Monday, April 4, 2016

We Gain the Life of Christ

image used under Creative Commons license, photo from Flickr, by user fairytaleweaver
John 17:20-24  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

We're still looking at Christ's prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.  We looked at part of the passage in John 17:20-24, last week.  But, today, we're going to focus on one word.

When we look at today's passage, we get a mental image from our concept of one word, "glory". Take a look.

John 17:24  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

It says, "that they may behold my glory".  That's the part that brings up our stereotype mental image.  We have a picture of Christ backlit by spokes or streams of light and/or surrounded by an aura of light.  That's what all the artists use because we don't have the capacity to depict or picture glory and worthiness of worship in any other way.  But go back a couple of verses.

John 17:22  And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

The glory that the Father gave Jesus is passed on to us by Him.  That one might just slip by without us noticing it.  But it's important.  Are we worthy of glory or praise or worship in the same way the persons of the Trinity are?  Do they glorify and worship each other?  That sounds pretty self centered, not in a good way.

The Greek word for "glory" is doxa.  While it's used for all the things we mentioned, there's more.  It also speaks of honor and dignity.  And that creates a very different picture.  Instead of a God with a super sized ego that requires constant worship and attention, we see the three persons of the Trinity honoring and dignifying each other.  Yes, there's worship and praise and glory, but not because God is a needy being.  We're blessed by God in gaining some of that dignity and honor.

We might think about that and wonder "What about me, my flesh, is dignified or honorable?  That doesn't make sense.".  We'd be right.  But, as believers, we're not limited to our flesh.  Think about something Jesus said of the Scribes and Pharisees.

Matthew 23:27  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.

That's an interesting description.  Outwardly, they're like a nice, whitewashed tomb.  Nice to look at. But there's nothing more than dead, lifeless bones on the inside.  In contrast, the moment we accept salvation, we gain the life of Christ.  We become a room or container, but for a living God!  And that's why we have doxa, glory!  God sees His Son in us and we gain His honor and dignity.

We've said before that there are so many things we gain from having our relationship with God.  If we think about it, we're given so much more than God gets by having us worship and glorify Him.  And He does that intentionally, because He loves us.  Which brings us to a final question.  How are you feeling about your doxa, today?

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