The rainbow is the one new thing that God creates after the flood, after the earth has once again come out of the formless and void and been filled to the brim with all kinds of life. It is the first new thing He is doing in a world destroyed by sin.
...and it is the sign of the new thing He is doing in a world destroyed by sin.
Yesterday, I said that the rainbow is essentially light and magic. Or mystery, if you prefer that word. But that's not quite the whole story. Because it is light, but it is not magic; it's water. The rainbow, the visible invisible, the everything that is nothing that is everything, the sign of God's promise is made from the very substance of the Promise Himself:
Light and Living Water.
That's what makes a rainbow. That's how the physics works. At the end of the rain, as the clouds begin to part, light makes its way through the cracks and dances with the little droplets of water that sort of just hang in the air, that are still falling to earth. The rainbow dances, the light dances, because the water cannot stop dancing; it's alive. It is somewhere between heaven and earth, being somehow in both places wholly at once.
This is our Jesus. These are two of the things that Jesus tells us that He Himself is. These are two of the things that God promises that He is, that His Son is. John tells us early in his Gospel that Jesus is light, the Word become light. In Him, there is no darkness. He bursts through the broken places in our world, rolls back the clouds, and becomes a beacon of hope...and promise...in the dark night of the storm.
Jesus Himself speaks about being living water, when He meets a woman at a well who is tired of drawing a bucket from the depths of the earth every day. He tells her that He is an endless stream, a deep well, living water from which she will never thirst, if only she would drink. He cannot stop moving; love is such a powerful force. And He seems to fill the space somehow between heaven and earth, being in both places wholly at once.
Put these two together, and we discover that Jesus is the Promise that was given to Noah after the Flood. The very same promise. Formed by light and living water, made up of this very essence. And in Him, we see the same things that we see in the rainbow:
He is everything precisely because He is nothing. In Him is both absolute fullness and complete emptiness, a divine form and a human one. In Him, the invisible is made visible. In Him, the intangible is made tangible. In Him, the impossible is possible. And in Him, the Promise is lifted up that all creation might see, and might know, that the Lord our God is good.
It's breathtaking. It's amazing. It's incredible. It's...beautiful.