That They May Behold My Glory

In a previous blog post, we attempted to make the point that the goal of true Christianity is centered on Christ. It’s all about Him, not me. Self-aggrandizement can sneak into our lives in subtle ways and take hold of our minds so that we become the sun in our own sky.

Consider the gospel writer John late in his life, as an old man in exile. No doubt, recollections of his divine Friend flooded his heart as he labored on Patmos in a Roman stone quarry. Over and over again he may have thought, “I saw Him. I heard Him. I lived and walked with Him for three years. We ate together. We were the best of friends.” Yet how interesting it is that this same John saw his old friend years later. It was a kind of homecoming—a reunion of sorts.

Whenever we see old friends and renew an acquaintance, it’s all about a good time. We talk about our jobs, or the kids, or how the ball team is doing. But with John it was totally different. There was no rush to embrace, no excited exchange of greeting, no mutual slap on the back. Instead, John says, “His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength . . . and when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead” (Revelation 1:16–17). This vision of the glorified Son of God put him on his face as though he was struck dead. Surely this was similar to the view of God that gripped the prophet Isaiah: “Woe is me, for I am undone! For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Isaiah 6:5)

One common attack of the atheists comes as an accusation that the God of the Bible, if He does exist, is the consummate egoist—always worried about how He appears. Yet one aspect of the hope of the believer is a shared glory. Listen to the words of the Son of God, spoken before He sacrificed His life on the Cross: “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one . . . that they may behold My glory” (John 17:22, 24).

The hymn writer said it so well. “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.” Those “things of earth” surely include all of the things that cause us to regard ourselves more highly than we ought.

Steve Fazekas, AiG–U.S.