Friday, October 3, 2008

The Glory and the Shame

...[Jesus] took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem. Luke 9:28-31 NIV

You would think that this transfiguration of Jesus, where he is revealed in all his glory, would be the apex of his time on earth. The disciples finally see him as he really is. What is left for him to do? For us it would be enough. Nothing better or more glorious could be seen or had. This is it!

But for Jesus, this is not it. This is not the apex of his time on earth. This is not what he has come to do. In the upside-down kingdom of God, Christ’s highest point comes not in dazzling, heavenly glory but in the shame and disgrace of the cross. That which was despised he embraced and now invites us to do the same.

Can I? It is fun and exciting when the light shines brightly on me, when others applaud what I do, say and am. But what of the cross? What happens when everything seems to fall apart, when shame, reproach and disgrace colour my world black? What then? Can I believe this serves a greater purpose than bright lights and glory? Can I eschew the praise and embrace the pain? Can I believe that this is where God will do his greatest work in and through me? Am I willing?

Father, I want to fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of your throne. I know that the things I suffer and endure now can’t compare with the glory that you will reveal in me and so I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings. Let me not be ashamed, Lord, because I believe in you and am convinced that you are able to guard all that I have given you. I give you all I have. So be it.*

*Hebrews 12:2, Romans 8:18, Philippians 3:10, 1 Timothy 1:12

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