I can remember getting a magnifying glass as a kid, going out in the warm Southern California sun, and burning up a group of ants as they marched along the sidewalk. I was awestruck by the way the magnifying glass worked – taking light rays in, refracting them so that they all converge as they exit, and in so doing making objects on the other end look bigger than they actually were. The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that every human heart comes with a magnifying glass attached to it.
Here’s what I mean by that… we were made to magnify. We are designed to gaze upon things that enlarge them to the point where they consume and direct our lives. Now, this is part of God’s good design for us because we were made to magnify him. Just like Adam and Eve in the garden, we are wired for worship. We are created to magnify God and in so doing, eat from the tree of life. However, in our sin, we turn the magnifying glass on other things. The Scriptures refer to this as idolatry. John Calvin famously stated, “the human heart is a factory of idols.” Every heart has a magnifying glass.
For many of us, we magnify ourselves and enlarge our own lives. This shows itself in pride, arrogance, the pursuit of pleasure, or obsession with monetary gain. However, in Acts 19 we see the church magnifying someone else. After a demon spirit beat up a group of people (you should probably go read Acts 19:11-16!), listen to the way the people responded in Acts 19:17, “This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified.” Their first response was fear, but their second reaction was to magnify Jesus.
I love the picture of the people being in fear and pointing their magnifying glass toward the Son of God. To magnify Jesus means to lift him up, to enlarge him; not to literally make him bigger (that would be impossible), but to make him larger in our sight. In order to do that the Ephesians had to get their eyes off of other things. They had to confess their sin and divulge their evil practices (Acts 19:18). That’s the other side of magnifying something, you have to minimize other things. That’s why magnifying Jesus is challenging for many of us.
Today, Jesus is inviting us to magnify him and to bow in worship. He’s calling us to have a unified affection for him that’s not split between him and other gods. He’s challenging us to take our fears and bring them to his throne confessing our wrongs and receiving his forgiveness. Read Colossians 1:15-20, pick out a few lines, and use them as a prayer to magnify Jesus.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him, all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.
Pastor Ryan Paulson