The Glory of Christ

"Father, glorify Thy Name" (John 12:28).
"Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him" (John 13:31).
"Father glorify Thy Son, that Thy Son may also glorify Thee" (John 17:1).
"Messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ" (2 Corinthians 8:23).

If we are to answer to the five-fold challenge that has been put to us, we shall need to know the One of whom these great men of olden times — Isaac, Boaz and David, were but feeble types, and of Him and His glory would I speak to you. It is well for us to learn that the glory of man is as the flower of the field, but even having learnt that we shall still pursue it unless a brighter glory, the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, shines upon our souls. This only will keep us.

But what is meant by His glory? The glory of God is the revelation of what He is. When we speak of glorifying Him we do not mean that we can add anything to Him or make Him more glorious than He is, but that having received the revelation of Himself by faith we respond to it and give Him that place in our thoughts and lives that the revelation claims. If we speak of the glory of a man, it is his achievements that we have in mind, but no man can achieve anything beyond what he is, and when we think of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ in manhood, we think of what He achieved in His life of sufferings, but His achievements are the revelation of what He is, the Spirit of God delights to bring His achievements before our souls, and in this way glorify Him, and as the Spirit glorifies Him to us we begin to count earthly glory all loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Him.

We are not surprised to find a great deal about His glory in the Gospel of John. Who He is in His eternal greatness is there declared. He is the Word, the Creator of worlds, and the only begotten Son in the bosom of the Father. But He dwelt among men full of grace and truth. And some beheld His glory. They were made to realise the unique place that was His in relation to His Father, a place that no creature could occupy. But His glory shone out for their blessing, for the glory of the only begotten was that of the Revealer of the Father, and that revelation was not in the fire, nor the thunder, nor the earthquake, nor even in the wisdom and power that made the worlds, but in the voice of love, a still, small voice that won their hearts and made them answer His challenge in a way that must have given Him great joy. "To whom shall we go, Thou hast the words of eternal life."

He achieved great things in His humiliation, when despised and rejected of men, for then He glorified God. In this twelfth chapter of John's Gospel He had reached the great crisis in His life. He had come, if I may use the word, to the fork in the road, and there He stood and said, "Now is My soul troubled." What was it that could trouble the soul of the Son of God? We can understand a shallow soul, such as ours, being lashed into trouble by some passing storm; but what could trouble the unfathomed ocean of His soul? It must have been a most terrible thing that caused thin to say "Now is My soul troubled, and what shall I say?" In the previous chapter He had revealed Himself as the Master of death. In this chapter He stood face to face with the hour when He himself would become subject to death, and His soul was troubled. Death, as the judgment of God because of sin, lay before Him, the sinless One in view of that what could He say? Should He seek relief from that terrible hour, the darkness of which no eye but His could penetrate? Should He pray for escape from that hour in which the hatred of men and the malice of hell would break upon Him with out restraint, and in which He would be abandoned of God for our sakes? NO! He would not seek relief. He said, "For this cause came I to this hour. Father glorify Thy Name."

Consider the absolute devotion to His Father and His Father's will revealed in those words. He was prepared, no matter what the cost might be to Him, to suffer that the Father's Name should be glorified. That was the one thing before His soul, and in His exceeding sorrow it controlled Him. The Father's glory depended upon Him. All things had been put into His hands, and He would not fail the Father. How could the Father's Name be glorified? How could that Name be fully revealed so that Satan's lie might be exposed and the light shine into the souls of men in all its blessedness, and every intelligent creature in the universe see that God is love? There was only one way, the beloved Son must go down into death. Having counted the cost, understanding well all it would mean to Him, He continued in that way of the will of God. The crisis passed, onward to the Cross He went that the Father should be glorified.

In chapter 13 His soul is troubled again, for in the midst of the disciples is the one who would betray Him to death, how keenly He felt that; but when the traitor had gone out and He was absolutely free with those who loved Him, He said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified." There did not seem to be very much that was glorious about His circumstances at that time. To be betrayed by one of His disciples, to be rejected by His own nation, to be crowned with thorns and put upon a malefactor's cross by the Romans — all that appeared to be defeat and shame! But it was at that hour, in view of all that suffering, that He said, "Now is the Son of Man glorified." Wherein lay His glory? The greatest glory that a man can have is absolute obedience to God. That is man's chiefest glory, for it was to this end that God created him.

When Adam was tested on this ground he was disobedient and grasping at something God had not given him, instead of gaining glory he gained dishonour, disgrace and death. When "the man of sin" shall appear, in whom disobedience to God will reach its climax, who will exalt himself above all that is called God, and will sit in the temple of God as though he were God, he will be taken in the zenith of his pride by the hand of divine justice and cast down to the lowest hell. But the Son of Man, He Who as to His own Person is the Son, and who came forth from the Father, and came to the world, was obedient even to death, and that the death of the cross. What shall He receive? He shall be raised up from the lowest place to which His love to God carried Him, and be seated in the highest place that God can give Him.

His glory revealed itself when He manifested that absolute obedience to the will of God. Men did not see His glory then, they saw only shame and dishonour, they did not know that He had come to suffer according to the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God; but God saw it and He has joined that glory with His own for ever. God was glorified in Him then, for when He hung upon that cross, what God is was made known. What God is in regard to sin, and in regard to Satan and in regard to man was revealed. He was made known in His justice, in His holiness and in His righteousness and His hatred of sin. His love also was revealed there. The full truth as to His most blessed nature came into manifestation in the midst of that darkness — all was made known by that rejected, despised Man.

