O LORD, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth! Your glory is higher than the heavens. You have taught children and nursing infants to give you praise. They silence your enemies who were seeking revenge. When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers — the moon and the stars you have set in place — what are mortals that you should think of us, mere humans that you should care for us? For you made us only a little lower than the angels and you crowned us with glory and honor. You put us in charge of everything you made, giving us authority over all things — the sheep and the cattle and all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. O LORD, our Lord, the majesty of your name fills the earth! (Psalm 8:1-9)
Did you see Venus' transit across the Sun last week? It is one of those seldom seen celestial events that catches the attention of stargazers across the world. Unlike a solar eclipse where the moon's placement can temporarily cover most of our view of the sun, Venus' transit is a more modest event. For about an hour, a small round dot crosses the face of the sun. At first glance (Of course no one can really glance or look directly at the Sun without eye protection!), the transit witness is not sure he or she is really seeing anything at all. The size of Venus outline by the background of the blazing sun is tiny. However, the steady progress of Venus across the face of the sun confirms that we are not imagining the dark speck's presence. Instead, Venus' place in our solar system is revealed. It is a small presence, dwarfed in size and significance by the Sun's blazing light.
James reminds us that our lives are much like the Venus transit. They're short-lived and soon gone: "For your life is like the morning fog — it's here a little while, then it's gone." (James 4:14 NLT) That doesn't mean it is insignificant: just brief and in many ways beyond our control! It is defined, like the morning fog and the Venus transit, by some other greater power. For Venus and the morning fog, that significance is defined by the Sun's blazing power. A life is defined by the power of the Son.
The Holy Spirit tells us that the Son is God's ultimate message. Not only that, his glory shines with the glory of God. The universe finds its meaning, purpose, and design in him. Yet he chose to re-define the meaning and purpose of our lives by sharing his light and giving his life to cleanse us and make us right for the glory we will some day share with him. Until that day, he lives in glory to help us in our transit through this life and save it from insignificance and death.
Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. But now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. God promised everything to the Son as an inheritance, and through the Son he made the universe and everything in it. The Son reflects God's own glory, and everything about him represents God exactly. He sustains the universe by the mighty power of his command. After he died to cleanse us from the stain of sin, he sat down in the place of honor at the right hand of the majestic God of heaven. ... Because God's children are human beings — made of flesh and blood — Jesus also became flesh and blood by being born in human form. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death. Only in this way could he deliver those who have lived all their lives as slaves to the fear of dying. ... Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save everyone who comes to God through him. He lives forever to plead with God on their behalf. (Hebrews 1:1-3; 2:14-15, 18; 7:25 NLT)