Jesus, the Glory of God
This morning I’d like to read to you from the first chapter of the book of John. So if you want to open your bibles and follow along, that would be great.
Now the text that I want to read will begin with verse 14. But just to set the stage, so to speak, I’ll read verse 1 first; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Word, was God! And the Word is still God.
Now, verse 14 and following; “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” Now I’ll stop here for a minute, and mention a fundamental fact. Some people have taken that verse to mean that when the Word, which was God, became flesh, that the Word ceased to be God; As if Jesus the Christ, was not God. But that’s not what the bible says.
When the bible says that the “Word BECAME flesh”, it doesn’t mean that the Word changed into a different being. Like it was this, but it became that. That’s not what it means. It simply means that “God the Word”, took on a fleshly body, and a fleshly existence. But the Word never ceased to be God. Philippians 2, verses 6,7 & 8, explain it quite well. Here’s what it says, speaking about “the Word”; “Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God, something to be grasped, (in other words.. seized and held on to) but He emptied Himself, taking on the form of a bond-servant, and being made, in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.”
That was God up there on that cross, suffering for us. Shedding His blood for us. Dying for us. It was God, but in the form of a man, and in the appearance of a man.
So now back to John 1, verses 14 and following; “And the Word became flesh (God took on the appearance of a man) and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. John testified about Him (Of course the apostle John is referring to John the baptist) John the baptist testified about Jesus.. “..and cried out, saying; This was He of whom I said; He who comes after me has a higher rank than I; For He existed before me. For from His fullness, we have all received, grace upon grace. (Kindness upon kindness) For the law was given through Moses; Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
And verse 18 begins with these words; “No one at any time, has ever seen God;” The scriptures have told of times when people have seen various “manifestations” off God, but this verse is clear; “No one at any time, has ever seen God”. I don’t even know how a person could ever see God, who is a Spirit, except through some sort of physical manifestation. For example, God has manifested Himself as a burning bush, and as a pillar of fire, and as a pillar of smoke; But yet, the scripture says in Exodus 33, verse 11; “And the LORD spoke unto Moses, face to face, as a man speaks unto his friend.” Did Moses “see” God?
The phrase “face to face” is obviously NOT to be taken literally, because God Himself says in verse 20; “You cannot see My face, for no man can see Me, and live!” And so “face to face” is obviously a figurative statement. What “face to face” means, is “one on one”. God spoke to Moses, one on one, as a man speaks to his friend.
What is God’s Glory ?
This is an interesting section of scripture. Let me read to you verses 18 thru 23; Exodus 33:18 thru 23; “Then Moses said; Please show me Your glory.” Now there’s an interesting request.. “Show me your glory”. What do you think Moses meant by that? “Show me your glory”? What would God have “showed” Moses, that would have been “a display” of His “glory”?
Here’s a description that one man gave, of he perceived to be, God’s glory.. He said; “The glory of God, is the beauty of His spirit. It is not an aesthetic beauty, or a material beauty, but it is the beauty that emanates from His character, from all that He is.” And a verse of scripture that I think supports that explanation, is the verse that I began with this morning; John 1, verse 14. Here it is once again; “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory; Glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Jesus Christ is described there, as exhibiting “glory”. And not any kind of glory of this world, but rather, “Glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” The glory that Jesus exhibited, and I might say that He “exuded”, wasn’t anything physical at all. It was spiritual, it was His character from within, that He exuded, to everyone around Him. You know what exuded means, right? It means.. “to display conspicuously, (or, very noticeably) and abundantly.”
Jesus exhibited the glory of God’s grace. He exhibited the glory of God’s truth, and of God’s compassion, and His forgiveness, and of His gentleness, of God’s very nature. But at the same time, He exhibited God’s power. Jesus was.. The manifestation of the glory of God.
Think about the words of Hebrews 1, verse 3; “And He is the radiance of His glory, (of God’s glory) and the exact representation of His nature.” The exact representation of WHO God is! Not a physical representation, but a spiritual representation. Spiritual qualities, which we all need to imitate, and emulate.
