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The Inner Brightness

Mon­day. [I Cor. 5:9-6:11; Matt. 13:54-58] The Naz­a­renes did not be­lieve the word of the Lord, be­cause when He lived in a­mongst them, He had no at­trac­tive lus­tre or out­ward dig­ni­ty that would com­mand in­vol­un­tary re­spect from all. “We know who He is,” they said; “there can’t be any­thing ex­traor­di­nary a­bout Him.” Their re­ac­tion, how­ev­er, did not in­duce the Lord to as­sume an imposing ap­pear­ance. He re­main­ed ex­treme­ly sim­ple in ap­pear­ance; lat­er the A­pos­tles bore them­selves the same way, as did all of those who tru­ly fol­low­ed and em­u­lated them. Why is this so? Be­cause it is there is no man-made lus­tre that could ful­ly cor­re­spond to the light of life in Je­sus Christ. More­over, we rec­og­nize that it is bet­ter to rel­e­gate ex­ter­nal ap­pear­ance the lowest val­ue, so that it does not block what is with­in. Let him who has eyes to see look di­rect­ly at the lat­ter, with­out ar­rest­ing his at­ten­tion up­on the for­mer. The ho­ly A­pos­tle Paul ex­pressed it like this: We have this trea­sure in earth­en ves­sels (II Cor. 4:7). If we could see what was the out­ward ap­pear­ance of those per­sons whom we now re­vere and call up­on in prayer, we would not be­lieve our eyes — they were so sim­ple. But to this day, those who have come to know the life in Je­sus Christ aban­don care for their out­ward ap­pear­ance and turn ful­ly with­in. That is why the for­mer falls a­way on its own, but the lat­ter is raised up and grows. It of­ten hap­pens that no­bod­y even no­tices this in­ner bright­ness, not even the one who pos­sess­es it. The hu­man eye is evil; it is not shown what is tru­ly good, if this good can harm it.

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