ADVENT: DAY 25
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“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that voice was conveyed to him by the Majestic Glory, saying, ‘This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.’ We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven, while we were with him on the holy mountain. So we have the prophetic message more fully confirmed. You will do well to be attentive to this as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.”—2 Peter 1:16-21
We have before us either an eyewitness account or an account of an eyewitness account that has been handed down within the Petrine community. I have often wondered what it would have been like to have been there. While wondering this, I wonder how I would have responded to the person and movement of Jesus of Nazareth. Would it be easier to believe that he was the Son of God and a person of the Triune God if we also heard the Majestic Glory declare, “This is my Son, my Beloved, with whom I am well pleased”? Or, would it be more difficult since we would know him as a friend, a brother in the flesh? I am guessing that the latter would actually prevail. Most of the disciples, his closest comrades, seemed to have never figured out the full significance of the identity of their teacher until his resurrection.
In the very beginning the shepherds and the wise men seemed to get it. Yet, no matter how much we celebrate their presence in our nativity scenes and plays, we do not really see them again throughout the rest of the gospels. The demons got it, but theirs is not exactly the example we want to follow. Even though Peter famously declared it, he clearly did not believe strongly enough to stop his denials.
Mary got it. John the Baptist got it. The hemorrhaging woman got it. The woman with the expensive oil got it. The prisoner hanging next to Jesus got it. These are all people whose actions and words reiterated those of the Majestic Glory—“This is God’s Son, God’s Beloved, with whom God is well pleased.” Mary was there at his birth. John was there as they grew up and started their public ministries. The hemorrhaging woman was there when he was so popular that thick crowds hemmed him in on all sides. The woman with the expensive oil was there as he prepared to meet his end. The prisoner was there as he died. At each step along his journey of life, somebody was there to proclaim his true identity. These were men and women moved by the Holy Spirit.
I think it is ok that most people did not get it. I think it is ok that most of us still do not fully get it. How can we fully grasp a concept like the Incarnation? We can get bits and pieces of it, though, if we seek out the men and women whose lives speak the voice of Majestic Glory. The good news is that through the Incarnation did come to know each and every one of us in the fullness of our identities. Hallelujah!