Episode 10: Glory | 10 MGJ Devotional Podcast

Episode 10: Glory


The Word came in human flesh and resided
among us like a nomadic traveler,
then we saw the Word’s glory, a glory
associated only with one uniquely with the father,
glory filled with grace and truth. (John 1:14)

     Where does one begin discussing the Glory of God, glory unlike any other, glory incomparable and immense? Yet, glory visible and recognizable. God’s glory is truly no mystery. As this gospel indicates, it is observed when God is present among humans.

In the Old Testament

     The Greek word, doxa, is not always translated with the word glory in the Greek Old Testament. These other uses help clarify the breadth of this term. In the Jacob story, his brothers-in-law were speaking against him and declaring that he had received all of his “doxa” from their father’s possessions, thus depriving them of their “doxa.” (Genesis 31:1) In the Joseph narrative, Joseph commands his brothers to return to Canaan and tell their father about the “doxa” Joseph held in Egypt-a reference to his honored status and power. (Genesis 45:13). Doxa, or glory, obviously can refer to elements which indicate one’s personal standing or the abundance of one’s possessions.

     After the scene at the Red Sea, or Sea of Reeds, the Lord prepares to show his “doxa” or glory to the people, despite their complaints. Moses then indicates they will have meat to eat in the evening and bread to eat in the morning. At this point, the Glory of God appears to be represented by the abundant provision he is able to share with his people. (Exodus 16:6-8) When Moses goes up the mountain of Sinai the “doxa” of God appears as a consuming fire, and yet Moses is not consumed. (Exodus 24:16-17)

     In the Old Testament, glory possesses a broader sense of meaning than is often recognized-as though glory were only a bright light or shining illumination when God is present.

Elsewhere in John

     The Gospel of John speaks of glory 19 times, including after the wedding at Cana, in Chapters 5 and 8, in the Lazarus episode, and in Chapter 17. These don’t even include the numerous uses of its verb form, glorify.

     After supplying wine for a wedding which had run dry, the gospel writer summarizes the event and the response by Jesus’ followers.

Jesus performed this first sign in Cana of Galilee
and revealed his glory, then his disciples
believed in him. (2:11)

Jesus’ ability to provide abundantly during a time of need appears to be the focus of this revelation of his glory, as in the Exodus account following the Lord’s deliverance at the Sea of Reeds.

     The story of Lazarus-what some consider Jesus’ last sign-is framed by the language of God’s glory. Before Jesus goes to Bethany, he speaks to his disciples to clarify what will occur. (11:4) Later, when standing before the tomb of Lazarus Martha is not fully certain as to what Jesus seeks to accomplish by opening the tomb and becomes concerned about the smell that may be released. He reminds her of something he said earlier, although it is not recorded in this episode.

Did I not tell you that if you believe
you will see the glory of God? (11:40)

The context seems to indicate that God’s glory will be revealed in the activity of Jesus, specifically waking Lazarus from his sleep/death.

     Chapters 5 and 8 share similar conversations around the issue of seeking and receiving glory, either from men or from God. In this case, glory is more appropriately identified with honor, as in the Joseph narrative. The episode in John 5, after the lame man was healed by the pool of water in Jerusalem, focuses on receiving honor from men. It begins with Jesus emphasizing that he does not receive glory/honor from men (5:41) and closes with him discussing their penchant for doing so and the repercussions.

How is it possible for you to believe the one God sent
when you are receiving glory/honor from others
and do not seek the glory/honor that comes
from God alone? (5:44)

Jesus clearly identifies the ability to believe with seeking God’s glory/honor, perhaps providing a framework for Jesus’ later discussion with Martha.

     During the lengthy prayer of Jesus recorded in John 17 at the time of the Passover festival, the discussion of glory appears to center on where glory resides. Jesus’ activity has given glory to the Father and he requests that he might share that glory as he once did At the Beginning. (17:5) Later Jesus indicates that the glory he himself had received as the WORD become flesh, has been given to these disciples for whom he prays. The outcome of such glory is oneness or unity. (17:22) Finally, he prays that these disciples might see the glory he once had At the Beginning as the WORD with God. Glory, it would appear, is more than a shining illumination of God’s presence, but embraces the fullness and power of the divine Trinity.

     Before Jesus heals the blind man in the city during the Festival of Booths, he describes this particular incident as demonstrating the works of God. (9:3) The once-blind man credits Jesus with his enlightened condition when asked by those whom he encountered on the pathway.

“The man called Jesus made some clay and
applied it to my eyes, then told me to go
to the Siloam and wash them.
So I went, I washed, I see.” (9:11)

Later, he is questioned by the religious leaders and he tells them, “he put clay on my eyes and I washed, now I see.” (9:15) After searching further for an alternative solution to this situation, these leaders call him back and urge him to change his opinion of how he could now see.

Then they called the man who was blind
a second time and told him, “Give God glory,
we know that this man who healed you
is a sinner.” (9:24)

In this incident, as with so many others, glory is associated with one who has authority and power to provide beyond the expectations or even the wildest imaginations of humans.

Concluding Thought

     What was revealed in the life of Jesus of Nazareth? He did not rule Egypt like Joseph. He was not a leader for 40 years like Moses. Instead, Jesus allowed humanity to see the true glory of God, a glory defined by grace and by truth. God is not merely an inapproachable light or a consuming fire by nature, although he is both: inapproachable to some and consuming to others. God’s glory is seen in his provision to his people and in his concern that lies would not inform our view of his creation. Jesus provided directly to the many in desperate need around him, thus undermining the social fabric that perpetuated a false story of God’s provisions. Jesus brought truth in his words, thus confronting the lies found in the words of others. The glory of God is the life of Jesus, both then and now.


     The glory of God is found in the presence of God. In order to experience this glory, you and I must become aware of God’s presence. This awareness requires a change in our focus. Rather than looking at those things around us we worked for, we must train our eyes to see those elements we did not earn. Take a moment and write down on paper two provisions by God where you experience his abundance.

     Because of what God is doing in our present life, opportunities abound in coming days to experience God’s glory when and where we least expect it. Take a moment and write down one element of life where you, like Martha, cannot envision any positive outcome from God opening that grave.

     We rarely see God’s glory because we don’t know where his glory can be found. It can be found in our every moment of existence should we know where to turn our focus.