Oh the Radiance!
“And when in time to come your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ you shall say to him, ‘By a strong hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, from the house of slavery.’”
As the long years in the wilderness rolled along, and as the novelty of this serene and holy sacrament wore off, I have no doubt that nearly all the Israelites continued to ask the same question given here in Exodus 13:14: “What does this mean?” For some, the question was an expression of a yearning to go deeper into the mystery of Providence, a desire to understand the ways of the Lord. For others, however, it was just a way of complaining, a cynical cry of “What’s the point?” in hopes to close the book on the mystery for good.
Friend, if we understand that the face of a transcendent God is behind the shadowy vail of life in this fallen world, just as He is the Light behind this shadowy Passover sacrament, shouldn’t that stir us on to ask with deeper ambition than ever before, “What does it mean?” Doesn’t God’s vow that those who seek Him with all their hearts will find Him increase the stamina in your eyes as they peer through the present darkness? Remember: our eyes are still becoming accustomed to the Light. Our vision isn’t fully sanctified yet. So each symbol God gives us is a gift; each sacrament, no matter how shadowy it first appears, is an invitation into the holy of holies. Every time we pick up a commentary from an Augustine or a Pink or a Spurgeon, every time we join a weekly bible study group and listen to fellow believer share personal insight, every time we read simple reflections that perhaps we hadn’t thought of ourselves, the fog lifts a little more and we see glimmers of Heaven’s radiance like never before.
And just think: a thousand years from now, if the Lord hasn’t returned by then, pilgrims will still be asking the question in their own wandering, even if they have a towering beacon of commentaries and sermons and devotionals to light their way. Because Christ is the everlasting Light behind all biblical shadows—and His light has no bounds.