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The Glory of God

Jesus prayed, “Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

The Glory of God conjures up sermons from sweaty revivals, focused on obligatory submission to God rather than his parental love. This phrase also repels me from the bookends of Scripture where God is doing a lot of creating and destroying. I often avoid the Psalms and the psalmist’s search for righteous judgment and the revelation of God’s glory, not because I don’t want God to have glory, I just associate glory with power, might, strength, and inaccessibility.

Of course this topic is too large to encapsulate in few words and should be opened to the breadth of Scripture but generally speaking, the Glory of God has seemed by many as out of reach, unattainable and unnecessarily large for a kingdom that Jesus explains is more like a mustard seed than a mountain.

Jesus prayed, “Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

These red words from the Gospel of John can be overlooked if not looked at a little closer. It seems Jesus is asking for something. He asks God for His people to be with Him and to see His glory. In other words Jesus is asking the Father for intimate friendship with His disciples. What familiar desires these are, deep longing to be known and seen as we are.

Flashback. Upon Mount Sinai, on the brink of war, Moses and God are intensely and intimately conversing. God tells Moses, “My presence will be with you and will give you rest.” Moses, believing what God had said, yet honest in his disbelief, asks God, Show me Your glory.

God warns Moses, “No man shall look upon Me and live.”

As an aside, I don’t know what it is about a mortal seeing God in all his glory that would cause instant death. I mean, what would the technical cause of death be? Eyes exploded? Brain exploded? I am at least certain that something would explode… Regardless, this is a rare event of deep intimacy.

God allowed Moses to see his glory but I have always been subconsciously curious as to why he allowed him to see only his back. Was God withholding from Moses? Was he begrudgingly giving Moses what he wanted like a father appeasing a teething two year-old?

Maybe but maybe not – Perhaps Moses was the first person to have the audacity to ask? After all gods are not friends or fathers to be known but merely disciplinarian providers to be appeased and feared. Right?

Maybe all along God wanted his people to see him. At the very least Moses did not choose to see God but God chose to reveal himself to Moses.

Jesus prayed, “I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me…”

Surely our deepest longing is rooted here, in the longing of Jesus, to be known as we are and to not be left alone.

Potentially the God we see in scripture, though powerful, mighty and awesome is also deep friendship and pure intimacy. His seemingly unattainable grandeur is found only as we enter into mutual sharing covenant with God.

What if God’s glory is simply God in his fullness, longing to be with his children?