Beholding Christ - The Revelation of the Glory of God
In a year when we are well acquainted with uncertainty we should be zealous for the opportunity to dwell on things that are certain. And in a year when things have often been bleak, we should be eager to dwell on what is beautiful. Each year as we move toward Christmas we set aside time to focus very specifically and very purposefully on the coming of Christ into the world. Our goal this year is the same. We desire to behold Christ and to allow our beholding of Him to remind us of our hope.
In the three weeks leading up to Christmas we will ‘Behold Christ’ by considering three different aspects of who He is.
- Beholding Christ – The Revelation of the Glory of God (Jesus is God)
- Beholding Christ – The Glory of God in Flesh (Jesus is Man)
- Beholding Christ – The King of Glory (Jesus is King)
Behold Jesus as the Revelation of the Glory of God
As the Scriptures describe the coming of Jesus into the world it’s clear that He’s more than a man. He’s not simply a teacher, a religious leader or even a prophet. And while Jesus is described in many ways, perhaps none tells us more than this: that Jesus is the revelation of the glory of God.
This is a theme that runs throughout the New Testament, but it is especially clear in three places: 2 Corinthians 4:6, John 1:14 and Hebrews 1:3. These Scriptures each speak of Jesus as the revelation of the glory of God, but what does that mean and why does it matter?
What is the glory of God?
Before we consider Jesus as the revelation of the glory of God, it’s essential to first ask the question: What is the glory of God?
- The meaning – Put simply, the glory of God is the shining forth of who He is; it’s the manifestation of His person.
- The magnitude – When the Bible speaks of the glory of God it is evident that it is no small thing. In fact, God told Moses that no one could see the full revelation of His glory and live (Exodus 33).
- The revealing – While the Old Testament is clear about the greatness and holiness of God, it also speaks of a time when the glory of God will be revealed, a time when God will come near and save His people (Isaiah 40:1-5; Isaiah 9:1-7).
What does it mean that Jesus came as the revelation of the glory of God?
- Jesus reveals the nature and character of God – The writer of Hebrews tells us that Jesus is the exact imprint of the nature of God. We see the glory of God in Jesus because Jesus perfectly reveals the nature and character of God (Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:15, 19).
- Jesus makes the invisible God visible – In the great prologue of the Gospel of John we learn that in Jesus the invisible God is made visible. While no one has ever seen God, in Jesus He is revealed (John 1:18). While no one has seen the Father, Jesus makes Him known (Jn. 14:8-9).
Why should we strive to behold Jesus as the revelation of the glory of God?
- By beholding the glory of God in Jesus we are beholding God Himself (John 1:18)- Do you want to know God? We can know God by knowing Jesus. In Jesus God is revealed. In Him we see the character of God on display. Jesus is God in flesh, and to know Him is to know God.
- By beholding the glory of God in Jesus we are assured that we are in fact children of God (2 Corinthians 4:3-6)– Paul describes those who don’t believe in Jesus as being blind. They don’t see Him as glorious, they don’t submit to Him as Lord and they don’t worship Him as God. On the other hand, a Christian is a person who sees the glory of God in Jesus and responds in repentance, obedience and worship. If you are able to behold, love and submit to the glory of God in Jesus, you can have the assurance that you are in fact a child of God.
- By beholding the glory of God in Jesus we are transformed into His likeness (2 Corinthians 3:15-18) – Not only is beholding Jesus a sign of our faith, but it’s also the means by which we grow in spiritual maturity. Paul explains that as we behold the glory of the Lord over time we are transformed into the image of Christ. Just as we formerly gave our focus and attention to the things of the world, as the people of God we are to grow in Him by fixing our minds on Him.
- By beholding the glory of God in Jesus we can find rest and peace (Isaiah 40:1-2) – Through Jesus we have hope that even in a chaotic and unpredictable world God is still in control. As we look to Him we can experience rest and peace.
John Owen – By beholding the glory of Christ by faith we shall find rest to our souls. Our minds are apt to be filled with fears, cares, dangers, distresses ungoverned passions and lusts. By these our thoughts are filled with chaos, darkness and confusion. But where the soul is fixed on the glory of Christ then the mind finds rest and peace.