Through a Glass DarklyMarch 13, 2007
Isaiah 53:1-2 “Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.”
While in a physical body, Jesus was one who wouldn’t stand out in a crowd based on appearance. We all have images in our minds of how he looked, based mostly on artists depictions throughout the ages, but his appearance was very average for folks of that time. I imagine that Zebedee might have been perplexed when Jesus came came by the sea of Galilee along with Simon and Andrew. He called to Zebedees sons, James and John, and they straightway forsook their very livlihood to follow along. Often we read how that Jesus words were with authority. Likewise his call to these men was with authority as they forsook all and followed him into a future; having no idea what that future held. For them the “average Joe lifestyle” was a thing of the past.
Jesus came with authority and in power; not in fleshly strength or allurement. I like the “window” into his days as a youth when, at the age of twelve, he’s found in the temple talking with the well educated doctors. The scene must have been amazing as this average looking boy, much resembling all of the others who dwelt in Jerusalem, comes into the temple. One of the doctors possibly asked “can I help you son?” to which Jesus probably replied “I was just wondering such and such.” (I say “possibly” as we have no idea as to how the dialogue went in that it’s not recorded; only that the dialogue took place) As the conversation unfolded these doctors, who went through years of rigorous training, must have been flabbergasted at the understanding of Jesus. I wonder if he gave them questions that he knew they would have to struggle to answer, or that they had disagreements over, as to further “give them something to talk about for a long time.” (Remember the lad that came in here a few years ago?)
Throughout the gospels, folks followed Jesus beholding the multitude of miraculous healings and events; many thinking that he was a great prophet, but not understanding who he really is. Hearing the words which weren’t like the scribes and pharisee explaining things, but were with authority. Kind of like if someone was to write a book about your life, it would be in a “third person observation” context. It you told the story yourself it would be much more direct and the events of that story much more reliable. (This post is skipping around a lot. It wasn’t really planned out and I’m simply running with it)
Mark 4:36-38 “And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish?”
The ship was filling with water and the self-preservation switch was set on “high.” Panic set in as a trip to the bottom of the sea appeared imminent.
Mark 4:39 “And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.”
This seemingly average guy, whose outward appearance resembled any who dwelt in the land in those days, went on deck and told the wind to stop. The wind obeyed him and the onlookers must have been stunned. Suddenly all was calm as the waves, while quickly diminishing, were a reminder of what had been taking place just moments ago. Then, all was calm.
Mark 4:40-41 “And he said unto them, Why are ye fearful? how is it that ye have no faith? And they feared exceedingly, and said one to another, What manner of man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
They “feared exceedingly.” The transpiration of this miracle may have been more terrifying than the storm itself to the onlookers. They saw a man who, aside from his speech, seemed to be just another guy, tell a violent storm to be still and the storm stopped on his command.
Of all the miracles that Jesus did, one event stands out that must revealed his glory like none other. This is the Mount of transfiguration. Here his physical being was altered and for the first time, Peter, James, and John saw his visible glory. The glory that has always been his, that was now revealed to his three closest disciples.
Matthew 17:1-2 “Then after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his rainment was white as the light.”
His face was shining like the sun. Kind of like the new Jerusalem where God will be the light thereof. In thinking about how the physical sun shines, we have a picture of how incredible this was. “As the sun” is how Jesus face shown and his rainment was pure white as the light. These three diciples were given a passing glimpse of glory with this event. A glance at that which is and will, in time be revealed to all. There is no way that these men could have witnessed this and remained the same as before.
Matthew 17:3-4 “And behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias.
This entire incident is incredible as the understanding of the disciples begins to be increased. Peter wants to make three tabernacles but as he’s speaking, something transpires that takes it to a whole new level. This already incredible event gets frighteningly more incredible.
Matthew 17:5-6 “While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.”
This scared them. Suddenly was the awesomeness of Gods presence in a way that they weren’t expecting. It’s always amazing when folks come into contact with the Holy One of Israel. Back a ways is a post entitled “Close Encounters which deals with this in more deatil. This event of the transfiguration; the more that one thinks on it the more incredible it becomes. When Jesus returns, he’s not going to look like just another face in the crowd. Every eye is going to behold him. Those who are born again; having repented (being sorry for and turning from) of their sin and accepted Jesus as Savior, believing the testimony of him, will rejoice with a joy unspeakable that shall never end. Those who “didn’t have time or a desire” to know him will cry out to the rocks “fall on us! And hide us from him that sits on the throne.” This day is rapidly approaching.
Matthew 17:7-8 “And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.”
In modern English, that would be “Get up! It’s me; dont be scared.” Jesus then charges the disciples to keep this event hidden until after he was risen from the dead. I wonder how many times they wanted to tell of this but couldn’t. As one might come to them and say “Jesus truly is awesome.” To which Peter might have replied “You have no idea!” When folks see Jesus, they are never the same again.
I John 3:2-3 “Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”
This passage was penned by one of the disciples who witnessed the transfiguration. John was also the one who recorded the events in Revelation, was the only man to know what the seven thunders uttered, and was the only apostle to die of “natural causes.” The rest were killed for their testimony. In fact, after Jesus rose from the dead he told peter specifically, that “when you’re old, they’re going to kill you. (I’m paraphrasing.) He spent the rest of his days knowing that his departure wouldn’t be of the “now I lay me down to sleep” variety.
I need to close up for now. I wanted to touch on something else, but it’s already long and time is short. Time for today and time in general. I pray that we all would draw closet to the Lord Jesus than ever before. That we would abide under the shadow of the Almighty. That we would be diligent concerning the tasks at hand. I’ll close out with the following passages.
I Timothy 3:16 “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”
Revelation 19:11-16 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Wore of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.”