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The Glorified Christ

In the television show Undercover Boss, corporate executives disguise themselves and pretend to be ordinary employees. At the end of the show they meet with those with whom they have worked side by side. The employees are often astonished by the transformation.

Jesus did not come in disguise, pretending to be someone He was not. But He did temporarily lay aside the glory that was His due as God. According to John 1:1 and 14, prior to taking a human nature to Himself Jesus was both with God and was God. John saw Jesus glorified briefly when He was transfigured on the mountain (see Matt. 17:2; Mark 9:2). But during His earthly ministry Jesus revealed a different kind of glory. As John and the other disciples lived day to day with the God who had become flesh, they observed what New Testament scholar Leon Morris has described as His “humble glory.” Not only was this the glory of Jesus’ lowliness, it was the glory of His holiness.

All of this changed with Christ’s resurrection and ascension. The Jesus who appeared to John at the beginning of the book of Revelation was the same person the Apostle had known before. But John had never seen Jesus like this, not even on the Mount of Transfiguration. John says that when he was confronted by Jesus in His glory, “I fell at his feet as though dead” (v. 17).

As if to reassure John that this was the same Savior he had always known, Jesus reassured His stricken disciple with a reassuring touch and words of comfort. Jesus interpreted the vision for John and assigned to him the task of recording what he had seen for seven churches in Asia Minor (now known as Turkey).

Apply the Word

Have you become too comfortable with Jesus? Does your church’s worship do justice to His glory? Jesus’ words of assurance suggest that He does not necessarily want us to worship Him with our faces in the dirt. But John’s experience does tell us that we have probably underestimated Him. Ask the Savior to give you a fresh awareness of His glory.

BY Dr. John Koessler

Dr. John Koessler, who retired as professor emeritus from Moody Bible Institute, formerly served in the division of applied theology and church ministry. John and his wife Jane enjoy living in a lakeside town in Michigan. A prolific writer, John’s books include Dangerous Virtues: How to Follow Jesus When Evil Masquerades as Good (Moody Publishers), The Radical Pursuit of Rest (InterVarsity), The Surprising Grace of Disappointment (Moody), and True Discipleship (Moody). John is a contributing editor and columnist for Today in the Word.

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