Glory: The Manifest Excellence of God

Glory: The Manifest Excellence of God June 5, 2018

John 11.40: Jesus said to her, “Did I not say to you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?”

Have I really seen God’s glory in my life?  Do I want really want to? Do I believe that He can show up in His glory?

i. Glory is an important word

It’s used at the beginning of the story.  It’s also used as the highlight of the story, so it has a double-impact on this story.  In verse 4, Jesus says, “This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.”

ii. Now how do we define glory?

It’s one of those words that’s so closely associated with God that I don’t know if anyone has a great working definition.  It’s like the definition for holy.  Holy means set apart from, but it also means set apart to.  So holiness is set apart from the world, and set apart unto God.  However, my Theological question is, “Wasn’t God holy before He created everything to be set apart from?”  It’s an eternal characteristic if it’s part of His nature.  So what is holiness?

Glory is another one of those words.  It’s used in a lot of ways in a lot of contexts.  It’s the word doxa where we derive the term doxology.  We attest to the glory of God in the Trinity, a wonderful song passed down over the centuries.

Video, Glory: The Manifest Excellence of God

I’m going to suggest a definition.  Glory is a visible manifestation, or a powerful manifestation that is realized by us.  It shows us God’s good pleasure in a moment. Glory could be considered a manifestation of the excellence of God.

I think of terms like majesty.  I think of things that we used to say years ago.  Someone would share a great report, a praise, a testimony.  It wasn’t unheard of for us to respond, “Glory to God!”  We used this expression that we don’t use as much anymore, but it was closer to the truth because we were recognizing a manifestation of the presence of God, a realization of the excellence and majesty of God among us.

I know ministers, and maybe you do as well, who have witnessed the shekinah glory of God.  The presence of Almighty God would hover over a worship service back in the day when we knew how to pray around the altars, tarry, and pray through.  One minister has said at times in his church in California, he would witness the presence of God so thick, that you could just about cut it with a knife.  He said it was as thick as cigarette smoke in a closed room, hovering over the congregation.

If you’re still reading after that believe-it-or-not illustration, then I beg the question, “What does it take to see the glory of God among us?  Where is our hunger for the manifest presence of God?”

I would like to see the visible glory, a pillar of cloud, or a pillar of fire.  I believe God still does it, and He does.  I’ve seen it in print.  It’s happening around the world.

Why isn’t it happening in America?  Are we too rational?  If God can’t explain His unexplainable glory to us then we don’t believe that it really happens.

Do we want to see the glory of God . . . His grandeur . . . His majesty . . . the mysteries of God!

God shows up among us.  It used to mean something when we said, “We’re wanting a visit from God!”  It used to mean something when the preacher would say, “We’re expecting a visitation from God!”  Now it just rolls off of us like water off a duck’s back.  “It’s just another one of those trite sayings” . . . unless we truly want a visitation from God.

iii. How is the glory of God revealed for Martha and Mary?

The Raising of Lazarus, Giuseppe D’Arena, 1677
St. George’s Basilica Victoria Malta | Public Domain

The glory is revealed in the overwhelming grace of Christ in dealing with them.  Let’s remember, they’ve just lost their brother.  They have a lot on their plate.  They’re entertaining extended family and people from the community.  They have too much rolling through their minds.  They’re a little slow to catch on to what Jesus is doing.

Jesus has to remind them who He is.

Doesn’t He have to remind us as well who He is?  Who is this Jesus?

The glory is revealed in His display of power.  This is the time of the miracle, the sign, the mystery, but let’s remember this points to Christ, not just to a miracle.  He is the resurrection and the life.  The glory of Christ eclipses death.  It outshines darkness!

We used to sing a song, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

The glory of God outshines the darkness.  It eclipses the darkness.  We need the glory of Christ revealed!

As previously published in a homily, 11.22.15 The Glory of Christ Revealed

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