How Do We Behold the Glory of Christ Today?

Not with physical eyes, but with what Paul calls in Ephesians 1:18 “the eyes of your hearts.” Remember 2 Corinthians 4:6 says, God “has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” So, the way that we behold the glory of Christ now is not in some mystical vision, but in the Word of God.

Consider, for example, Revelation 1 in which John receives a magnificent vision of the glorified Christ. But observe what the Lord says to John in verse 11:

Write what you see in a book and send it to the seven churches.

It is very significant that Christ wants the vision written down and sent to the churches. He could have appeared to each of the seven churches, but He did not. You and I don’t get an ecstatic vision like John did, but we do get a book that records the vision. The implication is that Christ wants us to see His glory in Holy Scripture. John got the vision. We get the book. And when we see something of the glory of Christ in the Word and meditate on it, we are changed.

Think also of Luke 24. The risen Christ appears to two disciples on the road to Emmaus. He could have immediately revealed Himself to them and taken away their grief and doubts. But He does not. In fact, Luke 24:16 says that the disciples “eyes were kept (or prevented) from recognizing him.”

Why? Because Jesus wanted them to see from Scripture the things concerning Himself.

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27)

When their eyes were opened to recognize Him, they said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (24:32). That is where we behold the glory of Christ now as we await to see Him one day face to face.

Martin Luther said of Christ: “For although he is everywhere and in all creatures and I may find him in stone, fire, water, or rope, since he is assuredly there, yet he does not wish me to seek him apart from the Word.… There if you seek him you will truly find, namely in the Word.”

The implication is obvious. We need to spend time reading and studying and mediating on the Word of God. That’s where we behold the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. And it is through beholding that we are increasingly transformed into His image.

Our Problem

Part of our problem is we don’t have much of an appetite for meditating on the glory of Christ. We have stuffed ourselves with so much entertainment and so many diversions that when it comes to something substantive like contemplating the glories of Christ, it often does not resonate with us. We are so full of junk food that when we come before the exquisite banquet of the glories of Christ, we’re not very hungry.

Perhaps it is time to turn off the computer or TV or put away other distractions in order to spend more time in the Word. And as we do, ask God to open the eyes of our hearts to see Jesus; to thrill our souls with the Lord of Glory.

John Owen, in his classic book The Glory of Christ, says “we need to think much about [Christ] if we wish to enjoy him fully (1 Pet. 1:8).” But our culture does not encourage us to think and mediate and reflect deeply on things of eternal value like the glories of Christ. And so Owen says this:

"If we are satisfied with vague ideas about him we shall find no transforming power communicated to us. But when we cling whole-heartedly to him and our minds are filled with thoughts of him and we constantly delight ourselves in him, then spiritual power will flow from him to purify our hearts, increase our holiness, strengthen our graces, and sometimes fill us 'with joy inexpressible and full of glory.'"

In the next article in our series, we will contemplate the glories of Christ.

Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson (PhD, University of Wales) has been teaching in the Bible and Theology Department at Emmaus since 1999. He is the author of the book "The Doctrines of Grace in an Unexpected Place." He and his wife Tonya have 4 children and live in Dubuque, IA.