John 1:14. 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.
You may remember from yesterday’s reading that we are all glory chasers. We are constantly seeking meaning, significance, purpose, weightiness, and beauty; the things that make life worth living.
John, drawing from Exodus 33 and 34, is presenting Jesus Christ to us as the greatest glory. He is the glory of God that we have seen. But there’s an important twist to God’s glory here that we must never miss. And it is only recognized as we understand what John means when he says that the glory of God is seen in the Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
Grace and truth. These two words also come from Exodus. In Exodus 34 as God reveals his glory to Moses, he will do so by crying out his name and his character to Moses.
Exodus 34:6-7. 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
The Lord abounds in steadfast love and faithfulness. Or, as John will put it, he is full of grace and truth.
God’s grace – keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.
God’s truth – but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.
When Moses asked to see the glory of God, God revealed both his love of the sinner and his faithful confrontation of sin. His grace and his truth. His forgiving and his punishing.
But where did we most fully see God’s glory? Where did we clearly see the collision of his grace and truth? Where did God display the fullness of his loving forgiveness of sin and the fullness of his faithful punishing of sin? Where have we seen God’s glory? In the crucified Christ.
This is the great plot twist of life in Christ. The glory of the cross is unlike any other display of God’s glory ever seen. At the cross, the light of God’s presence gave way to his darkness. The declaration of God’s goodness was drowned out by God’s silence. The face of the Father turned away revealing the beaten and bloodied face of the Son.
God’s glory displayed in Christ’s shame.
God’s power made perfect in Jesus’ weakness.
God’s goodness revealed by entering into man’s evil.
And the everlasting Son of the Father, the incarnate Word, receiving honor, glory, and power through his self-sacrifice and self-humiliation.
What does this upside down form of glory mean for us?
It means the glory that we are all chasing, is the glory found in union with the grace and truth of the crucified Christ. Our glory is now the glory of the cross. The upside down glory of neediness, of submission, of self-sacrifice, of humility, of weakness, and of mercy, grace, and forgiveness.
The collision of grace and truth at the cross is now the glory that gives life its meaning. The increase of God through the decrease of us. Each need displaying his power. Each confession displaying his grace. Each humble act of service displaying his honor and glory.
“To live is Christ” has filled us with the upside down glory of God’s grace and truth. The grace and truth of the glorious cross of Christ. Where dying is living, and losing is winning. Where the grace displayed in us as sons and daughters from the Father, becomes the glory of God to be seen by a desperate world in need of the glory of God’s grace.
What kind of glory are you seeking? Is it the upside down glory of the cross?
You in Christ
In Christ your glory is the cross. How does this change how you approach life?
Christ in you
What is one specific way you can live from the glory of grace today? Either receiving grace or giving grace.
Playlist: Songs of the Crucified Life.