Lordly Glory

It is the dark background of the context that enhances the brilliance of the glory of these verses. Therefore when [Judas] was gone out…’ - out into the night of that most wicked deed. We can almost see the traitor, whose name has become the synonym for treachery at its worst, as he steps out of the light of that lovely presence into the dark of his chosen perdition. Gathering his garments around him, he makes his way to the yard of his employers, the hierarchy of Judaism. It would take a little time to gather from the city streets a band of roughnecks who, for a price, would be willing to perform their evil will. We can picture ‘that wild and savage crew’, their faces illuminated by the flickering lamps as the chief priests and the Pharisees move among them to lay the strategy for that infamous deed. The centre of their occupation and hatred, the Lord Jesus.

What a contrast to the room Judas had just left. Eleven men, gathered around their beloved Lord to bask in the light of His presence, and drink in His last words before He goes to the cross. The centre of their occupation and love was the Lord Jesus.

It is the onset of the passion of Christ. The beginning of the end, the ‘hour’ for which the eternities had waited. Hell is interested in this hour. Its hordes are summoned around that old skull hill to engage in the greatest battle ever to be fought. The armoury of hell is emptied of every diabolical weapon. For the hosts of darkness it is now or never.

Heaven is interested in this hour. Legions of angels await the command of their Sovereign, to fly from heaven and destroy this world and its wretched inhabitants. The fires that destroyed the wicked cities of the plain are tempered to judgement heat, the waters above and the waters beneath that swept away the wicked in Noah’s day strain at their bands. Only a thought, a word, from the Sovereign of the skies, and this world of sinners would go quick into the pit of eternal perdition. But no command is given to the armies of heaven. No directive unleashes the flames nor opens the floods of judgement. The Lord Jesus had not come to judge the world, but to save it, John 12. 47. Where was the ‘Lord strong and mighty in battle’? Gathered with His beloved disciples, speaking to them of glory and of love. No Judas can sell this glory for thirty pieces of silver, nor floods of hell quench this matchless love.

Five shafts of radiant glory burst forth to illumine the hearts of His own as, fearful and full of questions, they are about to enter the darkest hour ever to fall on this poor earth.

He speaks first of glory as A Constant Display that had been seen in His life with them. ‘Now [has] the son of man [been] glorified…’. The Glory of His Power had been seen in His mighty miracles. The Glory of His Love had been evident in His deep compassion. The Glory of His Wisdom had been manifest in His wonderful words. He had spoken the word of power to the helpless, the word of pardon to the sinful, the word of peace to the troubled, and the word of provision to the needy. ‘Never man spake like this man’. It was altogether ‘the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’, 2 Cor. 4. 6.

He speaks of glory as A New Revelation, ‘God [has been] glorified in Him’. God had revealed His mighty power in the wonders of creation and His marvellous wisdom in the realm of nature. He had revealed His righteousness and truth by the law through Moses and by His word through the prophets. But by none of these does the guilty sinner find comfort. At last, God’s full revelation came in the person of His Son, ‘the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person’, Heb. 1. 3, to put away sin and make a way into the holiest where sinners, cleansed and forgiven, may enter without fear, ‘accepted in the Beloved’.

At the time of the Saviour’s birth, there were three important religious classes. Each had a concept of deity, and each embodied their concept in a word. There was the Jew. The God of the Jew was ‘holy’, meaning separate, distinct, different from he. The God of the Jew was a God who was different. There was the Stoic. His word was apatheia from which we get our word ‘apathetic’, without feeling. The god of the stoic was an indifferent god. Then there was the Epicurean, he had a pantheistic system of many gods. He assumed they cavorted somewhere out in space. His word was intermundia, the space between the worlds. His gods were distant gods. It was into this world of the Jew, with His different God, the stoic with his indifferent god, and the Epicurean with his distant gods, that The God came. Not now altogether different, but ‘in the likeness of men’, though ever God and impeccable. Never indifferent and unfeeling, for He was anointed to minister to the needy, Luke 4. 18. No distant God was He, for He came into the world, where we lay in our sins, that He might bring to us the supreme revelation of the heart of God, ‘God so loved the world’.

Next He speaks of glory as A Certain Outcome. ‘If [since] God be [now] glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself…’ About this time, the disciples must surely have been wondering about glory. Their Master had come speaking about a glorious and everlasting kingdom. They had left all and followed Him. But as He began to speak about a cross, shame, sorrow and death, many of the disciples walked no more with Him. Now they seemed so few, so fearful and so weak. The King Himself was leaving, and that by a felon’s cross! Glory? Is there really a glorious future? Recognizing their need, the Lord shone this shaft of glory into their troubled hearts. If God has been glorified in Him in the valley of the shadow, then most certainly will He be glorified in the courts of heaven. If God has been glorified in Him in ‘the hour’ of the cross, He assuredly will be glorified on the eternal throne. If God has been glorified in Him in the face of every opposition, He most surely will be glorified when every knee shall bow before Him.

Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious;
See ‘the Man of Sorrows’ now;
From the fight returned victorious.
Every knee to Him shall bow:
Crown Him! crown Him!
Crowns become the Victor’s brow.

Thomas Kelly


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