December 12 – Part 4: PRISMS and the glory of God

December 12, 2018 Randy Bushey

~ by Randy Bushey

…Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will glorify the Son in himself, and will glorify him at once (John 13:31,32).

In our study of the glory of God, we have built on this foundational maxim: Holy is what God is, glory is how He evidences His holiness.

As we deepen our understanding of the Tri-une God’s glory, it’s critical that we don’t miss this essential truth: God’s glory is most evident in the Person of Jesus. The writer of Hebrews affirms this by saying, The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being (Hebrews 1:3).

But here’s where it gets theologically counter-intuitive: Jesus’ identity and attendant glory is heavily associated in John’s Gospel with the events of the crucifixion.

Isn’t that like our God?

Only He could take one of the most disgraceful and humiliating styles of execution ever devised by man, and use it in His redemptive plan – the Gospel design conceived before the foundations of the world – and employ that symbol of shame to evidence the Son’s maximal glory?

If you’re not sure that’s true, look at the usage of the term glory in John’s Gospel, in proximity to the Cross.

After the Triumphal Entry as the events of Passion Week were set to unfold, Christ somewhat abruptly announced to His followers, The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified (John 12:23).

He proceeded to use this paradoxical metaphor to remove any doubt that He had the Cross squarely in view: I tell you the truth, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds (John 12:24).

And then moments later Jesus utters these anguished words: Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name! Then a voice came from heaven, “I have glorified it, and will glorify it again.” (John 12:27,28).

The Father’s voice from heaven – the 3rd such audible declaration of the Father in the Gospel record – affirms that the Cross and Resurrection would be the climax of Christ publicly displaying the glory of God.

For His disciples only, He would again demonstrate His inherent glory as the eternal Son of God in His ascension, His advent to His coronation as the King of Kings. (We’ve noted that the use of clouds in Scripture was often connected with God’s glory.)

After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight (Acts 1:9)

Takeaway: the Cross of Christ is at the heart of the Gospel message.

It was emphatically not the crushing end of His misguided Messianic aspirations; but rather the eternal plan of the Trinity to redeem us with the power of the Gospel – the transformative power predicated on the Lord Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The eternal intention was that God’s glory, so evident in Christ’s life and death, would then be reflected in us who love and follow the Lord Jesus.

Again we are reminded of the truth of John Piper’s observation: “we were made to be prisms refracting the light of God’s glory into all of life.”

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).

~ graphic by John Ng, freeimages.com