Every time I visited my grandfather in the senior apartments when I was a child, I’d have to find things to play with. He had a candy jar full of coins, thousands of toothpicks taken from various restaurants, and other things I thought strange.
But my favorite thing he owned was a magnifying glass. Now this wasn’t a cheap toy that you got from the local dentist’s prize box. This was the real deal. It was thick, heavy, and worked remarkably well.
I’d take this magnifying glass and do experiments with with it. I tried to burn some ants and bored some holes in leaves. But it also opened up a portal into a microscopic world, and I’d marvel at the details of tiny things.
The concept of magnification is found in the Bible too. In Philippians 1:20, Paul writes that “according to my earnest expectation and hope that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ will be magnified in my body, whether by life or by death” (NKJV). Paul’s hope was that whether he lived or died, Christ would be honored. That was his life goal.
But what does it mean to magnify Christ? Well, when do you need to magnify something? When it’s too small to see.
When Jesus is too small to see in our lives, we need to magnify him to see Him in greater detail. And so I need to make Christ big and lift him up. I need to exalt and show everyone how much I elevate him, as I would use a magnifying glass to look at an ant and see its intricate details and beauty.
But there’s another element I miss: Christ is already of immense magnitude. He is already exalted by God. He is elevated, sitting at His right hand. He is of the highest honor and respect and awe. He’s glorious. He’s huge. He’s no ant. In Psalm 95:4 it says of God, “In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also.”
In other words, we don’t just magnify Christ because He is too small to see. We magnify him so we see him in for who he really is. And so, we are also called to view Him using a different lens: we need to use a telescope.
To us, Jesus can seem like a tiny, distant star that is far, far away. But a star is actually enormous in size and weight, dwarfing our planet. For example, the star VY Canis Majoris can fit almost 3 quadrillion earths!
We need to magnify Him, not because He is small, but because in our limited, puny, sin-filled vision, we forget how truly awesome he is.
Our Christ has no need to be magnified. He is already enormous. The magnification is something we need, because we’ve grown distant from the reality that is His greatness.
It is such a comfort to know that this very big Christ is the very same Christ who died for me, who promised to never leave nor forsake me, and who is my shepherd through the Valley of Death. Colossians 1:27 says that Christ is IN me. Let us magnify Christ, so that he is not only seen in our lives, but that we see him for the greatness that he truly is.
Nathan Kwak is a youth pastor at Good Stewards Church.