Many years ago, my family took a trip to Colorado. It was a great vacation, but ironically what I remember most about it is the drive out there. It was long. And flat. And painfully monotonous. A kid can only stare at the plains of Kansas for so long before he loses interest.
But somewhere along the way, the boredom was interrupted by a subtle vision of something ahead on the horizon. At first, it looked like a distant bank of clouds. But as we got closer and it slowly came into view, it became clear that the object stretched out on the horizon was in fact the very earth itself. And not just any part of the earth. It was the great and mighty Rocky Mountain Range!
From then on, the drive took on a whole new feel. The ground around us may have been flat (and unexciting) as a board, but that no longer mattered. Our eyes were fixed up ahead as that impressive line of mountains off in the distance grew larger. And larger. And larger. Until finally we found ourselves no longer looking ahead at the Rockies but looking around at the Rockies. What once appeared to be a hardly-noticeable disturbance on the horizon was now a many-peaked giant, towering above us in all of its colossal splendor. We had arrived in the heart of the mountains.
In the opening chapter of his Gospel, John wrote of the incarnation of Christ, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John wasn’t being dramatic. He literally saw this. With his own two eyes, he witnessed the glory of the only Son. The grace and truth he speaks of were perfectly embodied in front of him in the person of Jesus, his teacher, friend, and savior.
But for generations before him, the things that John saw up close and personal could only be glimpsed from a distance. The people that lived before the birth of Christ did not have the privilege of seeing the Word made flesh. The grace-and-truth-filled glory which John witnessed was not yet available to them. Their eyes never had the privilege of resting upon God in human form, walking among them and accomplishing their eternal salvation.
Yet despite this fact, the Old Testament believers were not left without foretastes of this tremendous sight. Like a boy straining his eyes to see the Rocky Mountains on the horizon, the people of God were able to cast their gaze forward and see a distant picture of the coming salvation.
How did they do this? Not by some mystical or superstitious trance, but by simply taking up the Old Testament and reading it. Right there in the Scripture, they were able to find wonderful glimpses of the grace that was to come.
Beginning this Sunday, we’re going to enjoy some of those glimpses together as a church. From now until Christmas, we’ll be walking through a short sermon series together called, “Glimpses of Grace: Seeing the Savior in the Psalms.” The book of Psalms was the hymnal of the Old Testament, and it’s full of foretastes of the glory that John would one day write about. By focusing on just a few examples, I think we’ll be able to have our appreciation of Christ’s arrival enhanced.
If you want to call this a Christmas series, you’re welcome to. But really it’s much more than that. This is a celebration of God’s sovereign, eternal plan to bring salvation to his people. So join us at 10:30 each Sunday as we study these grace-glimpsing Psalms. And consider inviting a non-Christian friend or neighbor, as well. I look forward to worshiping Jesus along with you!