An excerpt from We Would See Jesus
For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
— 2 Corinthians:4:6
What exactly is it that we see when we look into the face of Jesus Christ? The verse we are considering says we see not only “the light of the knowledge of God” but also the “light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In Him we see not only God but His glory displayed. This gives us a new understanding of that which makes God glorious—and it comes as both a surprise and a shock. For the face that reveals the glory of God is a marred face, spat upon and disfigured by the malice of men. The prophetic word of Isaiah concerning Him [says] “His visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isaiah:52:14)....
But, you say, that is not a vision of glory, but of shame and disgrace! However, it is glory as God counts glory, for the glory of God consists in something other than what we suppose. We are always falling into the mistake of thinking God is “such an one as ourselves” (Psalm:50:21) and therefore that His glory consists in much the same things as that in which man’s glory consists, only on a larger scale.
Man’s glory is normally thought to lie in his ability to exalt himself, and to humble others to his will. That is glory, that is power, says the world. “Men will praise thee when thou doest well to thyself” (Psalm:49:18). How often have we coveted the glory of being able to sit at a desk as a high administrative chief and at the touch of a button command men to do what we want! Glory in a man’s eyes is always that which exalts him.
In Jesus, however, we see that God’s glory consists in the very reverse—not so much in His ability to exalt Himself and humble man, but in His willingness to humble Himself for the sake of man; not so much in a mighty display of power that would break in pieces those that oppose Him, but rather in the hiding of that power and the showing of grace to the undeserving when they turn to Him in repentance. When Moses said, “I beseech thee, show me thy glory,” God replied, “I will make all my goodness pass before thee” (Exodus:33:18-19). Not “I will make all My power, My majesty, My holiness pass before thee” but “I will make all My goodness to the weak, the sinful, and the undeserving pass before thee.”
In showing His goodness (grace, as it is called in the New Testament) He was showing His glory. His glory is His grace (Ephesians:1:6). It is this that makes the angels hide their faces and bow in wondering adoration of God. And it is this glory which is fully seen in the face of Jesus and nowhere else. “In Him most perfectly expressed, the Father’s glories shine.”
This was the concept of glory that occupied the Savior’s mind. On one occasion He said, “The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified” (John:12:23). A few verses further on He speaks of it as an hour when He would be lifted up and would draw all men to Himself (John:12:32). Again and again He had said, “Mine hour is not yet come.” Now He says, “It is come.” Were we reading all this for the first time, we would surely feel like saying at this point, “Never was the hour of glory and vindication more merited than in His case, for none ever walked the path of vilification and opposition more patiently than He!” What is our surprise, then, when we discover that He is speaking not of being lifted up on a throne but on a tree, as a public spectacle of shame—and all that for rebellious man, that He might save him from the miseries of his sin. “This,” says Jesus in effect, “is the hour of My glory, for it is the hour of My grace to sinners.” In Jesus, then, we see that God’s highest glory consists in His securing our deepest happiness. What a God is this!
How different is this sight of Him from the conception our guilty consciences have given us! A guilty conscience always makes us want to hide from Him, as if He were a God with a big stick! Little wonder, then, that He goes on to say, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, [revealing the glory of God in grace] will draw all men unto me.” Here is a revelation of God that makes Him not only understandable but also infinitely desirable.
We need to look, then, no further than the face of Jesus Christ to see God, and to know Him as He really is.
Roy Hession (1908-1992): was a British evangelist and author. He accepted Jesus in 1926 while on a Christian holiday camp. After working for Barings, the merchant bank, for ten years, he committed himself to full time preaching and became one of the most effective Christian evangelists in post-World War II Britain, especially among young people. In 1947 Hession met leaders of the East African Church which was then experiencing a sweeping revival, and recognized his deep personal need. It was like starting the Christian life over as he came humbly to the Cross. The principles which the Lord taught him were first published in 1950 as The Calvary Road and are now available in over 70 languages! Hession’s other titles include We Would See Jesus and Be Filled Now.