Day 26 – The Face that Shines Like the Sun

LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent?
Who may live on your holy mountain?

The one whose walk is blameless,
who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from their heart. Psalm 15: 1-2 (NIV)

That’s the Psalm that greeted me today.

After I finished all of the readings, my eye was drawn back to this Psalm. That’s because I also read the following in Matthew:

…Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.

And Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.”  Matthew 17: 1-4 (ESV)

Moses met God up on a high and holy mountain before, in Exodus 33:19-20. But at that time, he was prohibited from seeing God’s face or else he would die.

In his book on Mark, King’s Cross (I mentioned this book a blog or so back), Tim Keller suggests that Peter offered to build tents for Jesus and friends because he was afraid of seeing God’s face.

After all, the tabernacle was instituted as a way for man to meet with God safely. And Peter wanted to protect himself!

I thought the coincidence of the Psalm and Matthew passages mentioning mountain and tent was cool. Or was it providence?

The Shining Face

For some reason, when I read the phrase about Jesus — that “his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light” — I got a little knot lump in my throat (mixing metaphors when posting late at night!).

I think these words moved me because they reminded me of a passage I love. So I checked it out. And here it is (we read part of this at our wedding):

I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.  And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place [His tent!] is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

One of the seven angels … came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”  And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

I did not see a temple [a tent!] in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. (Revelation 21:1-4, 9-10, 22-23)

Maybe Peter, James and John glimpsed the New Jerusalem – a holy mountain that needs no tabernacle/temple/tent because God dwells among men there.

The One who pleased God (as God said at the Transfiguration), who’s walk was blameless, who was righteous, and who spoke truth (Psalm 15) came down off of the holy mountain for us.

He set up his tent among us (John 1:14 – he “tabernacled” among us), then he died for us. Because of his righteous life and substitutionary death, we can now see God’s face without fear.

And one day, after Jesus wipes away every tear, we will have the incalculable blessing of gazing for eternity on the face that shines like the sun.

Readings: Exodus 1:1-2:25, Psalm 15:1-5, Proverbs 4:25-27 , Matthew 17:1-27. See About for what I’m up to with these daily posts.


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