As I get older, my mind wanders. Like as in I sometimes need a mental leash and/or a keeper. This is especially true when I'm tired and today I was tired. At some point during Sunday school or worship, I saw an inset in my Holman study Bible. Honestly, I don't even know how I got on that page in my Bible because it was in Matthew and the Sunday school lesson was in Proverbs while the sermon was in Ephesians 4. As I've indicated, my mind can sometimes wander far afield.
The word "metamorphoo" was used in Matthew 17:2, a verse that describes Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration. The verse says that Jesus was transformed in front of His disciples, that Peter, James, and John - to their astonishment I'm guessing - saw Jesus' face shine as bright as the sun and, according to the Scripture, even his clothes got in on the act as they also shone with a bright light. Pretty amazing!
I knew a Muslim many years ago who was attracted to Christ but who was determined not to convert, at least for a while - maybe even for years and years. He loved the Bible and he enjoyed church but he was afraid of the cost that he would have to pay if he left Islam. One night, as he was riding to church with his friend, the friend challenged him. Basically he asked the Muslim, "What would it take for you to believe in Christ?" The Muslim, wanting to end this conversation once and for all, searched for the most impossible thing he could think of and blurted out, "I would have to see God." The friend swallowed hard and said, "Well, we'll pray that happens then."
They went on to church and during the service, as people were passing the communion plate, the Muslim looked up and saw a blinding white light at the front of the church. He said the light was as bright as the sun and yet it didn't hurt his eyes. He looked away to see how others were reacting to this phenomena and when he looked back at the front of the room, the light was gone. However, he knew... He knew Who the light was and he didn't hesitate to commit to Christ. What he had thought would take years took only a few minutes.
I've had a Chinese friend tell me the same thing - that when she prayed alone in her room to receive Christ, even though her room was dark, a light began to shine until it filled the entire place.
Back to Matthew 17: Jesus was transformed and the disciples were suddenly able to see Him as we will all see Him someday. They got a glimpse of His glory, the glory that He temporarily laid aside in order to "empty Himself" and become like a man for our sake. (Phil. 2)
But there's more.
II Corinthians 3:7-18 talks about the difference between the old covenant, the one mediated by Moses, and the new covenant, the one initiated, fulfilled, and sealed by Jesus via His sinless life and His death. The difference is like night and day. Or as the Holman study notes say, it is like comparing the light of a waning and waxing moon to the ever brilliant sun.
Paul goes on to remind his readers that Moses' face shone whenever he met with God in the tabernacle. Just being in the presence of God caused Moses' face to shine with an unearthly glory. But this glory-by-association, if you will, began to fade as soon as Moses left the tabernacle.
Whereas the glory of the risen Jesus will never fade.
And then Paul makes an astounding statement in II Cor. 3:17 - 18. "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We all with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory..."
I thought about that. As we meditate on the glory of the Lord,spend time in His presence, we are being changed. Transformed. That's what the Bible says.
We are being metamorphosed into the image of His Son, we are going from glory to glory:
I thought of Colossians 3:1-4. In that passage Paul wrote that we are to "...seek what is above, where the Messiah is seated at the right hand of God." He goes on to say that we are to set our mind on the things that are above as compared to the things that are on the earth.. And then he caps this passage with stunning words, "When the Messiah, who is your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory."
This week I have thought about loved ones who have gone on to be with the Lord. I've recalled scenes from my childhood, my teen-age years, my college days, and the early days of our marriage. There are a lot of people already in Heaven whom I miss. There are a few days now and then when I would give almost anything to be able to visit with my grandfather, my mom, etc. I would love to be able to sit down with them and talk to them about events that we shared, reminisce, and/or just see their faces once more.
But until today I never really thought about sitting with them in glory, literally.
I never thought about how meditating on God - who He is and the glory that surrounds Him - I never thought about how doing that enables Him right now to change me bit by bit into His likeness, into a reflection of His glory.
And that one day all of His children, including the ones I now love and miss, will be revealed with Jesus and all of us will be "wearing" His glory when we meet again. Wow!
Several years ago when a man in our Sunday school was told that he had an advanced form of an aggressive lung cancer, he looked at the doctor and said, "Well, I can get excited about Heaven."
I respected him for that but didn't really understand his mindset. Until today when my mind wandered, my attention was arrested by a funny Greek word, Metamorphoo, and some disparate verses in Scripture suddenly began to come together in my mind.
And then, finally, right on the heels of looking at first one verse and then another, I suddenly had a flashback to a time when I was sitting with my next door neighbors, an elderly couple who were like adopted parents to me. And I recalled them singing country songs like, "I'll fly away, oh, Glory... I'll fly away!" and "Will the circle be unbroken.." - songs I considered old fashioned and "out of date".
Transformed by the glory of Jesus, starting now as I sit at His feet and reaching completion when I go to be with Him.
And, yes, I can get excited about that.
Psalms 84:5,7. Happy are the people whose strength is in You, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. They go from strength to strength; each appears before God in Zion.
II Cor. 4:16-17. Therefore we do not give up! Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory.
Romans 8:18. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us.