The apostle is noted for using vivid imagery in his letters. He attempts to persuade his audience by employing metaphors to explain spiritual truths. In this passage he strongly emphasizes “seeing.” Because the veil is removed when we turn to the Lord, we can all see the glory of God in a way that was not possible before Christ. But how do we see this glory?
Paul says that sight comes “as though reflected in a mirror,” and when we look in a mirror, what do we see? We see ourselves. Not only do we behold God’s glory, but we can reflect it. As we grow in our faith, our image grows “from one degree of glory to another.” We more accurately reflect the divine image to those around us. This occurs not by our strength but by God’s grace, which gives us strength to carry on in difficult times.
The other image Paul uses is that of transformation. As we approach the commemoration of the Transfiguration of Jesus, we keep in mind that transformation and transfiguration bear close relationship. The apostles observe an amazing occurrence involving Jesus, and Paul says that each believer undergoes his or her own transformation as well. Just as three disciples bore witness to the Transfiguration of Jesus, those around us bear witness to our transformation as we grow. Can others see this? What about our neighbors? our children? the server in our favorite coffee shop? May we never “lose heart,” knowing that our lives direct others toward Christ as Christ continues to transform us.
Lord, by your grace help me vividly reflect your glory to all those around me and make me a mirror that shines more and more brightly. Amen.