Friday, December 30, 2011

John Owen on beholding the glory of Christ


I am preaching on the Transfiguration (Mark 9:1-13) this coming Lord's Day. There is much to say about this incredible passage, but one sure outcome is a change in our life as we "behold the glory of Christ".

I like what John Owen says in his book about beholding the glory of Christ-

"In this then, I say, we may by faith behold the glory of Christ, as we shall do it by sight hereafter. If we see no glory in it, if we discern not that which is matter of eternal admiration, we walk in darkness. It is the most ineffable effect of divine wisdom and grace. Where are our hearts and minds, if we can see no glory in it? I know in the contemplation of it, it will quickly overwhelm our reason and bring our understanding into a loss; but to this loss I desire to be brought every day; for when faith can no more act itself in comprehension, when it finds the object it is fixed on too great and glorious to be brought into our minds and capacities, it will issue in holy admiration, humble adoration, and joyful thanksgiving. In and by its actings in them it fills the soul with 'joy unspeakable, and full of glory'."

2 comments:

Jim said...

A great, perplexing passage. Coming face to face with Christ's glory cannot help but shake us up.

We certainly "see" Jesus' glory in the Cross, and in the Word and Sacraments which display the Cross - and will see it manifest on the Last Day. Per Mt 25.31-46, I can't help but think that we also meet Christ and his glory in the hungry we feed, the naked we clothe, the orphans we succor, and in the sick and imprisoned we visit.

Woody Woodward said...

Owen’s thoughts took me in a similar direction. I found it fascinating when God’s glory is revealed the parallel results. In the Matthew 17:1-8 account, after Peter blows it by boldly stating “Wow, Lord this is really cool, let’s stay right here and build 3 monuments!” But God spoke… and HE rebuked impetuous Peter, telling him to be quiet and listen to HIS SON! And so Peter was instantly made aware of God’s glory and that once again, “his flesh” had failed him. And so in his sinful flesh, he fell to the ground! But Christ didn’t leave him down and out. Our loving Lord reached down, and gently touching Peter He lifted him up, telling him, “do not be afraid!” And when they stood, they saw no one there but Christ”. (Matthew 17:1-8) Christ shook them up, but also reminded these 3 they had a mission to lead.
Now they have to come down from “this mountain top experience” and have to face another dilemma. When Peter, James and John “came back to join the other 9 disciples they found a large crowd of folks arguing with them.”
Now in Mark’s chapter 9 passage, look at the parallel results when God’s glory is revealed. (27-28) But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when He had entered the house, His disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And He said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”