Jesus' Shining Face
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17. Jesus' Shining Face


Moses face ShinesGod often changes Christians' outward facial appearances into something approaching Jesus' shining face. Technically, at the Transfiguration, Jesus is believed to have been metamorphosed. Metamorphosis is a description of the caterpillar's change into a butterfly. "Metamorphosis is a biological process by which an animal physically develops after birth or hatching, involving a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change in the animal's body structure through cell growth and differentiation. Metamorphosis is iodothyronine-induced and an ancestral feature of all chordates." You don't need to scientifically comprehend this intricate process, set in place at the Creation to understand Jesus' Transfiguration. The word "metamorphosis" derives from the Greek, and is composed of two words, "meta," meaning "after," and "morphe," meaning "form." A human metamorphosis is wholly and entirely an act of God except maybe in science fiction movies!

Moses' Experience

Jesus Glowing FaceIn the Old Testament, Moses meets God on Mount Sinai, and his face also shines. Moses' face transformed because he has been with the Lord God Almighty. Exodus 34.29 reads, "When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with Yahweh." The people are so astonished at his glowing appearance that "they were afraid to come near him." Because of this, Moses has to wear a veil to conceal his face! Like Moses, Jesus' face lights up at the Transfiguration. Matthew 17.2 records, "There he (Jesus) was transfigured before them. Jesus' face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light." Jesus is ablaze with the godliness of the Lord God Almighty. Saint Stephen also radiates God's glory before his martyrdom when his face glows. Acts 6.15 explains, "And all who sat in the council looked intently at him, and they saw that his (Stephen's) face was like the face of an angel." A Christian's countenance should and often does reflect God's glory. Though we tend to dismiss this aspect of our Christian faith, we sometimes instinctively recognize other Christians by their appearance. The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 3.18, "But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." The subtle change in appearance is the work of the indwelling Holy Spirit. The Lord Jesus' face, like Moses' face, is radiant and reflects his glory because he spoke with God the Father. In Acts, Christians' have such glowing faces that people assume that they have been drinking excessively! In Acts 2.15, the disciples correct them, "These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!"

The Divine Optician

eyesThe divine optician Jesus Christ opens eyes and lets us view God's world from his perspective. As members of the Mystical Body of Christ grow into holiness, God opens their eyes, and they began to see God's world differently. They see things in a new light. This same thing happened to two disciples who meet Jesus Christ after the resurrection as they hurry along the road to Emmaus. Though they know Jesus well, they fail to recognize him as they walk and talk. Suddenly, as Jesus breaks bread in their home, he opens their eyes. Then in Luke 24.37, we read, "they were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost." When Jesus Christ opens our eyes, he gives us a renewed vision for our neighbors who do not know him. Christ transforms our view of the growing numbers of seniors, the young professional Millennials, and the ethnic groups speaking their languages in our midst. Christ directs us to the new poor and their children in our big cities. As we minister to others, we begin to understand ourselves. We realize our impoverished nature and begin to comprehend our incredible status as his children in God's sight. Christ awakens us to our frailty and then to God's power, starting to work in us.

Acknowledge Jesus Christ

Jesus' Face in Stained GlassTo acknowledge Jesus Christ and believe in him, as in the earliest Christian creeds, brings spiritual insights from the Lord himself. Saying, "Jesus is Lord" is the very earliest Christian creed. Also and perhaps, more importantly, it is a prerequisite to knowing God's forgiveness and acceptance. God promises to support and accept those people who acknowledge Jesus Christ when they speak about their faith. "I tell you," says Jesus in Luke 12.8, "whoever publicly acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will also acknowledge before the angels of God." Saint Paul adds in Philippians 2.11, "at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." In the Early Church, the act of confessing Jesus Christ was life-threatening. Christians expected persecution from the earliest days through to Emperor Constantine's (272-337 AD) Edict in 313 AD. For the first time, all religions are allowed to co-exist in peace in the Empire. Confessing Jesus Christ cements a person's relationship to the Son of God and also establishes that person's place in the Christian community. The Apostle John emphasizes in 1 John 4.15, "If anyone acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, God lives in them, and they live in God."

Fragrant Knowledge of Him

Three FragrancesWe often felt guilty, or we are too embarrassed or fearful to share our faith. In avoiding this mental conflict, our joy and purpose begin to drain away. We mistakenly imagine that we need to be eloquent and theologically precise, but Jesus wants us only to tell what we have personally experienced. Despite our frailty, Saint Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2.14 that Jesus "uses us to spread the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere." How wonderful! After Jesus' Ascension, the disciples change from being dejected to becoming an enthusiastic, confident company. What is on their faces comes from their hearts, and the Lord Jesus' face changes them. Luke 24.52-53 explains, "Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the Temple, praising God."

Unveiled Faces

Woman's Veiled FaceMany of today's congregations are too anxious to rush out of church and home for lunch to have time to appreciate the Lord Jesus' face. The early Christian's greatest joy was to hang around the Temple and praise God. Happy praise in God's presence was their bread and butter. Their faces mysteriously became like the Lord Jesus' face! It should be ours too. Paul confirms this in 2 Corinthians 3.18, "And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." Our faces will be changed, like Jesus Christ's Face. As we mature and change as Christians, Jesus works inwardly and invisibly in our inner beings and gives us the Lord Jesus' face. He will open your eyes, enlarge our minds, speak through our mouths, put a glow on our faces, and set your hearts on fire with love for him.✞

Jesus Christ's Mind

The MindHaving Jesus Christ's mind opens up a person to see things differently. Genuine Christianity demands a Scriptural guide. Open eyes in Christians produce open minds, which by practice and perseverance became "Jesus Christ's mind" or the "Jesus mindset." We see this in the Gospels when a group of fishermen meets Jesus after the resurrection in Luke 24.45. Jesus eats fish with them as proof that he is alive. The passage reads, "Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." Jesus opens the disciples' minds to understand spiritual truths in the Word of God or the Scriptures. At that time, the Scriptures" mean the "Old Testament" but now the Whole Bible, including the stories of Jesus (Gospels), the Epistles (letters), and the rest of the New Testament. Some people, in error, proclaim that the Scriptures do not include many of the passages in the Old Testament, and other verses and chapters which do not support their particular viewpoint. Some even astoundingly reduce the Scriptures to the actual spoken words by Jesus, but even here, they have problems! No, it is all scripture that is inspired by God!

Not Brainwashed

BrainSome people say Christians are brainwashed, indoctrinated, or induced to conform to a set of institutional beliefs. They say that any clear-thinking person would reject Christianity and the belief in God outright. Far from being closed-minded or blinkered, genuine Christianity demands that we open our minds, to think through and mentally explore our faith with the mind of Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul had a radical internal change from persecuting Christians to being their chief spokesperson. He writes in 1 Corinthians 2.16, "but we have the mind of Christ." We are not brainwashed nor robot-like in our decision-making but instead have our minds genuinely opened to the truth and freed up by Jesus Christ himself, who said in John 14.6, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

If Necessary Use Words

PotterNot only do we need Jesus' mind, but we need his words. Ruth E. Johnson wrote, "When the potter remade my marred vessel, he put a spout on it." When Jesus' mind remakes us, God fills us to overflowing, and we want to share our faith with others. Jesus says in Luke 24.48, "you are witnesses of these things." A witness tells only of what he or she has heard, seen, or experienced. In sharing our faith, we also take possession of it. Saint Paul adds in Romans 10.9, "if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Our minds need to be re-booted by the "Divine Programmer."✞

"Jesus' Shining Face"
by Ron Meacock © 2019

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