HOW BRIGHT IS THE LIGHT?

And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves.  And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. … He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”

Matthew 17:1-2, 5.

In the book of Revelation, the Apostle John records his vision of the Lord Jesus Christ and says, in part:

In his right hand he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.

Revelation 1:16.

When the solar eclipse was occurring on August 21, 2017, we stood transfixed while watching the moon march through the afternoon sky, with the sun high in the heavens.  When the moon completely covered the sun, the corona was still visible as a flaming band surrounding the image of the dark moon. 

DSC_0034 a

But, when the moon continued its preordained trek across the sky and began to uncover the sun, the sun’s radiant light was not restrained any longer.  The power of that first glimpse of the sun’s light was so strong that the corona which had transfixed our gaze seemed to disappear in the brilliance of the sun’s pure light.  And, the moon’s participation in this planetary spectacle was almost obliterated by the re-emergence of the sun’s light.

How bright is the light? 

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

John 8:12

Scripture writers recorded the light emanating from the Lord at his transfiguration by referencing the sun and its bright light.  Paul records his confrontation with a bright light when the Lord called him to do His work:

“As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me.”

Acts 22:6

How bright is the light?  The light from the Lord blinded Paul as he was on the road to Damascus.  Similarly, we were told that it was dangerous for us to gaze at the sun with our naked eyes, even when the moon was covering part of it.  In our sinful nature, we cannot look at the holiness and magnificence of God — He is surrounded in blinding light. 

We used eclipse glasses to watch the heavenly event without danger.  The Light of our Lord is strong enough to find us when we stray, to guide our path and to extinguish the darkness of sin.  When we look at God through the righteousness of His Son, we see His power and His glory, and we have comfort in His omnipotence because we are in His arms.  

For a couple of minutes during the totality of the eclipse, the sun’s light was stopped by the moon.  The Son’s Light, however, does not stop — it will last forever!  

Father, I thank You for the privilege of watching Your creation operate in such wondrous ways.  I praise Your name for the gift of seeing Your power and majesty as they are exhibited in Your creation.  You are God, and there is none like You.  Praise and honor are due to You, and You alone.

 

WHO DO YOU SAY THAT I AM? – Part Two

In Part One of this post, we considered the question Jesus posited to His disciples disciples: “Who do YOU say that I am?” 

In ruminating on this question, we pointed to, and quoted from, C. H. Spurgeon’s sermon, preached on January 7th, 1872, entitled “The Glorious Master and the Swooning Disciple.”  In the earlier post we looked at what happens when we have a low opinion of our Lord and Savior.  Now, we continue with the text of the sermon and consider the flip side of the question’s answer – if we have a high opinion of the Lord:

If our conceptions of the Lord Jesus are very enlarged, they will only be His due. We cannot exaggerate here. He deserves higher praise than we can ever render to Him. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high is He above our loftiest conceptions. Even when the angels strike their loudest notes, and chant His praises most exultingly on their highest festal days, the music falls far short of His excellence. He is higher than a seraph’s most soaring thought! Rise then, my brethren, as on eagle’s wings, and let your adoring souls magnify and extol the Lord your Savior.

Canterbury cathedral
Canterbury Cathedral, Canterbury, England

So, what does Scripture say about Jesus Christ?  How high is our Lord and Savior?

The Prophet Isaiah testified as follows:

“Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.  By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.'”

Isaiah 45:22-23 ESV

Paul, in the New Testament letter to the Philippians, elaborates on what Isaiah prophesied centuries before.  Paul, speaking of Jesus Christ, said:

“Therefore God has highly exalted him [Jesus Christ] and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Philippians 2:9-11 ESV.   See also Romans 14:11-12.

We may know this intellectually, but sometimes we fail to see Jesus in the proper light.  We see him as the Babe on Christmas, or as a Hollywood actor who walks through crowds with slow and steady gait, dressed in the browns and grays.  We see the poor itinerant teacher, without a place to lay His head.

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”

2 Corinthians 8:9 ESV

But do we recognize Him for Who He is?  Do we think of Him as He really is?

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.  In him was life, and the life was the light of men. … And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

John 1:1-4, 14 ESV

Did you comprehend that statement of John?  The Word, Jesus Christ, was with God before the world was created and through Him were all things created.  For the believer, we should do as Spurgeon urged: “let your adoring souls magnify and extol the Lord your Savior.”

A further description of the Word is found in Revelation as follows:

“Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.  His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself.  He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.”

Revelation 19:11-13 ESV

Who is Jesus Christ?  John’s Revelation answers:

“And he said unto me, ‘It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.’”

Revelation 21:6 KJV.  Remember Jesus’ statement to the Samaritan woman at the well?  

“’I am the Alpha and the Omega,’ says the Lord God, ‘who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.’”

Revelation 1:8 ESV.  See also Revelation 22:13. 

May we have a high opinion of our Lord and follow Spurgeon’s urging to let our adoring souls magnify and extol the Lord our Savior!

 

Father, I pray that these words would be edifying and encouraging to those who read them.  I pray that You would use Your Word to strengthen those who are struggling today and I pray that You would send Your Spirit to convict us of our sin so that we may rejoice in the strength and majesty of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.