Friday, December 21, 2007

That The Son of God Might Be Glorified

We wrote here a little bit ago about the glory of God. We talked about how this is IT. God loves His glory, for there is nothing higher. Everything that we do, we are told in Scripture (1 Cor 10:31) we are to do it all to the glory of God.
Jonathan Edwards has written . . . "all that is ever spoken of in the Scripture as an ultimate end of God's works is included in that one phrase, the glory of God."
As Piper points out, God is God-centered. This is not soothing to man's pride. We like to think of God as being totally man-centered, thus we can then consider being God-centered people. The fact is that God loves His own glory even more than He loves us, and this is the foundation of His love for us.
I know this is hard to grasp, at least it has been for me. It is challenging. Haven't we been taught that "if God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it"?
Well, I have been reading the Gospel According to John, and plan in the new year to begin preaching through the Gospel. As I came today to the story of Jesus and the death of His friend Lazarus, I see further evidence that God's glory is IT.
Jesus gets word that His friend Lazarus is sick unto death, "he whom Thou lovest is sick" his sisters said. And yes indeed, Jesus truly loved Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha. We read it right there in John 11:5. He loved them, oh how He loved them! But He loved something else more.
Look at verse 4, "When Jesus heard that (of Lazarus' sickness) He said, 'This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.'"
God's glory is the greatest. That's what it is all about. Jesus wanted His followers to see this.
Later, Jesus announces that indeed Lazarus had died. verse 14. And He then says something astounding -- "And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe."
I believe He wanted His disciples to see that all of this was happening that the Son might be glorified -- which is the highest, most important thing that there is.
Jesus would go to Bethany. He goes there and He weeps. Why does He weep? Well, we know that He had compassion, He could sincerely, like no other, feel our pain. He knew the hurt that Mary and Martha were feeling. He loved them, and when they were hurting He wept with them. This too is simply astounding. That the King of Kings and Lord of Lords would so love His sheep -- poor pitiful sheep. There He stands, He who created the universe and sustains all things with His omnipotent right hand, at a dusty Palestinian graveside with two sisters, weeping. Amazing love, how can it be?
Anyway, He is taken to the grave itself and told those standing around to open it up. Martha interjects, "but you know it is bound to stink -- he's been dead for four days." Perhaps she thought Jesus wanted one last look at His friend Lazarus. But then Jesus says something to her that speaks to this truth about God's glory:
Jesus saith unto her, "Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?"
Not, "Oh dear sister you will see your dearly beloved brother once again." But, "You will see something infinitely more better -- the glory of Almighty God." That's it.

May we pray and say with Moses, "I beseech Thee, shew me Thy glory." Yes, Lord let it be.


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