If I were the moon, I would be tempted to claim my muted, though powerful light as coming from myself. I would want people to stop and stare, admire and adulate. I would be sure to avoid rising while the Sun still showed her face, as clear proximity to her would expose my paltry light.
I know this to be true, because, left to myself, I live this way in relation to God. In my base desires, known biblically as sarx or the flesh, I want to shine brightly. I want people to look at me rather than through me back to the source. I want to appear, if not to be, completely self-sufficient and put together.
Coming into the light of the source of all light exposes our light as a borrowed one, one that merely reflects a few paltry rays of a blindingly bright God. No wonder we tend to avoid coming into the light of His presence. Yet, the closer we are in proximity to Him, the more brightly we will reflect and the less we will be able to claim any light as coming from ourselves.
The prophet Isaiah, John the Baptist and the Apostles Peter and John. These were among the brightest lights to shine from the Biblical record; thousands of years after their deaths, we are still warmed and illuminated by their words and their lives.
Each of them, upon even a partial seeing of the face of Christ, recognized true brilliance, and in so doing were humbled as being carriers of a brilliant, borrowed light.
In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple…And I said, “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts.” Isaiah 6:1 & 5.
And they came to John and said to him, “Rabbi, he who was with you across the Jordan, to whom you bore witness- look, he is baptizing, and all are going to him.” John answered, “A person cannot receive even one thing unless it is given him from heaven. You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ, but I have been sent before Him.’…Therefore, this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:26-28 & 29.
They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” Luke 5:7-8.
I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet…Then I turned to see the voice that was speaking to me, and on turning I saw…one like a son of man, clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest…When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Revelation 1:10,12, 13 &17.
When we see Christ as He is, even for a fleeting moment, even just the train of His robe, we must fall down in humility and worship. The brightness of these men came from their proximity to Christ, the only eternal source of light.
While we have not had visions like Isaiah or John in the cave at Patmos, while we have not had the opportunity to be Jesus’ cousin and baptizer, while we have not sat literally at Jesus’ feet like Peter, we have something better.
We have the Holy Spirit who lives and loves to show to us and through us the glory of our Christ.
For what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shown in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:5-6.
I find my heart longing to be brought closer and closer to the Son who is the truest sun and source, that my light might be consistently shown to be a brilliant but borrowed light.