And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. (2 Corinthians 3:18)
Throughout His earthly ministry, thousands of people looked at Jesus with their own two eyes. But few people looked long enough to actually see Him for who He truly is. Few beheld Him.
This is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in John’s gospel. One time, Jesus was speaking to a large crowd who had just witnessed Him perform a mind-blowing miracle with the meager contents of a little kid’s lunch basket (6:1-15). Suddenly, as He began to tell them that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood to have eternal life, the people became offended and walked away in droves (6:22-66).
In the end, an entire crowd of people looked at Jesus, but they didn’t have the Spiritual capacity to actually behold Him as Lord. They were blinded by their unbelief.
And then there’s John the Baptist. At one point, Jesus was walking down the street, and John saw Him a ways off and yelled, “Behold the Lamb!” (1:29).
Unlike the crowd, John didn’t just look at Jesus. He saw Him for who He truly is. And thus John cried out, “Behold!”—a cry of true worship.
Each Sunday morning, we have a choice—will we merely watch a worship service, or will we behold the exalted Christ? Will we try to actually see His glory in gathered worship?
Author Jared Wilson makes this clearer when he writes, “One of the subtle dangers of the way many Christians ‘do discipleship’ is that they are always somehow looking at Jesus, yet never really seeing him.”
Wilson continues, “Every day when you encounter God—in your devotional time, in your time of worship, in your community group or classes, or any other moment in which you spend time with Jesus—you face the choice of simply looking at Him or actually trying to see Him.”
The truth is, it’s easy to look around on a Sunday morning and shrug at the familiarity of church. In fact, that’s exactly what will happen if we’re not paying careful attention to what’s going on in our hearts. As a result, we’ll end up expecting very little out of gathered worship.
However, if we truly believe that the church’s gatherings are meant to be an encounter with the glory of Christ, we’ll realize that shrugging at it is an absurd thing to do. Why? Because Jesus is there! His presence is in our midst. His grace is pouring over our lives. His glory is filling our praises. And therefore we can expect a powerful encounter with Him!
But to cultivate this expectation, we have to, as one pastor put it, “Stare at the glory of God until you see it.” That’s what Sundays are for. Each week we gather to unglue our eyes from our puny, ridiculous idols long enough to retrain them to “behold the King in His beauty” (Isa. 33:17).
As a result, we ourselves will be transformed into the likeness of the God we’ve come to worship (2 Cor. 3:18, see above). Our lives will reflect His glory in our marriages, in our parenting, at our jobs, at our schools, in our neighborhoods, and so on.
Indeed, we worship Jesus together every Sunday so that we can become more like Him than we once were. So this Lord’s Day, let’s make sure we’re not just looking around. No, let’s make sure we’re longing to behold Christ in all His glory.
For further preparation for the Lord’s Day, read or study 2 Corinthians 3:7-18.
Set List for Sunday, August 20, 2017:
Here For You by Passion (M. Maher, M. Redman, J. Reeves, T. Wanstall)
Crowns by Hillsong Music (M. Fatkin, S. Groom, B. Hastings)
Jesus Paid It All by Passion (J.T. Grape, E. Hall, A. Nifong)
Cornerstone by Hillsong Worship (W. B. Bradbury, E. Liljero, R. Morgan, E. Mote, J. Myrin)
Our God by Chris Tomlin (J. Myrin, M. Redman, J. Reeves, C. Tomlin)
You can also listen to a playlist of LifePoint’s current song rotation on Spotify.