Glory Topical Study

Preaching and Worship Resources about Glory

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Where God is concerned, glory is radiant presence. It's recognized weightiness or worthiness. In John's gospel, God and Jesus' recognized weightiness or worthiness consists especially in self-spending love.

In Scripture

Mount Sinai "Then Moses went up on the mountain, and the cloud covered the mountain. The glory of the Lord settled on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it for six days; on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the cloud. Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel" (Ex. 24:15-17).

Crowned with Glory and Honor "What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them? Yet you have made them a little lower than God, and crowned them with glory and honor" (Ps. 8:4-5).

The Heavens Are Telling "The heavens are telling the glory of God; and the firmament proclaims his handiwork" (Ps. 19:1).

The King of Glory "Lift up your heads, O gates! and be lifted up, O ancient doors! that the King of glory may come in" (Ps. 24:9).

The Lord of Hosts "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory" (Isa. 6:3).

"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you" (Isa. 60:1-2).

The Shepherds in the Field "In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified" (Luke 2:8-9).

The Glory of the Father's Only Son "And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).

Revealing Jesus' Glory "The steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from. . . . Jesus did this . . . and revealed his glory" (John 2:9, 11).

The Son of Man to Be Glorified "Jesus answered them, `The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit" (John 12:23-24).

"When [Judas] had gone out, Jesus said, `Now the Son of Man has been glorified, and God has been glorified in him'" (John 13:31).

Passing on Glory (Jesus speaking to his Father) "The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one" (John 17:22).

Points to Ponder

Mr. Sinai When Moses went up on Mt. Sinai, the glory of the Lord hovered over the mountain like a bonfire inside a cloud of smoke. The cloud and the fire were already familiar to the Israelites, because God had led them out of Egypt by means of a mysterious pillar of cloud each day and a mysterious pillar of fire each night.

The Word Made Flesh When the fourth gospel wants to describe the Word made flesh, it says that he "became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory." John says "we have seen his glory," and a Jewish reader would think at once of the tabernacle and the temple. Of course, glory is all over the place in the Old Testament. God's glory hangs over Israel in the open air. It settles over Mt. Sinai inside a cloud, so that you have this eerie atmospheric combination of a smoky haze covering a fierce fire. Glory is in the stars because the heavens declare the glory of God. Glory is on human heads because God has made us in his image and crowned us like kings and queens. He's crowned us with glory and honor. Sometimes a prophet will claim that the whole earth is full of God's glory.

Consuming Fire Glory is all over the place, but in a Jewish mind the glory is especially in the tabernacle and then the temple. It's almost a consuming fire, and there are times when Moses in the tabernacle or the priests in the temple have to back away from their worship. God's glory is too bright. The glory is too hot today. You might say that we human beings are like moths drawn to the flame of God's glory, but it's a consuming fire. You have to watch yourself around the glory.

Terrifying That explains Luke's account of the shepherds outside Bethlehem when Jesus was born: when the glory of the Lord shone around them, they were terrified.

Theophanic Luminosity Glory is theophanic luminosity, which is a fancy way of saying it is radiant presence. Radiance, splendor, magnificence, light, brilliance — all are in the cognitive field of glory. But glory, both in Hebrew and Greek, also conveys a sense of weightiness, worthiness, gravitas. When the King of glory comes in, he's too big and too heavy for the gates and doors. They have to rise right up off their hinges to admit him. Human beings themselves have great dignity because they are crowned with God's glory. We may be nobility in ruins, but we are still nobility. But glory is especially recognized weightiness and worthiness. In Isaiah 60, the nations of the world bring their national treasures into the city of God. Lebanon brings its lumber, because that's its glory. Lumber is what Lebanon is known for.

Self-Spending Love In John 2, 12, 13, and 17 Jesus shows self-spending love by making wine, by being willing to die for his people, by washing his disciples' feet and by feeding even the traitor Judas, and by praying earnestly for his disciples and for those whom they will recruit to the cause — all while his own life is hanging by a thread. This self-spending love is what Jesus learned from his Father, who loves the unlovely, who pours rain on the fields of the unjust as well as the just, who is willing to be vulnerable to sinners, and who, every autumn, turns water into wine in the vineyards of Chile, Australia, California, France, and South Africa. In his self-spending love, Jesus just does what he sees his father doing.

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Scripture quotations are from New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.