Jn.5:35 – He was the burning and shining lamp, and you were willing for a time to rejoice in his light.
Jesus had a way of boiling complex theological concepts down into ways even children could get them. He would say things like “give and it shall be given” or “seek and you shall find” or “knock and the door will be opened”. That’s what today’s scripture is like. He described John the Baptist as a burning and shining light. What He was describing in John is a glimpse into how God communicates with all of us. John was burning, a heart on fire for the kingdom of God. He was also shining, he had revelation of Christ that no one else before him had. So God speaks to us today in those two ways. He touches our hearts with His love and He opens our mind with spiritual understanding. This is what Belden Lane was getting at in his comments from his book ‘Ravished by Beauty’.
“One of the difficult issues in the interpretation of Edwards’s thought has been how this new “spiritual sense” should be understood. Some have viewed it as offering a virtual “sixth sense” by which the believer is equipped to perceive a spiritual reality altogether unavailable to non-believers. Others have understood it as providing a heightened and more integrated capacity to perceive reality through ordinary channels of sense experience. Actually both are involved, as Edwards tried to argue for two deeply held interests—the distinctively Christian experience of God as a graced reality and the importance of ordinary sense experience in grasping the way creation mirrors God’s presence. The Northampton theologian continually sought to integrate mind and heart in an apprehension of God’s beauty and the earth’s wonder. In his understanding, God’s “common grace” allows ordinary human beings to perceive something of the beauty and sweetness of God’s presence in the world. But a “new spiritual sense” is required for seeing the world in all of its mystery.”
That’s exactly how creation functions. Our hearts are captured with the beauty of a flower or the curiosity of a cat. We see human or even God like qualities in all of His creatures, from the boldness of a horse to the loyalty of a dog. All of our hearts have been touched by one of His creatures at some point. We also see the creativity and the genius of the Lord in His handiwork. The creativity of fingers and noses, or lips and ears are hard to ignore. His creative genius is on display all around us.
We can open our heart to Him in the written word, in worship, or in observing His creation. All of these tools of divine communication can set our hearts to burning and shining just like the prophet John.