3:16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.
The veil. What veil? Read the gospel of John. Read it again and again. Did you see it? See what you ask. All of it. Did you see how Jesus talked about blindness so many times? Did you hear Him tell Nicodemus "Unless you are born again you will never see the kingdom of God"? Nicodemus the Jewish ruler and rabbi. Nicodemus who was supposed to help others see was himself blind. His eyes were veiled. But veiled by what?
Matthew tells us when Jesus died the massive veil separation the two innermost rooms of the temple was torn from top to bottom. The most conservative estimates put the veil at 60 feet high and 4 inches (10cm) thick. Why? To expose something that had been true all along. To open to the Jews and the world the full extent of the Story that heaven had been trying to communicate to earth all along - the Lamb was/is Jesus. To expose to the universe the radical boundlessness of the love of God and His willingness to rescue us at any cost to Himself.
Time and space prevents me today from unpackaging all of that from the rich symbolism of the Ark of His Testimony. That golden box which was the main feature in the movie Raiders of the Lost Ark, was the only thing in the innermost room of the temple. However since we're in 2 Corinthians we need to track with Paul. If you want more info on the temple and the ark let me know. For now Paul has a singular point. Some live with a veil over their eyes while others can see and the only difference between the two is Jesus.
One day Jesus healed a blind man (one of several during His ministry). You can read about it in Mark 8. What makes that miracle unique is that it happened in two stages. The first time Jesus touched his eyes and he began to see, sort of. He told Jesus that the people looked like trees. His vision was blurry and undefined. Bodies looked like tree trunks. Jesus touched his eyes a second time and then he could see perfectly. Why? Did Jesus make a mistake? Was there not enough juice in His miracle fingers the first time?
Hardly. Everything Jesus did was calculated. He was making a simple point. Sometimes the veil doesn't just vanish. Sometimes (maybe all the time) we regain our vision in increments. We learn to see as He sees in stages. Think about it. The disciples first saw Jesus as a good teacher, a good rabbi. Then they began to see Him as more although they weren't sure how much more. Could He be a prophet perhaps, even the long awaited Messiah? Then eventually they saw Him for who He really was, the Son of God.
The veil comes off differently for each of us, that's why I believe Jesus never cured physical blindness the same way twice. Paul says this miracle of shedding the veil is a result of seeking after Jesus, and everywhere He is at work there is liberty, freedom, a breaking of every chain and a release from blindness in all its forms. Are you catching this? Do you see how good this news is?!! The more we see of Him the more we become like Him. The more we become like Him the more we see. It's an endless miracle of Him setting us free.
Freedom. We'll talk more about that tomorrow...