Part 2- To Be Glorified On The Cross By Magnifying God’s Attributes
Colossians 2:9 “For in Him (Jesus) the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.”
Hebrews 1:3 “He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of His power.”
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, exact in nature like God, and one in perfect unity with God. The trinity is impossible for us to fully comprehend, but we can accept the vast testimony of scripture that God is one being, existing in three persons.
When Jesus came, in all that He did, He pointed constantly to the Father. He validated His own teaching by pointing to the Word of God and by constantly pointing to His being sent from the Father and speaking only that which the Father told Him to speak. There are several examples of this in the book of John, which show us that Jesus lived His life with His eyes constantly fixed on His Father, God. Here are only a few of the many scriptures found in the John chapter 8 alone.
John 8:14,16,18,28,42,& 54: “Jesus answered ‘Even if I do bear witness about myself, my testimony is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going… Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is true, for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me…I am the one who bears witness about myself, and the Father who sent me bears witness about me…When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me…If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord but He sent me… If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, ‘He is our God.’ But you have not known him. I know Him.” (See the whole chapter for the entire context).
So when we see Jesus Christ through the testimony of scripture, we can be sure that we are seeing God Himself. Therefore in this life there is no experience outside of scripture and no greater vision of God the Father than that which has been displayed in the life and death of Jesus Christ. Let us not be like Philip was when he said “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us (John 14:8),” but let us fully embrace what Jesus said of himself in response to Philip’s question: “Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father?’ Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me (John 14:9-10)?”
So then in Jesus we can see God manifested in flesh. We can hear His words, and see his emotions, and watch how he responds to the needy, the proud, the religious, to his enemies, and to his friends. Jesus came to manifest God’s name and to glorify Him, and God through the cross upholds and glorifies His Son for the world to behold. Father and Son share and work together in mutual glory, each exalting the other. As Jesus prayed “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.” Then the Holy Spirit comes and reveals these things to human hearts as stated in John 16:14 “He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you.”
Apart from us, and apart from the cross, Father, Son and Holy Spirit would possess all fullness of glory. It is not as if Jesus needed to die in order to become glorious. To be fully God is to be possessing fullness of glory through all of eternity. Jesus, fully God and fully man, for his time on earth laid aside his glory. That is, though he still possessed glory as being fully God, he did not receive recognition of it, nor demand his rights as God, but rather became a slave (see again Philippians 2:6-8).
Before Christ’s death he prayed for His own glory: “Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.” In John 12:27-28 He prayed that His Father would be glorified through His death: “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour. Father, glorify your name.”
Now we have, in Jesus Christ upon the cross, the pinnacle of God’s glory on display. Now we who have had “the eyes of our hearts enlightened (Ephesians 1:18),” can look upon the cross and see the glorious attributes of God, contradicting everything that is in the darkened heart of man, valiantly opposing the captor of our souls and pouring out love to a world of God haters. In the cross, the Lord God is magnified beyond what we could possibly conceive, though for eternity we will seek to grasp this cataclysmic event.
In Randy Alcorn’s book “If God is Good, Why is There Suffering and Evil?” he states: “Grace and forgiveness, both expressions of God’s eternal character, are moral goods, but without evil they wouldn’t have become clearly evident. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit don’t need compassion, mercy, grace, or forgiveness. These qualities could only be fully expressed to finite and fallen creatures…Some of God’s virtues will forever capture the spotlight that, without evil and suffering’s temporary hold on us, never would have taken the stage.” I would echo that, and add that at the cross, where Christ drank wrath on the behalf of criminals guilty of the highest treason, you will find the deepest act of mercy history will ever know. Having set a foundation for this truth, I will go on to try and express the mighty attributes of God that Jesus Christ has magnified by having died in the place of sinners.
(check back to read what i am working on writing- about the love, mercy, and justice of God… and maybe some more attributes too. I tend to be a bit long winded but there is so much foundational stuff that in my opinion needs to be said).