The Glory of Christ

JesusHealsTheLepers_thumbI’m currently reading a wonderful book.  It’s called God is the Gospel by John Piper.  In it Piper argues the gospel – the good news of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection is not (primarily) a way  to get people to heaven but a way to get people to God.  GOD – his goodness and glory and beauty is the gospel.  It’s a point well made and worth meditating on.

In chapter four he unpacks 2 Corinthians 4:6 which says,

“For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.”

Piper calls this one of the most remarkable descriptions of the gospel in the whole bible.  The gospel emits a light – the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.  In seeing Jesus, we see God’s glory.  But God must first open our eyes to such a sight.  Otherwise we will never see it.

But the part I wanted to share was Piper’s description of what this glory looks like.  I’ll saying nothing more – here it is:

“…the climax of the glory of [Christ’s] life on earth was the way it ended.  It was as if all the darker colours in the spectrum of glory came together in the most beautiful sunset on Good Friday, with the crucified Christ as the blood-red sun in the crimson sky.  And it was as if all the brighter colours in the spectrum of glory came together in the most beautiful sunrise on Easter morning, with the risen Christ as the golden sun shining in full strength.  Both the glory of the sunset and the glory of the sunrise shone on the horizon of a lifetime of incomparably beautiful love.  This I what Paul meant in 2 Cor. 4:4 when he spoke of “the glory of Christ.” It is the glory of a person. But the person displays his glory in works and actions and feelings.  The glory is not the glory of a painting or even a sunset. Those are only analogies.  They are too static and lifeless.

The spiritual beauty of Christ is Christ-in-action – Christ loving, and Christ touching lepers, and Christ blessing children, and healing the crippled, and raising the dead, and commanding demons, and teaching with unrivalled authority, and silencing the sceptics, and rebuking his disciples, and predicting the details of his death, and setting his face like flint toward Jerusalem, and weeping over the city, and silent before his accusers… and praying for his enemies, and forgiving a thief, and caring for his mother while in agony, and giving up his spirit in death, and rising from the dead…”

Such is the glory of Christ.

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