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19th February, 2010

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Jesus: window into God's glory

Stop and think. Bearing in mind that we cannot enter the kingdom of God unless we receive it "as little children" (Mk. 10:15), shouldn't we show intense and sincere enthusiasm for the joys that await us in the kingdom? Accepting that we ought to be in a lather of excitement about the joys prepared for us, should we not gaze intently through any windows that now give a glimpse, how ever dimly, of those kingdom joys? Logical enough, wouldn't you agree?

Right, then. What does Scripture reveal as to the source of the most intense ecstasy awaiting us in the kingdom? No mystery there:

For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better (Phil. 1:23).

They shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads (Rev. 22:4).

The most intense joy in the kingdom comes from personal, intimate acquaintance with Jesus Christ and God. Remember, Jesus and His Father are one in mind (John 10:30) because they are of the very same essential nature (John 1:1). Jesus Christ is God's user-friendly interface with us lesser creatures. The first part of eternity in the presence of Jesus Christ will prepare the saints for eventual direct access to God in all His glory, expressed in the idea of seeing His face. Fellowship with billions of glorified saints will bring joy unimaginable, but all that pales against personal, one-on-one friendship with Jesus Christ and God. At His right hand are pleasures evermore (Ps. 16:11). Integral to the idea of communion with God is the idea of seeing His glory. Fellowship with God is not just a matter of being able to communicate directly with Him but also of "seeing His glory". The faculty of vision is merely an analogy for the enhanced senses glorified saints will enjoy; in the kingdom of God we will "experience" God in ways we cannot imagine right now. Little wonder we must receive the kingdom as excitable little children. Nothing could carry sentient creatures to the heights of ecstasy more than seeing the glory of God. Jesus Himself was overjoyed at the blessing His followers would have of one day seeing Him in glory:

Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me. (John 17:24).

But - and here is the chief point of this blog - walking and talking with Jesus Christ was, and is, itself a window into the glory of God:

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).

Though the capacity to see God in His glory now is extremely limited by comparison with what lies ahead, God has nevertheless given us a handful of incalculably worthwhile, faith-building "taste spoons" of His full glory. Specifically, these are:

•  Creation, which shows God's power ( Rom. 1:20);
•  His acts within history, which demonstrate a number of God's attributes (Ps. 107:42, Hab. 2:14);
•  The incarnate Jesus Christ (John 1:14, 17:1).

These windows are open to all. But certain individuals have had special opportunities to see aspects of God's glory. Moses pleaded for and got to see a tiny sample of the intensity and brilliance of God's glorious power (Ex. 33:12-23). Ezekiel saw a vision that gave him a taste of the beauty of God (Ezek. 1:26-28). Jesus' disciples were even more blessed than Moses or Ezekiel; they got to see, in their daily walk with Jesus Christ, a glimpse of the mind of God, of the way He thinks. You see, Jesus Christ's thoughts moved in lockstep with His Father in heaven:

For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col. 2:9).

They also saw a manifestation of the divine power evidenced in Jesus' miracles. Just days before His crucifixion His disciples broke into spontaneous praise and worship because of all they had seen and heard:

Then, as He was now drawing near the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works they had seen (Luke 19:37).

They simply couldn't help themselves. They had spent over three years in the presence of the "glory as of the only begotten of the Father" and it all came bubbling out. They were ecstatic.

True, you and I cannot turn the clock back to experience all the fine details. But we can read the gospel record, and with a little effort we can see Jesus descending the Mount of Olives on a donkey in our mind's eye, we can hear Him speaking in our mind's ear, we can smell the dust rising from his footfall in our mind's nose. Yes, we can get a vital glimpse into the glory of God as we walk in the august company of Peter, James, and John and see what they saw. Why don't you seize the day? Do it.


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