Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Veiled or unveiled?

TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:6

TO CHEW ON: “But we all with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord…. For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 3:18, 4:6

Moses had been away from the camp for a long time. His second 40-day absence didn’t end in a golden calf though, but a golden face. The joy that Aaron and the people of Israel felt when they saw the familiar figure approach turned to fear as he got closer. Something had happened to his face. It shone so brightly they could scarcely look at it. The time Moses had spent with God and the intimacy of their fellowship resulted in God’s visible glory remaining evident on his physical features.

This is the incident to which Paul refers in this passage, so rich with veil imagery. Out of consideration for the people, Moses got into the habit of covering his face with a veil after he had spent time with God. That way the people didn’t have to fear him – or damage their eyes.

Paul refers to other types of veils here too. There is the veil of understanding. God the Holy Spirit is the One who removes that barrier to belief in Jesus by helping us make sense of the Bible.

The "veil taken away in Christ" (vs. 14) is the veil between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place in the temple. Only select priests could go behind the veil into the Most Holy Place where the Ark of the Covenant sat and God’s glory rested. But at Jesus’ death that veil was torn in two. Now anyone can come to God.

“The rending of the veil” 1890 by William Bell Scott (1811-1890)

That’s why we can approach Jesus face-to-face now. Actually Paul describes our interaction with Him as “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord.” Jesus, the physical man, was God’s glory reflected in a human form.

As we study His face, His life, and make Him our example in attitude and action, an amazing thing happens. We ourselves are transformed, through the Holy Spirit’s work in us, into carriers of His glory.

Just as Moses didn’t realize his face shone, you might be unaware of the glory of God’s presence on you. But as you exalt Jesus, God’s light shines through you, illuminating dark hearts and drawing the veil from puzzled faces.

PRAYER: Dear God, what a privilege to be a reflector of Your glory. Please show me anything in my life that might obscure it from shining through. Amen.

Don Moen sings “Shine Jesus Shine”

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