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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Scope this one out!

Today, I want us to look at three different "scopes" - a telescope, a microscope, and a horoscope.  Each has a purpose in this world, unique in its revelation power.  Many scientists understand the purpose and function of the microscope - while the astronomer has a vast knowledge of the world of the telescope.  The man or woman without much hope, grasping for something by which to "predict" their day's outcome might turn to the horoscope.  I did a word search to find out how many words in the English language contain the word "scope".  I was surprised to find 108 words!  Some are for medical purposes, others for the discovery of movement, still others for the purpose of focusing on distance.  There are scopes to predict the presence of electrical current, to explore hidden spaces, or to predict the changes of temperature.  What became very evident is that mankind has developed a whole lot of ways of "discovering" stuff once hidden or not easily understood!

You don’t need a telescope, a microscope, or a horoscope to realize the fullness of Christ, and the emptiness of the universe without him.  (Colossians 2:9 MSG)

Paul tells the Colossian believers:  Everything of God gets expressed in him, so you can see and hear him clearly.  God is "into" mankind getting to see and hear him clearly.  The image we have of God is made complete in beholding his Son - Jesus.  All of God is expressed in the life of Jesus - a living, breathing example of the one true God.  I think God knows we do better in our "discovery" of what was hidden when we "see" the something which was previously hidden.  What Paul goes on to say is we don't need the telescope, nor the microscope, and certainly not the horoscope to recognize the fullness of Christ and the utter emptiness of everything without him.

Let that one sink in a little.  As we look at the purpose of these three "instruments" of "revelation", maybe we will get to understand just how much Paul was saying.  First, the telescope.  The telescope is made for the eye.  It is an "optical" instrument.  With it, distant objects appear larger - and by appearing larger, they have an appearance of being "nearer" to us.  An astronomer will be quick to point out the two basic types of telescopes:  refracting and reflecting.  The refracting telescope has an eyepiece and a lens in a long tube of sorts.  It is the simplest form of telescopes - allowing us to view the object as nearer by adjusting the series of lenses to bring the object into focus.  The reflecting telescope is a little different because it has a mirror which gathers light from the object it is pointed toward.  As the lenses are adjusted the object's light being reflected allows the object to appear larger and ultimately nearer.  Paul says we don't need a telescope to understand God.  Why?  Maybe because the Son of God, made flesh, is able to do both the "refracting" and "reflecting" of God the Father, so we see him clearer and feel him nearer!   

The microscope is also an "optical" instrument - made again for the eye.  Paul uses two examples of "optical" instruments - why?  Maybe because the "discovery" of so much which was once hidden to us is made through the eyes.  There is much perception with the eyes!  What does the microscope allow us to do?  Isn't it for the purpose of discovering things way to small for us to see with our naked eye?  Without the combination of lenses, we could not see clearly what is before us.  Yet, it was through the "discovery" of these microscopic things humankind began to understand the mystery of things which actually harm us and keep us from developing as we should.  It is through the use of the microscope we find the cure for disease, the hope for a new life free of certain debilitating processes.  In considering this, I just have to wonder how many times looking at our life through the eyes of Jesus has brought us to the discovery of things we thought too insignificant to focus upon, but by which we were being slowly destroyed!  

The horoscope is really not a "scope".  Those into the "alignment of the planets" will use them to "predict" the outcome of some event, or the "predicting" of future events.  Now, don't for a moment believe that I am endorsing the practice of astrological predictions!  I don't read these and I know scripture clearly warns against putting belief into the "reading of the charts".  Here's what I know - God controls the planets, the stars, the moons. He "aligns" all as he orders.  Why would I need to study them when I have access to the one who created them all in the first place?  I can have the revelation of all things through him - I don't need a "predictor" of my future from some "chart"!  I have the predictor of my future in having invited Christ to be the Lord of my life!  I think Paul knows human nature is to seek answers wherever they "appear" to be available - but God gives us all the sources of answers we need in his Word, through his Holy Spirit, and in applying the teachings of both into our daily lives.

Now, the crux of the passage is this:  Everything else we use to "discover" hidden secrets, or the unknown, is empty compared to the "revelation" which comes directly from the one whose sole purpose is to both reflect and refract the light of heaven into our dark souls.  The "discovery" of Jesus - the Son of God made flesh - is the only "discovery tool" we really need!  Just sayin!