by Tad Lindley
I was deep undercover, 30 year old hoodie, sunglasses, and COVID mask. Nobody could recognize me. That’s how I wanted it. I had tested negative, but I was still on contact trace quarantine and it was Election Day and I wanted to vote. Unlike the state of California, I do not trust the system unless I put the vote in the machine myself. People couldn’t recognize me. Even when I talked to them. Not until I pulled my mask down for an instant was I recognizable.
Moses saw God
How about you, did you ever run into somebody and all you could see was their eyes and you couldn’t figure out who they were? Well, in the Old Testament the Lord had his mask on. Remember when he told Moses, “You cannot see My face; for no man shall see Me, and live.” (Exodus 33:20 NKJV) So God devised a plan so that Moses could see him: it shall be, while My glory passes by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock, and will cover you with My hand while I pass by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back; but My face shall not be seen.” (Exodus 33:22-23 NKJV)
God’s mask finally comes off
The mask came off in Bethlehem when Mary gave birth to Jesus. God was manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16). John described it like this, The Word became flesh and dwelt among them… (John 1:14). The problem is, since nobody had seen God’s face, they did not recognize him for who he was: He was in the world and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. (John 1:10)
Philip didn’t realize the mask was already off!
Even the disciples struggled to recognize him. Look at this: Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.” Jesus said to him, “Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (John 14:8-9) Every time I read this I get a kick out of it. “Philip you want to see the Father? You’re looking at him!”
OT on, NT off
In the Old Testament, God was concealed, in the New Testament he is revealed; the mask comes off! Look at these scriptures:
Mask on: At the burning bush God told Moses, I AM THAT I AM (Exodus 3:14)
Mask off: Then Jesus told the Pharisees, Verily, verily I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM (John 8:58) The reason they picked up stones to kill him in the very next verse, is that they understood Jesus to be telling them, “Remember the burning bush (pulls mask down), that was me!”
Mask on: In the OT, Moses sang about the rock that was always with them,
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He. (Deuteronomy 32:4 NKJV)
Mask off: In the NT, the Rock is unmasked, and guess who’s behind the mask: and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ. (I Corinthians 10:4 NKJV) The Rock was Jesus!
Mask on: From behind the mask, he told Isaiah, I am the first and I am the last, and beside me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6)
Mask off: But at the end of the book, John sees him with his mask off and it’s the same voice and the same words, and it is Jesus saying, Fear not, I am the first and the last. (Revelation 1:17)
Mask on: In the beginning the great God of the Old Testament created the heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form and void… (Genesis 1:1)
Mask off: In the New Testament we find that the one in the beginning was no other than Jesus Christ. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. (John 1:3,10)
When God takes off his mask, we see Jesus!
If you’ve ever wondered what God would look like if we could see beyond the mask of his unseen greatness, read the book and you will see that the face of Jesus Christ is actually the face of God. God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets [when he was masked], has in these last days spoken to us by His Son [unmasked, in the flesh], whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1-3) When the mask comes down, we see Jesus!
Tad Lindley is a minister at the Bethel United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.