In July 2010, Paul Crowther, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Sheffield’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, announced he and his research team had discovered the brightest star in the universe. The mass of the star is roughly 265 times that of our sun. But that’s nothing. The brightness of this star is some 10 million times brighter than the light of our sun! Not even a welder’s helmet would help you face the light from this giant!
Think about it: The star, currently named R136a1, is not two times brighter than our sun. It is not ten times brighter. It is not a hundred times brighter, or a thousand times brighter. It is not a million times brighter! This newly identified star is ten million times brighter than our sun! How can anything be that bright?
Just as it is difficult for us to comprehend such a bright star, it is infinitely more difficult for us to wrap our minds around the brightness of God’s glory. Paul, in his letter to Timothy described the presence of God as an “unapproachable light.” (1Timothy 6:16) Nothing in our human experience compares to this kind of light. Its brightness is truly unequaled.
Long before the University of Sheffield research team made its historic discovery, the star had been giving off its incredible light for centuries. God placed this star exactly where it is at the beginning of creation. Look how long it took for us to see something so bright and so wonderful in our own universe.
Similarly, God’s matchless glory has been shining in the world since the beginning of time. (Romans 1:20) How many of us miss the light of the Son in our lives, when He is right there, as bright as can be?
Fortunately, we don’t need an elaborate telescope or a team of scientists to discover God’s glory. All we need is to spend time in His Word. There, we can find Him. In His Word, we can see the brightness of His glory in the face of His Son. “For God, who said, ‘Let the light shine out of darkness, has made His light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:6)
God chose to reveal His unsurpassable glory in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. John’s Gospel introduces Jesus as the “true light, and the light that enlightens every man coming into the world,” (John 1:9). As a personal testimony, the Apostle John said, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory as the glory of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14).
God, through the coming of His Son, broke into our darkness with the unsurpassable brightness of His glory. The reality is many have not yet discovered the light of God’s presence. How is that possible? Why can’t everyone see it clearly?
Here’s the answer Paul gave to that very question, “But if our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2 Corinthians 4:4 KJV)
The truth is, this unparalleled light of the glory of God is always present in our world. Millions of people however, do not see it, and will not see it, until, by God’s grace; the Gospel enters their hearts and dispels the darkness.
For this reason our message must be clear: “We preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord.” (2 Cor. 4:5). Our lives must be beyond reproach: “Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe.” (Philippians 2:15) And, our mission must be compelling: “As the Father has sent Me, so send I you.” (John 20:21)
Larry DoyleNote: The idea for this article came from Steve Doyle – The Harbins Post, September 15, 2011. The information about the discovery of the star, R136a1, comes from Michael Sheridan, “Scientists find what may be universe’s heaviest star, R136a1,” New York Daily News (7-21-10).