Easter Glory

01 May 2022 | Reflections | Anthony Luxton

Over the Easter period, we focused on the glory of Easter. This was not planned but developed as we continued our Living the Spirit-Filled Life series, focussing on Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer in John 17, which begins:

I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began. (John 17:1-5)

The Hebrew and Greek words for glory (Kabod/Doxa) can be translated as weight, worthiness, power and honour. It is a key image of God that helps to tell the story of the bible, which reveals the weight of God’s glory. The cross of Jesus is the most potent expression of this weight. It is heavy because it symbolises the depths of God’s desire to be in relationship with us, allowing us to share (to some measure) in his glory.

For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. (2 Corinthians 4:5-8)

I wanted to share a few reflections on glory from one of our members:

Ezekiel, the Old Testament prophet, in his first chapter describes a vision of God in which the heavens opened and he saw the likeness of the glory of the Lord “like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him.” In Revelation (21 v23) heaven is described as “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light and the Lamb is it’s lamp”

We stare in wonder at a rainbow in the sky. The illumination of colours is breath-taking. We feel more privileged if we see a second arc, also coloured but fainter and its colours reversed to the first bow. A double rainbow is a lovely sight.

Recently, I stood in my bedroom with my back to the window. Suddenly, the wall was covered by a warm orange glow with my shadow in the middle of it. I turned round to face the window, puzzled, and saw the most glorious of sunsets. Thinking about these things led me to thinking about what glory is and how it reflected in Jesus’ face on the mountainside, and whether it is possible that we can reflect God’s glory as Christians.

In the past God spoke to our ancestors, through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things…..The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word (Hebrews 1)

The Apostle Peter says about Jesus that “we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. He received honour and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory saying ‘This is my son, whom I love, with him I am well pleased…… you will do well to pay attention to it, as a light shining in a dark place (2 Peter 1)”.

In his first letter, Peter discusses how the Lord Jesus Christ in his great mercy has given us birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and into an inheritance kept in heaven for us. Through faith we are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last times. When Jesus Christ is revealed, the genuineness of your faith may result in praise, glory and honour.

Is it possible that, as believers of the Word we can share in or reflect some of the glory of God? We know that in Romans (3:23) it is written that we all fall short of the glory of God due to our sin. And Peter describes (1 Pet 1v24) that any glory attained on earth will only wither and fall like grass and flowers. It is only the Word of the Lord that endures forever. However, in his letter to the Corinthian Church, Paul writes that:

Whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away … and we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 2:16-18).

We are justified by our faith in Jesus. The work of the Spirit and the Word of God refines us and conforms us to the image of Jesus. This ongoing work is sanctifying us, producing in us some of the graces of God’s likeness. These are the fruit of the Spirit, such as patience, gentleness and meekness, love, joy and self-control (Galatians 5). Known as passive graces, these may have the greatest influence on those we know and on the world who observes us. Genuine sanctification is a thing that can be seen but is not perfected till we get to heaven.

So I believe this sanctification becomes a reflection of Jesus’s glory, a kind of shining of our faces from the joy held in our hearts and is visible at times to others (2 Corinthians 4). Imperfect a faint reflection, but there. A genuine, inwardly working of the spirit and Word of God developing in us spiritual maturity. And this maturity shows itself in sincere love for others, in good deeds and in a firm faith in Jesus Christ.

Now May the God of peace….. equip you with everything good for doing His will and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. (Hebrews 13:21)

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