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Advent 2017 Devotional—December 22nd

Advent 2017 Devotional—December 22nd

PRAY:
Settle yourself into prayer and get ready to reflect on the Word of
God.

READ:
And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became
obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.
Therefore God also highly exalted him and gave him the name
hat is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should
bend, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue
should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Philippians 2:7b-11

Here’s something fun to do! Think of something glorious for a moment! It might be listening to the “Hallelujah Chorus” with full orchestra and chorus. It might be watching snow fill up a meadow on Christmas Eve. It might be seeing a Hubble Telescope color image of a newly discovered galaxy cluster 30 million light-years away. Being present to something glorious leaves us speechless, filled with wonder. Filled with delight! There are no words for it!

Let’s take this a step further and try to imagine the unimaginable: the full-blown glory of God! There was an outshining of God’s glory on the first Christmas as glory shone round about the shepherds. There was the radiance of God’s glory in the cross as Jesus said of His death: “Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified” (John 13:31). The glory of God was poured out through the humble life of Jesus from His cradle to His cross.

Yet today’s Scripture amps up that glory. We are afforded a glimpse of the ultimate, supreme manifestation of the glory of God. It happens as all of creation joins in acknowledging Jesus as Lord “to the glory of God the Father.”

While Christians talk frequently about God’s glory and pray that God be glorified, we might not always be clear on what the glory of God means. As we look at God’s glory in Scripture we discover that His glory is the sum total of all of His perfections, or His attributes. When Moses asked God, “Show me your glory, I pray,“ God granted his request, saying, “I will make all my goodness pass before you” (Exodus 33:18-19). To see God’s glory is to see the manifestation of all of His goodness and grace.

Theologian Wayne Grudem defines God’s glory as “the created brightness that surrounds God’s revelation of himself.” (Systematic Theology) Whenever people experience God, it is glorious! Old Testament scholar Raymond Ortlund says that God’s glory is “the fiery radiance of his very nature. It is his blazing beauty…God bringing himself down to us, God displaying his beauty before us, the true answer to our deepest longings.” (Isaiah: God Saves Sinners)

God created us to live in His glory; we are happiest when we are experiencing the glory of who He is! It is Jesus who will make heaven, heaven! He will be the satisfying of our deepest longings for infinite goodness, beauty, and love.

In today’s scripture Paul draws back heaven’s curtain to reveal the eternal moment when every creature confesses Jesus as Lord “to the glory of God the Father.” All that Jesus has done, not for His own glory but the Father’s, will be for all creatures to know His goodness (John 7:18; 17:1). The ultimate shining forth of God’s perfections will be the manifestation of His glory.

Jonathan Edwards was a spark in Colonial America’s “Great Awakening”, who preached the sermon “The Excellency of Christ”. In that sermon Edwards said: [in Jesus] “meet infinite highness and infinite condescension; infinite justice and infinite grace; infinite glory and lowest humility, infinite majesty and transcendent meekness.” (Cited by John Piper, The Pleasures of God) In the cross and the cradle the glory of God’s infinite highness and condescension meet! We will be left speechless, filled with ceaseless delight and wonder as all creation acknowledges the humble Jesus as Lord over all!

REFLECT:

  • How do you see God as glorified, His perfections manifested, in Jesus’ birth? In His cross? In all creation confessing Him as Lord?
  • Take a few moments to reflect on Edwards’ words that: {in Jesus} “meet infinite highness and infinite condescension; infinite justice and infinite grace; infinite glory and lowest humility, infinite majesty and transcendent meekness.”

“From all eternity, each person—Father, Son and Holy Spirit—has
glorified, honored, and loved the other two. So there is an
‘other-orientation’ within the very being of God. When
Jesus went to the cross, he was simply acting in character.”
Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

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