When Moses came down from Mount Sinai carrying the two stone tablets, he wasn’t aware that his face had become radiant, shining with a supernatural light. But when the people of Israel saw it, they were afraid to come near him (Exodus 34).
Whenever Moses entered God’s presence, he would leave his face uncovered and speak with God face-to-face, and would emerge radiating God’s glory. But after a while the glory would fade. Paul says that “Moses would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away” (2 Corinthians 3: 13).
The glory shining from Moses’ face was a reflected glory that was bound to fade away. It prepared us for and pointed us toward a glory that would be seen on the face of Jesus, a glory that was not reflected but inherent, a glory that will never fade away. The human flesh that Jesus poured himself into also veiled his glory. However, at one point in his ministry, Jesus did give his inner circle a glimpse of his intrinsic luminescent glory: “Jesus took Peter and the two brothers, James and John, and led them up a high mountain to be alone. As the men watched, Jesus’ appearance was transformed so that his face shone like the sun” (Matthew 7: 1-2).
For a brief moment, the veil of humanity was peeled back and Jesus’ true essence was allowed to shine through. The glory that was always in the depths of his being rose to the surface and became visible. The disciples saw not only his pre-human glory, but also his future glory. In Revelation chapter 1, John recounts for us the vision he was given of Jesus as he is now – still human yet glorified, as we will be one day. John says that “his face was like the sun in all its brilliance” (1:16). Jesus’ glory does not and will never fade away.
It is in the face of Jesus that we are able to see and know the glory of God. “For God, who said “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:6).
In a world that is full of uncertainty and where everything eventually fades away, how wonderful it is to have the certainty of Jesus’ unfading glory.
Prayer – Glorified Jesus, how I long to be transformed into your likeness with ever-increasing glory. As I gaze into your glorious face, you are changing me – taking away the darkness and giving me your own radiant countenance.
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.