"Manifest at Jordan's stream, Prophet, Priest, and King supreme; And at Cana wedding guest, In Thy Godhead manifest; Manifest in pow'r divine, Changing water into wine; Anthems be to Thee addressed, God in man made manifest.
"Manifest in making whole, Palsied limbs and fainting soul; Manifest in valiant fight, Quelling all the devil's might; Manifest in gracious will, Ever bringing good from ill; Anthems be to Thee addressed, God in man made manifest."
Between Christmas and Lent the church celebrates the season of Epiphany, a word that means "to reveal," "to come suddenly into view" or, as our hymn proclaims, "to make manifest." During Epiphany, we celebrate the fact that the immortal, invisible God came suddenly into view in the Person of Jesus Christ. God Himself took on human flesh, becoming a human being, becoming visible! We do not know what Jesus looked like; there are no portraits or descriptions of Him. But Scripture tells us what He did, and His divine identity is made manifest in His mighty works.
At the beginning of His public ministry, Jesus the Messiah came suddenly into view as He approached His kinsman John and asked to be baptized. Jesus' identity was confirmed as the Holy Spirit descended on Him like a dove and the Father testified from heaven, "This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" (Matthew 3:17b). But it was not just the Father's voice that bore witness to the Son. Jesus was identified by "mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through Him" (Acts 2:22b). Jesus told those who doubted, "Even though you do not believe Me, believe the works" (John 10:38b). In His first mighty work in Cana, the divine wedding guest "manifested His glory. And His disciples believed in Him" (John 2:11b).
Throughout His public ministry, the mighty works done by Jesus testified to the truth that He was and is "God in man made manifest." Jesus made Himself known as He healed "palsied limbs and fainting soul." The Son was revealed "in valiant fight" in the wilderness as He resisted every temptation of the devil. Finally, the "gracious will" of God, "ever bringing good from ill," was revealed in suffering, as the Son offered up His life as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of the world. Finally, the power and glory of God were made manifest as Jesus was "declared to be the Son of God" by His resurrection from the dead (Romans 1:4a).
By the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the Word of the Gospel, Jesus has been revealed to us as the Son of God and our Savior. We address our joyful anthems, during Epiphany and throughout the church year, to Jesus, who is "God in man made manifest." We pray, too, that our works of love and service will make the love of Jesus come suddenly into view for everyone around us!
THE PRAYER: Lord Jesus, God in man made manifest, we pray that Your love will be made manifest to others through our acts of kindness and compassion in Your Name. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn, "Songs of Thankfulness and Praise," which is found on page 394 of the Lutheran Service Book.
1. Have you ever known someone who is getting ready to start some big thing in their life?
2. How significant is it that Jesus became a human being?
3. Is there a way that Jesus manifests Himself in your life to others?
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