Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Glory of Man or The Glory of God?

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. 37 Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, 38 so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
39 Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,

40 “He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”
41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. 42 Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; 43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. (John 12: 37-43)
They loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. It is still the problem today. I often get a kick out of people. They think they are free thinkers, and they think this because they think exactly what everyone else around them thinks, and for that reason they think they are smart. They are told they are smart. I think we are all like that to a certain degree. I admit I have a problem, if someone doesn’t agree with me my first instinct is to think they are stupid. When someone says something I agree with I think they are smart. But thinking free or otherwise as little to do with that. Sometimes when I take half a minute to listen to the person I disagree with I find that I’m the stupid one. But such is the world, and being told you are smart is the glory that comes from the world when you agree with them.
Free thinking, you challenge evolution and the world jumps on you for not being a free thinker. If you dare to believe that Jesus is God, and actually take time to investigate the historical record for the resurrection of Jesus, dare to challenge the stupidity behind “the Zeitgeist” and you are told you are not a free thinker. But then a free thinker isn’t going to be cowed to that way. So it is the free thinkers that are most often not recognized for their free thinking. To be a Christian you really have to not care what the world thinks. For the world thinks the glory that comes from man is greater than that that comes from God.
The glory of God comes cloaked in a cross. It doesn’t look like glory it is pain and suffering of God himself, and it offers the same to those who pick up their cross and follow him. It does not look like glory. It looks like suffering and defeat, weakness and pain. I live in a culture that despises the cross. My fellow lapidary craftsmen look at me a bit sideways for making them, even when they are struck by how beautiful they are. They don’t understand why Christians find such delight in them. But it was fun this morning when a woman told me how it was that I have let her see God won’t throw away his atonement over a cup of coffee. I asked her if she knew why it was that Jesus died on the cross for her sins, and she responded because of love, his love for me. That is the glory of God right there, his love for man is his glory. And for that reason, we wear crosses, decorate our homes and churches’ with them, the cross reminds us of God’s love for man, his atonement. It is a sermon in itself. This is the glory of God that despite all appearances far surpasses the pat on the back from a fellow dupe.

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