Have You Seen the Face of God?
The disciples of Jesus saw His glory. They gazed into His character, which is the character of God. “The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, glory as of the begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
When we see Jesus we see the Father. He “is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him” (v. 18).
The Old Testament speaks of the glory of God being so bright in radiance like the display of light that no man could approach it. The LORD is clothed with splendor and majesty. The face of Moses glowed with an irradiation or illumination in a strange and wonderful way when he came down from the mountain after speaking with God (Ex. 34:29-35). His whole personal being was mastered, captured, and illuminated by fellowship with God. There was a supreme consciousness of God’s presence.
That Shekinah glory cloud of God was seen coming down on the Tent of Meeting in the wilderness (Ex. 40:34). “And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud had settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle” (v. 35). God blessed His meeting place with His holy presence in a cloud by day and a column of fire by night. When Solomon’s Temple was dedicated God manifest His presence by filling it with His cloud of glory (1 Kings 8:10-11). “The glory of the LORD filled the house of the LORD.”
The apostle Peter, James and John were there on the mountainside when God the Father glorified His Son at His transfiguration (2 Pet. 1:16-17; Matt. 17:2). God the Father glorified His Son so that He would glorify the Father.
Jesus prays to the Father in John 17:1, 5, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee . . . . And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I ever had with Thee before the world was.”
Jesus possessed the fullness of God’s attributes and character in the inward sense. Moreover, He also possessed the fullness of God’s outward, visible glory. When the disciples looked into the face of Jesus they saw the heavenly Father. In His Incarnation Jesus laid the manifestation of His deity aside; for, if He had not, the disciples would not have been able to approach Him. However, Jesus did retain the fullness of God’s glory in the inward sense and disclosed it to His disciples. When He returns in glory we, too, will see Him as He is.
Ever since His ascension into heaven, after His resurrection, Jesus has been exalted in glory. He has received even a greater glory because of His obedience to the Father’s will. As recorded in John 17, Jesus payer to the Father was that He might again enter into this visible glory of heaven.
The first Christian martyr, Stephen, saw the glory in Acts 7:55-56. Stephen “gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, ‘Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right of God.”
These words of that martyr have been a sweet encouragement to many a martyr of Christ down through the centuries of persecuted Christianity.
Have you looked into the face of Jesus and seen the face of God? It is there we see the glory of God. Are you going through a fiery ordeal? It is here you find your strength not only to endure, but also to triumph to the praise of His glory. God supplies the strength “so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen” (1 Pet. 4:11).
Furthermore, we will rejoice with exultation when Christ is fully revealed “at the revelation of His glory” at His Second Coming (v. 13).
Jesus also prayed that we too, would share in Christ’s glory that the Father will be glorified (John 17:5, 10). To some extent we already share in it as we embody the likeness of Jesus Christ. When we embody His character and fruit of the Spirit we possess His glory. Jesus is glorified through us. Jesus prayed, “all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them” (the disciples). “But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 5:18).
There is only one way to accomplish that and God gets all the glory. God alone is responsible for the results. As we gaze into the face of Jesus by faith we are being gradually transformed into the likeness of Jesus Christ. Now when that happens God alone gets the glory. It is a work of God’s grace.
This should be motivation and encouragement for us to strive daily to glorify the name of Jesus so that He will glorify the Father. As we glorify Him, He demonstrates His glory, and the Father is glorified. We are insufficient for such a ministry, but our God is all-sufficient. We draw our sufficiency for such an awesome task from His all-sufficiency (2 Cor. 3:5-18).
Today, we glorify Jesus Christ as we show forth His character in our daily lives.
One great and glorious day we shall behold His glory in all of its splendor when He arrives on His cloud of glory (Acts 1:9-11).
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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
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Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.
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