The idea that God clothed Himself in humanity and came to dwell with man is truly marvelous. This truth is something that we need to consider throughout the year. The apostle John highlighted this truth as an eyewitness as he began his gospel account, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” [Jn. 1:14]. John was likely referring specifically to the events described at the Mount of Transfiguration [Matt. 17:1-13]. The glorious God who dwells with man can transform us, like the disciples. At Caesarea Philippi, the disciples had just affirmed that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God [16:1-12]. Jesus wants His disciples to understand that He is more than a mere mortal man like Moses or Elijah, but is in fact God in the flesh. The better you know Jesus, and behold His glory, the more Jesus will transform you.
Sometimes you need time away with Jesus to perceive His glory. Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a high mountain. Why only Peter, James, and John? These three had the privilege of being there when Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead and saw His power over death [Lu. 8]. They will also be the only three when Jesus goes further into the Garden of Gethsemane and they see His submission to the Father even unto death [Matt. 26]. At the Mount of Transfiguration Jesus prepared them. James will be the first martyr of the church [Ac.12]. And Peter and John will be leaders in the early Church prepared to surrender their lives if necessary to follow Jesus. Jesus’ glory is the glory of God displayed. Jesus was transfigured before them. The Greek metamorphoo refers to a change of form. Jesus’ face shone like the sun and His clothes became white as light. Imagine, as best you can, the scene. They saw Jesus in a new light, literally and figuratively. Moses reflected God’s glory when he descended from Mt. Sinai [Ex. 34], but Jesus radiates God’s glory.
Jesus’ glory encourages and strengthens your faith. I’ve discovered that when I am intentional to create margin in my life to spend significant time with Jesus that I’m more likely to behold His glory. I need time with Jesus uninterrupted by distraction from media, social media, the web, my “to do” list, and even people. The Sabbath is a gift to man to encourage rhythms of time with God that would allow us to better behold Him, and then experience rest for our souls. This peace or contentment of soul eases the mind and heart, and encourages and strengthens faith. I need meaningful time with Jesus in prayer, Bible reading, reflection and contemplation.
Time with Jesus has helped me to better understand that I’m actually called to love God and my neighbors. Also, that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, and that I’m one of them. And that ministry can be an obstacle to healthy relationships with God, my wife, our sons, friends, and those I serve. Time with Christ has also given me great encouragement that He will continue to conform me to His image as I abide in Him.
Consider an experience when you spent some significant time with Jesus. What did you do, what happened, and how were you transformed?
Jesus gloriously fulfills the law and the prophets. The disciples saw Moses and Elijah speaking with Jesus. Luke tells us they spoke of Jesus’ death and departure [Lu. 9:31]. Moses was the great lawgiver. The Mosaic Law reveals God’s standard of perfection to reveal our need for a Savior, the Messiah. Moses died without entering the Promised Land [Deut. 34:5-6], but God graciously raised him in glory in the Promised Land. Elijah was recognized as the greatest prophet. Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection fulfilled what Moses and Elijah had sought to prepare man for. Peter suggested they construct three tabernacles, one for each. Perhaps Peter was expecting a lengthy stay, or wanted to erect a memorial for the event. The problem is that Peter was suggesting that Jesus, Moses, and Elijah were equals.
Jesus is the One we must hear. The Father was manifest as a bright glorious cloud that overshadowed them [Ex. 13:21, 40:35, 1Ki. 8:10]. The Father declared, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!” The Father affirms that Jesus is not merely another prophet, but that Jesus is the One we must hear [Heb. 1:1-2, Deut. 18:15].
We can easily neglect the profound truth that we need to hear Jesus. In our culture there is not only the sound of conflicting philosophies, religions, and world-views, but there is the competing distraction of the material world, our flesh, and the enemy of men’s souls. Again, in order to behold His glory and be transformed we need to learn to hear Jesus’ voice better. In this season of my life, I’m seeking to create healthy patterns for time with Christ, and healthy boundaries regarding time on social media and media generally. I want to be better tuned to the still small voice of God.
How have you learned to hear Jesus’ voice better?
Jesus’ glory should produce reverence not fear. The disciples fall on the ground and were greatly afraid, as the glory of God was manifest. Jesus came and touched them and encouraged them not to be afraid. I love the idea that the glorious God desires to provide a comforting touch and assure me that I need not be afraid. The manifestation of God’s glory is intended to produce reverence not fear. It produces life-transforming faith and worship of God. And stirs me to fear sin, not God.
Here are some ways that experiencing God’s glory can transform you:
- You revere (worship) God.
- You are comforted knowing the glorious God who dwells with you.
- You are humbled [Is. 5-6].
- You reflect God’s glory [Ex. 33:18-23].
- You serve God [Is. 6:1-8].
- You share your experience [Jn. 1:14].
How has the glorious God who dwells with man transformed you?
How would you like to be transformed in this coming season?