The Glory of the Only-Begotten.

"The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth."

1868 161 This was the manifestation of the Christ as Son, and declared through the Spirit by John. And it is this glory, this fulness of grace and truth, which shines throughout the public ministry of the Christ as recorded by John in chapters 1 — 9. And in the progress of that ministry, I have observed two attributes or actings of this glory.
1. It always refuses to join itself with other glory of any kind whatever.
2. It perseveres in displaying itself in defiance of every kind of resistance.

These two ways, constantly adhering to it, evince the value it had for itself, and the fixedness of the divine purpose to bless the sinner, to whose condition and necessities this glory suits itself.

In John 2, Jesus is tempted by His mother to let the glory of power break from Him. In John 3, Nicodemus invites Him to display Himself as a teacher. In John 6, the multitude would make Him a king. In John 7, His brethren would have Him show Himself to the world. In John 8, the Pharisees would have Him use the thunder of mount Sinai in judgment. But no offer or solicitation prevails. Jesus will not show Himself save as "full of grace and truth," or in the glory of the "only-begotten of the Father." He refuses to appear in any other glory or act in any other character. But then in that glory He will shine, and in that character He will act, be the resistance or hindrance what it may; and in considering this I would be, at present, a little more particular.

In John 4, we see the Lord insisting to shine in the glory of grace and truth, in spite of hindrance and resistance from a most determined quarter — "the law of commandments contained in ordinances." The Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans. But Jesus, the Son of God, shines with as bright and diffused a beam in one region as in another, refusing to be hindered.

In John 5, the Lord holds on His course in the same simple undistracted character, in defiance of fear or danger. The Jews sought to slay Him, because He did these things on the sabbath day. But His answer to such danger or threatening was only this — "My Father worketh hitherto and I work;" and on He goes, still He perseveres, as the witness of the way of the Father or the grace of God, though this might only sharpen the enmity and dispose the Jews the more to seek to slay Him.

In John 6, this peculiar glory, by which alone He was tracking His path, again has to meet a sore hindrance. The Lord evidently feels a great moral distance from the multitude. They were very much, as we speak, His aversion. They had stirred some of the holy loathing of His righteous soul This is evident, and this the heart knows to be a sore hindrance. But this does not hinder Him from maintaining the display of His proper glory, which was for their blessing. "Labour not for the meat that perisheth," says He to them, "but for that meat that endureth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him hath God the Father sealed." And so in John 7, as in chapter 5, He holds on His way though enemies were angry and confederating, and sending officers to take Him. For after all this, the glory that was full of grace and truth breaks forth into some of its brightest shining, on the great last day of the feast, Jesus standing and saying, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink." What vigour in the purpose must there have been which could have thus borne it on in triumph through such a series of opposition and hindrances!

And so, to the very last, I may say, this glory appears in unmeasured regions. Jesus "passes by." (John 9.) He goes wherever He may go. But it is still in the same character. Change of clime, so to speak, makes no difference. The glory is still full of grace and truth, the glory "as of the only-begotten of the Father." Jesus sees a man blind from his birth; but He is "the light of the world." And Jesus afterwards finds him cast out, but takes him up for eternity.

I know not that anything can more thoroughly assure the heart of a sinner of his interest in the Son of God than all this. No resistance prevails, no temptation. Nothing can force Him, nothing withdraw Him, from His purpose to bless them, for a single moment. That glory, and that only which suits their necessities, breaks forth on every occasion in which we see Jesus acting, urging its way through every hindrance, and retiring from every distraction. What intimates fixedness of purpose like this? If you see a man going on with his work, undaunted by opposition and undiverted by allurements, what need we more to know the singleness and decision of his soul? And such is the Son of the Father in this action. In the glory that suits the need of sinners He shines, and in that only, be the medium that would obscure it as thick as it may, or the solicitation that would distract it as flattering as it may.

Oh precious, saving grace! How does all this, in other language, tell us that God has found it more blessed to give than to receive! Jesus was "the Word made flesh," "God manifest in the flesh." And had He pleased, as these chapters show us, He might have received the praises of men, the admiration of the world, the crown of the kingdom; but He passes all by, fixed on the one purpose of carrying out the blessing to poor sinners.