Sunday, 18 December 2016

Jesus came to earth... to be glorified over us




Finally.  Jesus got through the suffering and the death, and reached the glory.  The happy ending – or possibly the happy beginning.  This is what it’s all been leading up to.  Did he really have to go through all that hard stuff first?

As you can probably guess by now, the answer is a resounding yes.  Across the pages of the New Testament, it rings like a clanging bell:  “Cross… glory.  Cross… glory.  Cross… glory.”  It was only through the humiliation that Jesus obtained his exaltation.  Only through being born in a stable that he became king of the universe.  Only through dying that he gave eternal life.

And the amazing thing is that once again, we can share in this.  Jesus was glorified as a person; the whole point of his coming was to bring our humanity back into the presence of God.  We are human whether we like it or not.  He is human because he chose to be; and in that choosing he showed us the path to redemption.  We share in his suffering, we are baptised into his death, we are raised with him in glory.

Sometimes that glory can be hard to find.  The world around us, and indeed our own lives, don’t seem to reflect much of it.  Jesus may indeed be sat at the right hand of God, we feel, but in that case he is way up there, and we’re still struggling down here.  “As it is,” admits the writer to the Hebrews, “we do not yet see everything in subjection to him (that is, Jesus).”  If everything is meant to be under his control, sometimes there is precious little sign of it.

“But,” the writer continues, “But we see Jesus.”  We do not yet see everything in subjection to him; but we see Jesus.  The world is not as we hope it will be; but we see Jesus.  And the more we look for him, the more we look at him, the more we see his glory filtering into even the darkest of times.

When God seems far away, we see Jesus, who came to reflect his love to us.

When our burdens seem too much to bear, we see Jesus, who came to suffer with us.

When the fear of death casts a chill over our hearts, we see Jesus, who came to die for us.

When all we can feel is the humiliation of the cross, we see Jesus, who came to be glorified over us.

And as we see more clearly, we find ourselves sharing more deeply with the one who came to share with us.  

And as we share in his love, his suffering, and his death, a transformation happens, and we find our way to glory.

And in a blaze of golden light, the sun rises on Christmas morning.  And we see Jesus.

Photo attribution: Mhuntington1689 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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