The Son of Man was manifested in the perfection of His obedience and in the infinite value of His sacrifice, and God was manifested in the blessedness of His love. What could God do but glorify Him straightway? The Father's glory came down to His tomb and raised Him up into the highest place of glory where He was before. Do not our hearts beat in sympathy with God's heart in this? Do we not acknowledge with worship and adoration that the Man on the throne is worthy to be there? That He who glorified God amid shame and dishonour on the cross is worthy to be glorified on the throne? The universe will eventually be filled with the glory of the cross, and though we have now a very feeble conception of what God's glory is, the day is coming when it will be known, and it will be the joy and light of the universe, which will have no need of sun or candle, for the glory of God is its light and the Lamb the lamp thereof.

Now hear Him speak again "Father, the hour is come, glorify Thy Son" Why? "that Thy Son also may glorify Thee." His purpose is unchanged, the same purpose that carried Hun to the cross fills His heart upon the throne, for He is most surely there, highly exalted, with a Name that is above every name. And in that glory He is glorifying the Father. How? By giving eternal life to such as we are, so that we may know God, the only true God. There is no treasure so great as the knowledge of God. The devil deceived Adam and Eve in the garden and has succeeded in deceiving the whole race of mankind, so that men suppose God to be a hard Master to be shunned if possible for ever. All sorts of thoughts they have about Him, and even some of them in these modernistic days would describe Him as a weak and indulgent Being, without justice and unable to govern, who does not care how He is treated, it will be all the same in the end. The mind of man has been blinded by the god and prince of this world, and God's creatures are lost to Him. Does God feel that? Does God feel that mankind, upon whom He set His love, cares not for Him? that they will seek any hiding place from His face and anything to satisfy their hearts but Himself? We may be sure God feels it, and His beloved Son feels it, and He is glorifying Him by winning men for God from the darkness and giving them eternal life. He is reaching and touching hearts and dispelling the darkness in which they live and giving them the true knowledge of God, and there are in this world today, in the midst of the darkness, millions who find their joy in God, and He owes this to His glorified Son. There is on the part of these a response to His love and in that He is glorified. Blessed indeed if that it true of us.

What a triumph over the devil is this! If we are here responding to the love of God, it is Christ who has done it. He has glorified His Father, declared the Father's Name and made known to us the Father's love and it has become precious to us — it is more to us than all beside. Young Christians, this is your greatest treasure, would you not part company with everything else for this? Do you not esteem this knowledge which we have in earthen vessels as treasure indeed? Well, remember these words, "If any man love the world the love of the Father is not in him."

The light that has shone from the face of Jesus has shone into our hearts to give the knowledge of God. He has glorified God on the earth and in death and He is still glorifying God on the throne. From that throne He is achieving great things. There were these brethren whom Paul had sent to the churches and who were the messengers of the churches, and this could be said of them, they were "the glory of Christ." A very remarkable expression, an expression that we might well dwell upon — "the glory of Christ." There was Titus a Gentile, and the other brethren with him, travelling from place to place ministering to the needs of the children of God in the world; and, inspired by the Spirit of God Paul wrote of them as "the glory of Christ." What can he have meant by that? He meant that Christ had fashioned them according to His own thoughts and achieved great things in them, and they were His glory. They made manifest what He is.

The artist paints his picture and there it hangs. It is his glory. The architect draws his plans and raises a magnificent edifice. It is his glory. There are great monuments in St. Paul's Cathedral, but Sir Christopher Wren has no monument there, and if you ask why, you will be told, as you stand beneath the dome of it, his monument is all about you — the building itself is his glory. Christ is building His Church, it will be His glory in the day of His glory. But has He no glory now? Yes, every saint whom He takes in hand and fashions in His own image is His glory. We read in this epistle (2 Corinthians) of "the meekness and gentleness of Christ." Does that meekness and gentleness manifest itself in us? If so, we are Christ's glory. Here were men devoted to the service of Christ, regarding not their own lives but at great inconvenience to themselves and much hardship, serving Christ in the midst of His saints because they loved Him and loved them for His sake, and because they were serving Him lovingly and devotedly instead of seeking greatness for themselves, the Spirit of God says they were Christ's glory. That is what He can achieve in men.

Think of it, beloved Christians, this is within your reach — you in your obscure circumstances, unknown and scarcely observed by others, may be the glory of Christ! The greater part of your time may be spent in the kitchen, or surrounded by godless workmates, but if there the fragrance of Christ pervades your life and ways, heaven looks down on Christ's glory, and it will not go altogether unnoticed by others. If you are showing the meekness and gentleness of Christ, caring for those whom He loves, unselfishly seeking to magnify His Name, it can be said of you that you are Christ's glory, for He is fashioning and forming you after His own likeness.

The Spirit of God is here to direct our thoughts to Christ in the glory and as we continue in the simplicity of devotion to Him and find our delight in considering Him and beholding His glory, we are transformed into the same image (chap. 3), for the light that shines in His face shines in our hearts and it transforms us and shines out from us in the darkness, and only thus can our lives be truly changed according to God.

Christ's glory — what could be greater than that? This is surely something to stir the ambition of our souls, make us ready to cast aside every false and transient glory, and count it all loss for His sake who has glorified God, and who has saved us that we might be His glory in this world, as we shall be when He appears in His glory, for when He appears we are to appear with Him in glory. "When He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe in that day" (2 Thess. 1:10).