John 15:23 Whoever hates me hates my Father also.
The Word doesn’t get any more plain-spoken than Jesus having to speak such a dark truth about himself. It’s stunning. Jesus was the perfect re-creation of God on earth. He was the prism that would bring the light of renewal to our relationship with…well…Himself. Light is the only way to combat hatred.
The word “prism” reminded me of this photo I’d taken. I had several small prisms placed in windows and throughout the day as sunlight would pass through them their rainbows of color would catch my eye around the house. I’d found this empty nest, filled it with pretend eggs and set it on the mantle window sill. I had no idea of how dramatic that ordinary nest could be until the sunlight through the prism lit it.
The primary message of my photo is pretty obvious. When Jesus is the prism that light is filtered through there’s a dramatic change that brings to mind God’s promise of the rainbow as a sign of His covenant. There’s an equally effective message for the dark half of the photo. Jesus came into the world “as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.”
The Red Thread verses
1… And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”
12… “To be sure, Elijah does come first, and restores all things. Why then is it written that the Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected? 13 But I tell you, Elijah has come, and they have done to him everything they wished, just as it is written about him.”
The Rest of the Story
V2 After six days Jesus took Peter, James and John with him and led them up a high mountain, where they were all alone…there appeared before them Elijah and Moses, who were talking with Jesus…V7 Then a cloud appeared and covered them, and a voice came from the cloud: “This is my Son, whom I love. Listen to him!”
I’ve read over this scripture many times with such a casual acceptance of its truth that I totally missed the importance of the small red thread of Jesus’s words that begins the chapter. The first verse seems like it should have been attached to the end of chapter 8. The drama of the story that follows overshadowed the question I hadn’t even thought to ask; Who was Jesus talking about? All those guys are dead. Then I read the chapter in The Message version. The “some who are standing here” that would see the Kingdom of God come into power with their own eyes were Peter, James and John.
It’s one little detail of truth that’s been pulled from the recesses of casual acceptance into the light to become dramatic for me. That’s the point isn’t it?
Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. נ Nun
Back on September 4 when I was in my long study of this Psalm I wrote about the eight verses of “Nun” from the point of view that we begin life pretty much in the dark, looking like one thing but if we’re plugged into God’s plan we finally become what he’s meant us to be all along. Life in Christ is finding the path to get from that beginning to where we need to be. This verse is a reminder, the Word isn’t always a spotlight. Sometimes it’s a purposely directed flashlight beam that’s enough to light a path needed to navigate current events by.
Check out this 7-day devotional, Thriving in Babylon. [click title] It’s a story about Daniel, a man forced to live in the midst of big changes beyond his control. He faces fears about the future, concern for his safety, and the discouragement of a world that seems to be falling apart. Sound familiar?
This is a quote from Day 2.“Daniel’s humble respect was tied to his firm belief that God is in control of who is in control. It wasn’t merely a theological axiom. It was a reality he lived by. He saw Nebuchadnezzar as God’s servant, a wicked king allowed to reign for a period of time in order to fulfill God’s sovereign purpose—in this case, the discipline and judgment of Jerusalem for the sins of its people. Daniel wasn’t respectful because Nebuchadnezzar deserved it.
He was respectful because God commanded it.”
John 1:9-14 12/7/15
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John’s Scripture got me thinking about another light source. The first thing that came to my mind was a Flashlight. As a kid did you ever shine your flashlight in someone’s face? I did. I’m sorry to admit how much fun it was to hear my victims squeal and squirm to get away from that obnoxious beam and know they couldn’t even tell who was torturing them. That’s how my mind works.
But here’s how the Holy Spirit works in my mind. When I typed that word, flashlight, I realized how similarly flashlight and “false light” are spelled. I think God meant my first thought to be an object lesson. There’s such an obvious difference between my flashlight confession with it’s purpose to blind and conceal and the light John speaks of that’s meant to illuminate and reveal.
False light may be what happened then because “though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.” That’s what makes this Advent journey so important. Scripture, and thoughts, in these daily doses is light for the path. We walk to recognize for ourself the True Light of God’s reality revealed at that cradle…”The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”