Imagination; March 25, 2021


Matthew 17:2-3 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.

This frankly reads like something from a science fiction novel. However, many believe it is the fulfillment of what Jesus said in the last verse of the previous chapter: “I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28) Jesus was experiencing the paradox of being outside of time, as part of the Godhead, but yet being in the flow of time as the fully human Son. Frankly, that’s something we can talk about but we can’t fully grasp, any more than physicists can fully grasp the multitude of dimensions they insist existed at the moment of Creation. Even when we create words to explain the idea, because we’ve never been there we don’t know what we’re talking about. Here, Peter, James, and John were given a glimpse of Christ as the King, which is to say, in His kingdom. It naturally blew them away, and I would imagine they had to compartmentalize it in their memory until after the Resurrection, when Jesus told them they could talk about it. And talk about it they did, because Matthew, who wrote this passage, was not one of those present. John was later given another glimpse of Jesus in His glory on the island of Patmos, and it was enough to make him pass out! (Revelation 1:17) We look at things through a human, temporal filter, and that filter can be very dense at times. Just because we can’t see something doesn’t mean it’s not there, and very real. There is a pitched spiritual battle raging in the world today, and it is actually a mercy that we can’t see most of it! At the same time, we can understand, with Paul, that “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.” (1 Corinthians 13:12) Not seeing or knowing fully now gives us the opportunity to grow in faith, and that’s a very good thing.

I had never thought of my fondness for science fiction as being an aid to spiritual understanding, but God can use anything! I have long thought that our imaginations were one of the ways that we were created to be like God. (Genesis 1:27) Like everything else good, the devil does all he can to warp, distort, and abuse our imaginations, so we do need to be on our guard. We need to remember that our enemy can present himself as an angel of light! (2 Corinthians 11:14) If we aren’t careful, our imaginations can lead us into all sorts of sins, as we act out what we have imagined. (James 1:14-15) However, sanctified imaginations can lead us into visions of what God has planned for us, and many other things our normal senses couldn’t tell us. I have been blessed with a good imagination, perhaps honed by the fiction I have read, but I need to keep it submitted to my Lord, not letting it be abused by the enemy, so that I may walk in holiness and purity, fully available for whatever God desires of me.

Father, thank You for this Word. It wasn’t expected, but then, I can hardly predict You! Help me indeed use my imagination, and everything else You place in my hands, as You intend, for Your glory alone. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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