A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Lifting the Veil: A Lectionary Reflection on 2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2

2 Corinthians 3:12-4:2

Moses encounters the presence of God as he receives the Law and his face shines as it reflects the glory of God. It shines so brightly that he must put on a veil when he is in front of the people. They cannot bear to see his face in all of its radiance (Exodus 34:29-35). In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul contrasts the partially radiant Moses with the fully radiant Jesus, the forward gaze of what Scripture incompletely pointed to with the now in-focus christological lens.  William Loader writes,

Just as they could not really see God's glow on Moses then, so they still cannot see God's glow in Paul's own time when they hear Moses read. The person who carries the permanent and visible glow of God is Jesus according to Paul. When you look at Jesus, the veil falls away. You can then really see what the scriptures are about and you can really see God's glory, because it is permanently shining in the person of Jesus. Playing with the detail that Moses removed the veil when he went back to speak to Yahweh, Paul implies that when you turn to the Lord Jesus, you get an unobscured view of God.
Paul encourages his readers to stay with him and not be led astray by those who are undermining his ministry. He insists that his opponents understand the Scripture as vaguely as the people could see Moses' veiled face. It it not Moses, but Jesus who lifts the veil covering God's Word and what it means. The "super apostles," as Paul disparagingly refers to them, would place the veil of the Corinthians back in place undoing the transformative work of Christ.

And Jesus does indeed transform. It is a work of the Spirit. Paul has been accused of deceiving the Corinthians, but his conscience is clear. What Paul has preached is public and open. Nothing is being said in secret.

Our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ must reflect in all clarity the image of Jesus Christ. As people look at us they need to see Jesus in us.

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