During the weeks leading up to Easter our pastoral staff will tackle theological topics related to the resurrection in a series we're calling "Easter's Gospel."

As we have pondered the centrality of the cross and the salvation Christ’s sacrifice secured for us, we finally consider the revelation of God as seen in the cross. John Stott wrote, "[the cross] was a ‘revelatory’ as well as a ‘salvific’ event" [1].

"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14). Look at the Old Testament illusions in this verse: the tabernacle was God’s dwelling place with his people (Exodus 25:8). “[D]welt among us” in John 1 is the same root word. Moses' request to see God’s glory (Exodus 33:18) is fulfilled in the appearing of his Son. Stott adds, “More important still is the deliberate antithesis between ‘flesh’ and ‘glory,’ and so the fundamental paradox of the glory of the divine humiliation [meaning Christ’s incarnation]” [2].

What is "glory"? Early on in his wonderful article entitled "The Weight of Glory", C.S. Lewis ponders the meaning of the word "glory":

Either glory means to me fame, or it means luminosity. As for the first, since to be famous means to be better known than other people, the desire for fame appears to me as a competitive passion and therefore of hell rather than heaven. As for the second, who wishes to become a kind of living electric light bulb? [3]

More than just "majesty" or "splendor" glory means weight. You would not feel complimented if you were referred to as a "featherweight." Rather most people desire to have substance, authenticity, and relevance.  In our world where photographs are photoshopped and careers have spin-doctors, glory is sought. Because God has loved us—and deemed us worthy of forgiveness through the life-blood of his Son Jesus Christ—we have great value, a weightiness in the world. We are sons and daughters of the living God! In Psalm 62:7 along with David we proclaim: “On God rests my salvation and my glory.”

Our focus is not on the glory Christ places upon us in salvation per se, but the glory he shared with the Father in the crucifixion en toto. John Stott builds upon this definition of glory in an interesting study showing the pathway of suffering is gilded with glory, and within the shame of the cross is its divine plan of revelation (cf. Luke 24:26). “On three separate occasions Jesus referred to his coming death as the hour of his glorification.”  Stott continues,  

First, in response to the request of some Greeks to see him, Jesus said, ‘the hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified,” and went on immediately to speak of his death in terms both of a kernel of wheat falling to the ground and of the Father’s glorifying his own name. Second, as soon as Judas had left the upper room and gone out into the night, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified and God is glorified in him.” Third, he began his great prayer, which terminated their evening in the upper room with the words: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” What is notable about all three passages is first that each is introduced by either “now” or “the time has come”, making the reference to the cross indisputable, and second that the glorification will  be of the Father and the Son together.[4]

And so the glory seen in the cross is not the individual work of Jesus, nor merely the outworking of the Father’s plan, but rather the revelatory and glorious work of salvation accomplished by the Father and Son as “just and justifier” (Romans 3:26). Indeed, “we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth,” and we rejoice!

[1] Stott, John (1986) The Cross of Christ. Downers Grove, IL: IVP. p. 200.

[2] Ibid., p. 201.

[3] Lewis, C.S. (1949). "The Weight of Glory." Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishing Company. p. 8.

[4] Stott, pp. 201-202.

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