Monday, June 15, 2009

The Glory of God

Many times in the scripture, you read "you will see the glory of God". So I wondered...what is the glory of God? It is something we see on earth or something we must wait to see in heaven? Is it an epiphany moment or an event in which the sky opens up and angels sing? What is the 'glory of God'?

John 11 is the story of the death of Lazarus. Lazarus was Mary and Martha's brother and Jesus loved that whole family. Jesus was sent word about Lazarus' sickness but Jesus was in another town, Jerusalem. Jesus said in verse 4, "This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God's glory so that God's Son may be glorified through it." In verse 14, Jesus knows Lazarus is dead. By the time Jesus had gotten to Lazarus' hometown of Bethany, he had been dead for 4 days. When Jesus got to the tomb, He told Martha to roll away the stone to the entrance. Martha seemed horrified and said, "for he (Lazarus) has been there for days." During that time, the Jews believed that on the fourth day of someone's death, the face began to decompose. I think Martha was afraid of what they may see and who could blame her?

Jesus said again in verse 40, "Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?" And then be proceeds to lift up an audible prayer to the Father basically saying to God, "I know you but the people around these parts need to see what you can do when all hope seems lost." (Note: that is the 'Barbie translation' of verse 41)

Then, Jesus tells Lazarus to "come out" and sure enough, he does.

So what is the 'glory of God'? Well, I believe it can be many things, but in this instance, I believe it is the revealed power of God. When circumstances are conquered, it brings glory to God, literally, as Jesus did in this case, or spiritually, as in the case of those who with God's help live above their physical limitations. To 'see the glory of God' is when you see something happen that cannot be explained any other way. When God wants to reveal His glory, He will take away all human capability so the miracle or outcome can only be explained as God having taken control.

I witnessed this first hand when my brother had a massive heart attack in July 2007. You can read more in my blog archives on my August 10, 2007 blog entry "An Address In Heaven".

Back to the story of Lazarus' death and raising, notice what the Bible says about all of those Jews standing around watching all of this in verse 45, "Therefore many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did, put their faith in Him." That was a miracle in itself!

You see, many times we wonder why God won't move in a certain area of our life. God won't move until He believes all other human solutions and answers are taken away so that He can step in and solve the problem and He can get the glory for it. When that happens, that's when we get to see the 'glory of God'!

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