I was not prepared to open up my Bible and be so incredible moved, and blessed, in such a tangible way, by Revelation 21:18. But I was. I was so overwhelmed by God, by His God-ness, that I sat weeping, heaving great big sobs of awe, I guess it was. All because of jasper.
Eugene Peterson, in The Message, translates Revelation 21:18 this way, “The Angel speaking with me had a gold measuring stick to measure the City, its gates, and its wall. The City was laid out in a perfect square. He measured the City with the measuring stick; twelve thousand stadia, its length, width, and height all equal. Using the standard measure, the Angel measured the thickness of its wall: 144 cubits. The wall was jasper, the color of Glory, and the City was pure gold, translucent as glass.”
It hit me with such power, such force, oh my goodness. Jasper is the color of Glory. I was overwhelmed by His Glory, just by the thought of His Glory!
Jasper. I want to be surrounded by jasper. I want my walls the color of jasper. But, I didn’t know what the color of jasper was. So, I looked on Microsoft, Encarta, and read what it says:
Jasper (mineral), opaque, cryptocrystalline variety of quartz. The mineral takes a high polish and is used as a gemstone. It is usually stained by impurities and occurs in various colors, such as red, green, yellow, and blue. Inclusions of red jasper occur in heliotrope (see Bloodstone).
The jasper mentioned in the Bible as one of the stones in the breastplate of the high priest (see Exodus 28:20) and as the foundation of the wall of the New Jerusalem (see Revelation 21:18) is believed to have been a dark green, opalescent stone. The jasper of the ancients was a partially translucent stone”
Of course we realize that jasper is a precious stone, a gemstone. And yet, this description of it says that “it is usually stained by impurities and occurs in various colors, such as red, green, yellow, and blue.” Well, my friend, that just blows me away. He takes our impurities, and all of us human beings come in so many various colors, such as red & yellow (not sure who those green and blue ones represent!), and he fashions our impurities into something precious, something that is the color of glory
This morning I read in Oswald Chambers’ My Utmost for His Highest, something entitled: “The Afterwards of the Life of Power”.
“Whither I go, thou canst not follow Me now; but thou shalt follow Me afterwards” (John 13:36) And when He had spoken this, He saith unto him, Follow Me.” Three years before, Jesus had said – “Follow Me,” and Peter had followed easily, the fascination of Jesus was upon him, he did not need the Holy Spirit to help him to do it. Then he came to the place where he denied Jesus, and his heart broke. Then he received the Holy Spirit, and now Jesus says again – “Follow Me”. There is no figure in front now, saving the Lord Jesus Christ. The first “Follow Me” had nothing mystical in it, it was an external following; now it is a following in internal martyrdom (John 21:18).”
I have a South African friend I’ve known for two-and-a-half years. I’ve been going to her house for 2½ years now, to meet with six or seven other women, to learn of Him through His Word. There is really nothing else to connect me with her. Two of her three children are still in diapers. My teenagers just got their first cell phones for Christmas. Her husband is Dutch and easily hobnobs with his wealthy Arab business clients, while we work for a non-profit humanitarian aid, disaster relief organization.
But what binds us together is His Spirit. His life has infected her, and powerfully radiates His glory from her life. We have connected weekly for 2½ years with women from New Zealand, Germany, India, South Africa, Ireland, and Canada, all because He has drawn us all here, from many different walks of life, to pursue His glory in this region of the world. And now, in Revelation 21, I learned that jasper is the color of Glory. And jasper is stained by impurities which give it colorful bands and patterns. The most popular pattern; landscape jasper, offers a small panorama in stone. That’s what we are. Our lives are small panoramas in stone; stone which is called the color of Glory.
Oswald Chambers says, “There are times when you cannot understand why you cannot do what you want to do. When God brings the blank space, see that you do not fill it in, but wait. The blank space may come in order to teach you what sanctification means, or it may come after sanctification to teach you what service means. Never run before God’s guidance. If there is the slightest doubt, then He is not guiding. Wherever there is doubt — don’t.In the beginning you may see clearly what God’s will is – … Wait for God’s time to bring it round and He will do it without any heartbreak or disappointment. When it is a question of the providential will of God, wait for God to move.”
I have been impatiently waiting for God to move for these past 2½ years. Never did I expect what I now see Him doing around me. It’s incredible, and I am fascinated at the opportunities He is opening right before my very eyes. It’s as though He is showing me His walls of jasper, the color of Glory, in the faces of my neighbors and acquaintances from India, Sri Lanka and the Philippines. We all reflect His light in different ways, or perhaps we are yet to know His light, but through it all, every displaced traveler I meet along this journey, we are offering our small story back to Him, our section of His panorama, all for His Glory.