Matthew 2:1-12 & Mark 1:7-11

Epiphany, Baptism, Marriage feast at Cana. God made manifest in Jesus

One of the great carols of Epiphany is “Songs of Thankfulness and Praise”.

This carol celebrates the “manifestation” of God in Jesus – “God in man made manifest” is a repeated line throughout the carol. There are traditionally three early events in Jesus life and ministry, which are especially celebrated in the carol for the revealing or manifestation of God in Jesus. They are the occasions of the Epiphany to the Magi,, the Baptism of Jesus, and the Marriage feast of Cana. In all three the “Godness” of Jesus is revealed, made apparent, made manifest.

The key line from “Sweet Dreams” by the Eurythmics

kept going through my mind when I was starting to think about this:

“Everybody is looking for something”. The curious similarity between these three incidents in Jesus life, is that the people concerned were already asking a persistent question – they were “looking for something”. The Magi are searching for a king, John the Baptist is longing for a Messiah, the family of the wedded couple – with Mary’s help - are looking for a solution to a lack of wine!. Everybody is looking for something. And then they encounter Jesus, and that encounter seems to satisfy their question. The magi recognise their king; John recognises the Messiah, and Mary recognises Jesus as he matures beyond her remit.

This is different from the encounters of the earliest nativity narratives – Gabriel arrives unbidden

and unsought; the shepherds are not expecting the angel hosts; Joseph is dreaming when he

receives the guidance of the Angel. But now the mis-en-place is in order, the incarnation is already an event, now then, encountering Jesus seems to require a little more curiosity, or questioning, or seeking.

Perhaps then, the first thing to consider on this feast of Epiphany is: In your first convincing

encounter with Jesus: what were you looking for? Did Jesus answer that?

You might ask yourself the same question at this stage of your life. What are you looking for? Does Jesus answer that for you now?

You might also like to ask yourself, how do your questions bring you to an encounter with Jesus?


1) When you first encountered Jesus in a meaningful way, what were you looking for? What was the question that Jesus was the answer to, for you?

2) What are you looking for now? What is the imperative question? Does Jesus answer it? If so, then how? If not, then how is God relevant?

3) The Magi, John, Mary, seem to have recognised the answer to their own question quite easily. The Magi saw a king; John saw the Messiah; Mary saw a generous abundant compassionate God. How have you recognised Jesus in your encounters with him?

4) How do your questions bring you to an encounter with Jesus?

5) What about the occasions when the encounter has been unbidden, taken you by surprise, like the shepherds on the hilltop? How have you recognised Jesus when he isn’t an answer?