When Moses asked God to “show me your glory”, God could have simply shown him Jesus; But Moses probably wouldn’t have quite understood.
But here’s what God said to Moses: (Exodus 33:19) “I will make all my goodness.. (So then God is likening his “goodness” to His glory) “I will make all my goodness pass before you, and will proclaim before you my name, “The LORD”. (It sounds there like even the NAME of God, is a part of His glory!) “And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.” And here’s what else God said; “But, He said; You cannot see my face, for man shall not see Me and live. Then the LORD said; Behold, the place; You shall stand there on the rock; And while My glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with My hand, until I have passed by. Then I will take away My hand, and you shall see My back, but My face shall not be seen.”
“While My glory passes by..” God said. It’s pretty difficult to know for sure, just what God meant there. What is His glory, according to that verse? Is it God great radiance, His great light, similar to the great light that Saul saw, when he encountered Jesus Christ, on the road to Damascus? The light that literally blinded him? Is it similar to the great light that God caused to shine over the entire earth, when He said; “Let there be light”? Is it somehow the representation of God’s unlimited power? Is it the great NAME of God? Or the unparalleled “goodness” of God? The Truth of God, which is the “Light” of God.
However we would try to define that glory, one cannot see God’s “face” so to speak, in this life, and still live to tell about it. But you know when we will be able to see the full glory of God? When we will “see His face”? It’s when we stand in His eternal presence in heaven. Now that’s something worth waiting for, and striving for.
And if we keep striving, we’ll see both the Father and the Son, in all their glory, at the resurrection. And 1 John 3, verse 2 tells us; “Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; And it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that when He shall appear, (when Jesus shall appear; When He shall be revealed form heaven with His mighty angels) we shall be like to Him, because we shall see Him as He is.”
God is Adorned with Glory
I wonder if God’s “glory”, could be thought of like, God’s “adornment”? Those spiritual qualities of God, aren’t they, that which “adorns” God? And couldn’t we think of that analogy when we read about the woman’s “adornment”, in 1 Peter 3, verses 3 & 4? The scriptures say there, concerning Christian women; “Do not let your adorning be external; (don’t let it be just physical) The braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear; (don’t let that be “who you are”, and what you’re known for) But let your adorning, be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”
Isn’t that at least a part of, what the “glory of God” is? The “hidden person”, so to speak? The “imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit”. Isn’t that exactly the kind of spirit that Jesus so “conspicuously” displayed? “Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me; (be the kind of person that I am) For I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” And of course that doesn’t only apply to women, does it?
Now back to John chapter 1, where I started at this morning. I was reading from verse 18; “No one at any time, has ever seen God; The only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him.” (Jesus has shown the way to the Father. “I am the way, the truth, and the life”, Jesus said, in John 14, verse 6)
Jesus is “in the bosom” of the Father. To be in “the bosom of the Father” is a figurative phrase. It denotes the intimacy, between the Father and the Son. The only begotten son, “is in” the very being (in the bosom) of God the Father. The Son CAME from within the Father. Jesus said in John 16:28; “I came forth from the Father, and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again, and going to the Father.”
“Believe Me”, Jesus said, in John 14:11; “I am IN the Father, and the Father, and the Father is IN Me.” And we as Christians, are IN Christ, aren’t we? “For as many of you as were baptized INTO Christ, have put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) And of course since we are IN Christ, we should be exhibiting, those very same qualities that Jesus exhibited. Our “adornment” and even our “glory” should be the glory of God, and the glory of Jesus.
Now I want to jump down several verses, as we finish off our lesson. And so as we close, listen to verses 29 thru 32; “The next day, John (John the baptist) saw Jesus coming unto him, and said; Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of whom I said; After me, comes a Man who is preferred before me, for He was before me. I did not know Him; But so that He should be revealed to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water. And John bare witness, saying; I have beheld the Spirit, descending as a dove, out of heaven, and it abode upon Him. I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water (that’s God) said to me; Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. And I have seen, and have borne witness, that this is the Son of God.”
That’s a powerful passage, attesting to the deity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Word of God, the Radiance of God, and the Glory of God.