It’s a very unusual way of stating a thing. In fact, it’s not what we would normally think. When will it be that Christ’s sign will appear in heaven? And, oh, by the way – what is Christ’s sign? Jesus answers both the when and what in these few words. “. . .the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven. . .” I believe that He’s talking here about His cross. So, then, Jesus say that the symbol or the sign of the Son of Man can only appear when all of the forces of this world’s material power are no longer the objects of this world’s adoration. As long as the mighty powers of matter are looked upon with reverence and respect there can be no place for the worship of the cross. As long as man’s eyes are glued to the gigantic masses it will not wish to glance at such an unobtrusive thing as this symbol of self-denial.
The cross may be on earth, but it will not appear in heaven or be viewed as a precious or powerful thing on earth until the powers of the heavens are shaken. But when they are, when the symbol of this world’s crushing strength loses it glory, and the sight of someone’s or something’s stature ceases to be something to be awed, then for the first time will be seen Christ’s glory. The glory of stooping. The glory of condescending. The glory of sacrifice. The glory of self-forgetting love.
Now, this shaking doesn’t necessarily have to occur “out there.” Spiritually speaking, it is a transition in the way that a person thinks. There are many things that our parents placed in “heaven” during our childhood that once we became men we located on earth. Many things that our childhood deemed on earth, our manhood claims for heaven. One of these things is the cross. Today it seems such a simple thing. When compared to all of the material and military forces of this world, the still small voice of sacrificial loves seems to carry very little weight. But when our opinion, and really our fascination, of these powers is finally shaken, when materialism ceases to control our inward sky, then there will be a change in government and the last will be first. Christ will be glorified. Calvary will be magnified. Mercy will be crowned. Kindness will have a kingdom, tenderness a tiara, sympathy a scepter and love will be lifted up in the day when in the human heart the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
“Dear Jesus, help me not to focus or fixate on the forces of this present world. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on your full and free gift given in the cross. Amen.”