Last night in my Christmas Eve message on John 8:12 I spoke of Jesus as “being so full of Himself.” I continue to imagine what it would have been like to have heard Him say sentences like “I am the light of the world.” The Jews listening to His words beneath the menorahs in the temple that day would have connected the historical dots. Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of everything the Feast of Booths typified, including the shekinah glory of God that led the Israelites faithfully through their wilderness wanderings (Exodus 13:21-22). When He said, “I am the light of the world,” He was claiming to be the splendid radiance of God’s glory on display in a human body. Full of Himself, indeed, and rightly so.
As bright as that glory did shine in our Lord’s earthly ministry, it was a glory veiled by the humiliation of His incarnation. We celebrate this mystery, Immanuel, God with us, each Christmas, beholding the glory of the only begotten, full of grace and truth (John 1:17-18). Each Christmas Eve when I preach I try to strip back something of the curtain of our fleshly existence that dims that glory before our eyes that we might see it more clearly with eyes of faith. We marvel, but as those who look through a glass darkly.
It shall not always be so. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 speaks of a day when Christ shall come again “to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed.”
Isaac Ambrose (1604-1664), the Presbyterian minister known for his exceptionally holy life, described the day of Christ’s coming this way:
When the saints shall but look upon Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, they exceedingly admire Him. . . . All that believe shall break out into admiration of Jesus Christ. At the first sight, they shall observe such excellence in Jesus Christ that they shall be infinitely taken with it. Here [on earth] we speak of Christ, and in speaking, we admire. But how they will admire [Him] when they shall not only speak or hear, but also see and behold Him, Who is the express image of God, and the brightness of His Father’s glory (Heb. 1:3)! O the luster that He casts forth each way! Is not His very body more sparkling than the diamond before the sun? Yea, more than the sun itself now shining at noonday? How should the saints but wonder at this sight? Oh! There is more beauty and glory in Jesus Christ than ever their thoughts and imaginations could possibly reach! There is more weight of sweetness, joy, and delight in Jesus Christ than either the seeing eye, hearing ear, or the vast understanding heart (which can multiply and add still to any former thoughts) can possibly conceive (1Co 2:9)! Every soul will cry out then, “I believed [I would] see much glory in Jesus Christ when I saw Him. I had some twilight or moonlight glances of Christ on earth: but—O blind I! O narrow I!—[I] could never have faith, opinion, thought, or imagination to fathom the thousand thousandth part of the worth and incomparable excellence that I now see in Him!”
Even so, come quickly Lord Jesus!