...And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. (Matthew 17:8)
The end of the account of the transfiguration contains another small detail, but one that is the most significant.
The end result of this encounter, the final state after all that took place, when everything else was said and done, the one focus, the one object of attention the only one left to occupy centre stage was Jesus.
Of course on a superficial level, you could say that this verse is just there to indicate that the glory cloud, and Moses and Elijah were no longer there, and that is true. But the wording is not accidental. Everything that took place was to give glory and honour to Jesus alone. It is fitting that at the end, the disciples gaze was on nothing and no-one else.
This, again, has application to the Church. At the end of the day, everything that we do, all the we build, everything that we are a part of must be judged by this, and this alone: how does it serve to give glory to Jesus?
To put it another way, does it end with Jesus alone central in the spotlight? Have we assisted in lifting him up, bringing him honour, or as the Manchester boys would say... "Making him famous."
Everything else must be subordinate to this ultimate goal. All our worship, all our witness, all prophecy, all service, all ministry, all leadership, all meetings, all activity. Everything.
Once we take our eyes off Jesus, we allow all kinds of other things to come in. The Church is not here to give us a ministry, to satisfy our spiritual hunger, or to pander to our preferences of style. It's not here to be relevant to society or to meet a niche need in the community. It's not here for us, period. The Church exists for one purpose, or rather one person: Jesus Christ alone.
The ultimate purpose of all activity in the Church is that Christ alone should be seen, not only in its focus, but also in its destination. For the Church itself, when it reaches maturity, is to represent the fullness of Christ.
It is for this reason that God has given the church the gift of ministries:
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13)
That is our ultimate goal. That is how it will be when the Church reaches maturity. That when the world looks at the church, they will not see our anointed leaders, great teaching, efficient programmes, or anything else that we might like to pat ourselves on the back about...
...they will see no one but Jesus only.