Exodus 32:7 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down; for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves; RSV
It’s easy to see how obvious the idolatry of THOSE people is. How in the world could they miss that the golden calf looked just like the idol the Egyptians worshipped? These are the same people who’d repeatedly sworn to Moses that whatever God told them to do, they would do. These are the people who knew they were to serve God on this mountain. These are the people who were willing to settle for making the Glory of God into their own image.
Imagine the heartbreak Moses must have felt as he began his journey down the mountain after being told by the Lord “Go down, for your people, whom you brought up out of the land of Egypt, have corrupted themselves.” Therein lies the lesson of how waiting, suspicion and impatience can so easily become the sin that corrupts the mind first and then the heart. This golden calf was made from the willing offering of the people’s treasure. Their treasure was what they chose to worship as the god that brought them out of Egypt even though only one day before that idol hadn’t even existed.
The challenge of my mind and heart as a descendant of THOSE people, who’s inherited this sad and shameful moment as part of my history, is to find the thread that connects those truths to the truth of the Sovereign and Eternal Glory of God revealed in Jesus for believers today. “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin,[as a sin offering] he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.” Romans 8
“Fallen people are capable of great sacrifices,
but not out of love for God.”
This week I begin two new group studies, one that includes the books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and a second less formal one using the book of John. “Cherry picking” taught me more than I’d anticipated. It was hard to pick fruit based on a word search without forcing the issue. The Message passage from Matthew is still going to be my guide. Instead of a word, these four questions will be my jumpstarters to read and ponder for Wednesday posts from John and Sunday posts from those Old Testament books.
- What’s the general theme of the passage?
- What does it say about God [or Jesus or the Holy Spirit]?
- What does it say about people?
- Is there truth here for me?
Excerpts from John 1:1-18 RSV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life [Or was not anything made. That which has been made was life in him], and the life was the light of men…14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father…17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known.
This is the beginning of the relationship between God, Jesus and us. “In the beginning was [God], and the Word [Jesus] was with God. God was first! God did not create Himself and Jesus was not a product of God’s creation. “And the Word [Jesus] was God.” God offered Himself as God-man so we might see “In him was life, and the life [of His own perfect image, Jesus] was the light of men” that darkness could not overcome.
John’s witness is to show us we are like those people he speaks of; often content to NOT know more, because we think we already know. That’s the darkness Jesus has come to shed His light on. The good news is “but to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God.”
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” The truth is the “light” we beheld is now the light held within usa because Jesus has become part of our flesh.
“No one has ever seen God;
the only Son, who is in the bosom [heart] of the Father.”
“He has made him known” to us.
a Matthew 5:14
In John 17:6
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.“ NIV
Can you believe this? Jesus saw past the limitations of time and the human imperfections of those whom God gave him “out of the world.” He could see the days yet to come of every person who “knew with certainty” that Jesus did come from God “and they believed.” Long before your days even began, in ages past, Jesus recognized the glory that would come to Him through…
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
Psalm 90:12 NIV
John 1:14 So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. NLT
What does the glory of Jesus look like in real life today? The dictionary defines glory as magnificence and beauty. “Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”a
There is STILL glory in that broken image I see in the mirror. It may be puzzling but I have seen the magnificence and beauty of Jesus in the unfailing love and faithfulness of others with perfect clarity this last month simply because…
The Word became human and made his home among us so even brokenness would not be able to hide “His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son.”
a I Cor 13:12 NLT
*36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he
*42 Jesus called them together and said, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 43 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
Here’s the cliff notes: The disciples have left their lives behind to follow Jesus. They believe he is Messiah. They’ve found security in Jesus. He’s been the assurance of their sacrifice but now the question about who can be saved, and how, has rattled them. They’ve spent this time with Jesus waiting for that revelation, learning and seeing firsthand the powers Jesus has…even over death.
Now Jesus is telling the disciples what the chief priests and teachers of the law have planned for him in Jerusalem. It’s not good but it’s also not as real to them as what they’ve been taught their whole lives that Messiah would be revealed as a conquering king. Jesus asks James and John – “What do you want me to do for you?” It’s clear from their reply they’re seeing “glory” in their future, rather than destruction. They don’t see how the final demonstration of Messiah’s power could happen any other way.
It reminded me how easy it is in life to assume we know how Jesus will reveal his power and miss the reality of seeing it happen in our lives.