The sky was divided almost exactly in half. The west was black and heavy with clouds and driving rain. The eastern half was clear, with a brilliant full moon, recently risen. As I drove home, I enjoyed the light of the moon, made brighter by the gloom to the west. Emerging from the trees that hedged the highway on the west side, I was astonished at the scene that filled my view. In full arching splendor, I saw a rainbow, in shades of silver, etched against the blackness. In all my years of night driving, conditions had never before been so perfectly aligned to show me this glimpse of God's glory. The moon was below forty two degrees above the horizon, necessary for a rainbow, and bright enough to give adequate light to be broken by the prismatic action of the raindrops. The background was dark, so the silvery bow showed quite clearly. I pulled onto the shoulder of the highway, got out or the car, and gawked wide-eyed at a scene words cannot convey.
How like our glorious God to reveal suddenly things that transcend our poor capacity to communicate as He teaches us of His character, of all He is, of His will and purpose. When He does, and we perceive what He reveals, it is memorable, indelibly etched in us. Then, over time, as we abide in His word, His Spirit within relates the truth of the word to the bit of creation that illustrates it.
The moon has no radiance of its own. It can only reflect the glory of the sun. It reveals the reality of the sun's existence in the darkness of the night. In the Lord's prayer in John 17:20, our Lord reveals the reason we, as believers are here in this dark world. He prays, “As Thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” This is a key statement for us. “As Thou hast sent me...” In a similar way, for a similar purpose. That purpose was revealed earlier in the prayer, in verse six. “I have manifested thy name...” In verse four, “I have glorified thee on the earth...” Christ's presence here in this dark world was to reveal the character (name) of God, and to show His glory in a tangible form. Tangible. Touchable. Observable. John, in the introduction of his first epistle, underscores that quality of our Lord's earthly ministry. In 1 John 1:1, we read, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of Life...” The character of God was placed on display in the person of Jesus Christ. In John's gospel, we see the same reality expressed in John 1:14: “And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us. And we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” God's glory, visible, not only as a blinding light, but as a living demonstration of grace and truth in sandals, walking the dusty roads of time. In similar fashion, we, believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, are sent as ambassadors into the darkness of this world to be the avenues through which the Spirit of God reveals the character of Jesus Christ, the Light of the world. The Son revealed the Father so perfectly that Jesus said in John 14:9, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." According to Romans 8:29, God's plan for every believer is that each be conformed to the image of His Son. This is the work the Father has reserved for Himself, through the indwelling Spirit of God. (Phil 2:13). We are made light in the Son, but the light is His, not ours. We reflect that light, and in the gloom of this dark world, God's promise shines forth. It is God's glory that is the attractive beacon of hope, not the believer. As John, the Baptist stated in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
Indeed, it is only as self is effaced in the yielded response to the working of the Holy Spirit dwelling in the believer that that same Spirit will be able to reveal the reality of our Lord Jesus Christ in us to a needy, enslaved world. That night, the sun was not visible. But, the radiance of the full moon, reflecting the glory of the sun, splashed the bow of promise against the deepest darkness. As Christ, the Hope of Glory, is revealed in His gracious glory in the life of the yielded believer, some sinner, drawn by the Spirit, will ask the reason for the hope that abides within that child of God, and cry, “I want whatever it is that you have!”