The Glory Of Christ – Beheld
By Charles H. Spurgeon
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).
...Oh! to behold Christ’s glory! This is soul work, saving work, blessed work, everlasting work: have you any interest in it? But you answer, “How can we behold His glory?” Why, faith sees it.
...My brethren, what a glory have we beheld by faith! By faith, in the first place, we have beheld the glory of His complex person. We have known and believed that He is the everlasting Word, the veritable Son of the Father, we have beheld Him by faith, as dwelling with the Father or ever the world was, the beloved of His Father’s soul; we have seen Him and we have marked that His goings-forth are of old, even from everlasting, we have seen Him weighing the clouds, measuring the channels of the great deep, planning the heavens, and meting out the sea, we have seen Him with the line and with the plummet, making all things according to His wisdom, and the purpose of the counsel of His will, for “without Him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). We have seen Him as God, seated upon the throne of His Father, and we have believed that the sea roareth only as He bids it, that the earth with all the creatures that are therein obeys His glorious will. Lo, in His hands today the keys of heaven and death, and hell! We have had no doubts whatever as to His divinity, for we have seen and known that He is “very God of very God.” “Christ...who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen” (Rom. 9:5).
We have seen Him too as man. We have perceived that He is of the substance of His mother, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh; man in all infirmities, but not man in any guiltiness of His own; man weak, suffering, hungry, thirsty, dying, but without spot or wrinkle – pure, the immaculate Lamb of God. We have beheld Him in the glory of this complex person – not God deteriorated to man, not man deified to God, but God, very God, and very man; God in all that is God-like, man in all that is manlike, and we have adored Him as such. We have seen in Him the lustre of a beauty which far outshines all that earth can present us, or all that heaven can offer. Whom have we on earth but Jesus? Who is there in heaven that we can desire beside Him?
His Love and Self-Sacrifice
Next, we have beheld His glory, not merely in His person, but in the motive for which He undertook His great work. That motive was love – love to worthless creatures, love to those who could never repay His love, love to men who crucified the Lord of glory, and we have said as we have seen this love sparkling like a jewel in a black setting: “There is a glory here in this love that is never to be found elsewhere.”
Then, we have beheld the glory of His self-sacrifice. We have looked upon Him giving up everything for us, renouncing His crown and scepter, laying aside His royal robes and splendor, leaving His Father’s house, and palaces, and honor, becoming man, nay, a poor man, a despised afflicted man; nay, becoming obedient to death, even the death of the cross. We have read history through, but we never saw a self-sacrifice that could equal His. In Him selfishness never lived, and therefore, never needed to be kept in check. He was not His own; His whole history could be written in this: “He saved others, Himself He cannot save” (Matt. 27:42).
Glorious Christ, in this whilst Thou was rejected of men, we have beheld Thy glory.
His Endurance and Perseverance
We have beheld, moreover, the glory of His endurance. He is tempted in every point, yet fails in none. The world’s glory lies at His feet, He chooses rather our salvation than the glories of earth. He counted the reproach that He should bear for us greater riches than all the treasures of Egypt. We see Him mocked, yet never reviling, spit upon, yet never spitting back again even so much as a word of venom. We see Him despised, yet never attempting to clear Himself; accused, yet silent before the judgment seat; so giving up Himself that He can bear all things, whatsoever they may be. Many waters could not quench His love, neither could the floods drown it. Though all the substance of the world’s house was offered Him that He might renounce His love, yet did He utterly despise the world. Who was ever such a martyr as the Savior? Who endured as He did? Who bore such contradiction of sinners against Himself?
Great God, O Jesu, – for such Thou art – Great God, there is none like Thee in the omnipotence of Thine endurance. We have seen Thy glory, even when Thou didst tabernacle among men.
And we have seen His glory also in His great and blessed perseverance even to the end, having loved His own which were in the world He loved them to the end: having undertaken He went through, He never paused till He could say, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Then He died, but not till then. Now today behold His perseverance. For Zion’s sake He does not rest, and for Jerusalem’s sake He never holds His peace day nor night until God shall be pleased to make her glory come forth as the brightness, and her righteousness as a lamp that burneth....
His Final Triumph
And then, we have beheld His glory in His final triumph. Yes, brethren, by faith we have seen in the very moment when the sun was darkened, and when the earth was shaken, and the rocks rent asunder, we have seen Christ darkening the world’s glories, we have seen Him rending rocky hearts, and bidding the dead arise. We have seen Him in the very instant when He died, ...pursuing with thunderbolts the prince of hell, and driving him to darker shades below, we have seen Him grasping at last the tyrant in His hands, and chaining him to His chariot wheel. Our faith has beheld Him riding up the everlasting hills, leading captivity captive, we have seen the gates wide open flung while angels said, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in” (Psa. 24:7). We have joined by faith the triumph and have swelled the train, we have heard the acclamation of the spirits of the just made perfect; we have heard above all the voice of God, “Well done, Thou hast finished Thy Father’s will.” We have seen Him ascend in august majesty the throne which is His resting place, and we have seen Him sit down on the right hand of the Father, while from heaven and earth there went up one prolonged note of praise, “Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah! The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.”
Nay, our faith has gone beyond the mere matters of the past. We have beheld His glory, we have seen Him as one by one His sheep are brought, and His prayer is heard, “Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am” (John 17:24). We have seen Him going forth day after day in the chariot of salvation scattering with both His hands His mercies among the poverty-stricken sons of men, and we have cried unto Him, “Gird Thy sword upon Thy thigh, O most Mighty” (Psa. 45:3).
Often has our prayer been, Come forth, O Jesus, heaven obeys Thee, earth shakes at Thy presence, hell trembles at Thee, devils are dismayed. Come forth, put Thine arrow to the string, and lift up Thy glittering spear. Who, who shall stay Thy course, or in Thy presence stand? Like chaff before the wind so shall they be driven and as stubble before the flame so shall they be utterly consumed.
We have been helped to fly even to the great end of all things, and by faith have seen His second advent. We have beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. We have seen Him come –
“But not the same
As once in lowliness He came,
A silent Lamb before His foes,
A weary man, and full of woes.”
We have seen Him come –
“With dreadful form,
With rainbow-wreath and robes of storm;
On cherub wings, and wings of wind,
Appointed Judge of all mankind!”
And then we have seen the judgment; we have beheld the reeling earth unable to bear the splendor of His triumph; we have heard the wailings of His enemies; we have seen them melt as wax before the flame, utterly consumed like the fat of rams upon His altar. We have at last, by faith, seen the end, when He shall give up the kingdom to God, even our Father; we have heard, I say, the last word of the whole history in the shout of complete victory –
“Lo, Jehovah’s banners furled
Sheathed His sword: He speaks – ‘tis done!
And the kingdoms of this world
Are the kingdoms of His Son.
“Then the end, – beneath His rod,
Man’s last enemy shall fall;
Hallelujah! Christ in God,
God in Christ is all in all.”