Right now, Jesus’ face is “like the sun shining in full strength.”

Dear Friend,

Right now, Jesus’ face is “like the sun shining in full strength.” (Revelation 1:16) Someday, Jesus says, you too “will shine like the sun.” (Matthew 13:43). And that’s why I send this message. That’s why I preach and teach. Sowing the seeds of the gospel expresses my hope to see you shining with Christ in the garden city of the new creation.

When the prophet Jeremiah wanted to express his hope in God, he bought a field in Anathoth. At that time, King Zedekiah had confined Jeremiah to prison because the prophet preached—rightly it turned out—that soon Babylon would unleash sword, famine and pestilence against God’s people and exile them from their land. But trusting that nothing was too hard for God, Jeremiah bought a field to express his hope that God would restore his people to the land, which also turned out to be the truth. (Jeremiah 32)

As I prepare to preach from Jeremiah, I wonder how I can express my hope. Buying a field does not seem to fit, but sowing seeds for Christ and new creation does. So I get to preach on Sunday; I get to teach Catechism tonight, and I get to send this message to you right now. And you can join in sowing seeds with the same hope for a glorious harvest. You can listen to Jesus (Matthew 17:5), and you can teach others what Jesus teaches you. (Matthew 28:20) We can do this together until everyone knows the Lord, “from the least of them to the greatest.” (Jeremiah 31:34)

Through Jeremiah, the Lord says all people will know him because “I will forgive their iniquity and remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34) My best teachers have embodied forgiveness, and that seems like good seed to sow. The Apostle Paul “formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted,” (1st Timothy 1:13), but when he received mercy, he reflected the God “who has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2nd Corinthians 4:6) Cracked, earthen, and forgiven vessels that we are, the light of Christ can shine through us.

Love,
Joel