Today's Reading: Exodus 33:12-23
But [the Lord] said, "You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live." (Exodus 33:20)
In the Name of Jesus. Amen. When there is an eclipse of the sun, kids want to look up at the sun to see it for themselves. Parents and teachers know better than to let them, and so they use a filtered telescope or a piece of paper with a slit in it. You can't look at the sun without hurting your eyes! When Moses desires to see the Lord, God puts him in a cleft of the rock and only lets him see His back. You can't look at the Lord in all of His holiness and survive. You'd be burned to cinders, vaporized. That's what happens when sinners look at the Lord in all His majesty.
So the Lord comes to us in flesh and looks like one of us. True God and yet, true man at the same time. When the Son of God comes to us in the flesh, He is coming to us in a way we can see without being vaporized by His glory. The Epiphany season is all about our Lord revealing Himself to us without killing us. Instead, He comes to us in a way in which His glory is hidden. We can't see it. And instead of acting as if he can vaporize people, He comes with His glory hidden to do the unthinkable: to suffer and die. Jesus felt the wrath of God against our sins and He died. Jesus stands between the glory of God's holiness and the darkness and flammability of our sin.
In the waters of Baptism, and in the body and blood of Jesus, He has given us a place to stand in which we can see God's holiness. Just as the Lord put Moses in a cut out piece of the rock so that he would be safe when the Lord passed by, so Jesus is our “cleft rock” in which we stand before the Father and are not blotted out by His holiness. In Jesus, we can look upon the face of God and not be harmed. That's because in Jesus our sins are gone and, as His own children, we can look upon our Lord no longer in terror, but in joy and praise. In the Name of Jesus. Amen.
Rock of Ages, cleft for me, Let me hide myself in Thee; Let the water and the blood, From Thy riven side which flowed, Be of sin the double cure: Cleanse me from its guilt and power. (LSB 761:1)
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