the gospel was not just for the Jewish people. The word “epiphany” means revelation or something that is revealed by God to humans. In the visit by the three wise men humanity had a revelation that Jesus had come for the Gentiles too. This foreshadowed that God would use a Jewish Pharisee to bring the good news to all people.

The Apostle Paul describes how he was led to bring the gospel to the Gentiles by revelation in Ephesians 3:1-6 “For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles 2 Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, 3 that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. 4 In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. 6 This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.”

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In today’s world it’s hard to appreciate what a monumental social and cultural change this was to accept that all people were God’s chosen people – not just the Jews. This changed everything for the Jewish people and their world was never the same. It is fascinating to see that this change came by spiritual revelation. God revealed this truth to the Magi and to Paul by the Holy Spirit. Suddenly and mysteriously they understood something new about God. They had an epiphany about God and His will for all people. Revelation was central in understanding and spreading the gospel message.

Revelation is still important today in how God communicates His truth to humanity individually and collectively. Suddenly and mysteriously we will have a new understanding about Him that comes by the Holy Spirit. I was an atheist that did not grow up in the church, but one day at age 20 standing barefoot in the grass on a beautiful spring morning God revealed Himself to me. I knew that He was real. This epiphany changed my life and my world was never the same.

God can still give us a revelation today about ourselves and our world. Suddenly and mysteriously God can give us an epiphany about the purpose of our life, and we see ourselves in a new way as He sees us. Sometimes when we are praying for guidance in a certain situation, God will surprise us with a revelation that the answers we seek are not anything we ever imagined before. These moments of clarity are often turning points in our life that bring us closer to God and deepen our faith. Revelation came to the Magi and Paul by the power of the Holy Spirit, and it is ours today as well.

Rev. Susan Smith is the pastor of Emanuel Reformed Church of Lincolnton and can be reached at 828-962-8196 or

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