What is “the glory of God”? Is it something utterly wonderful such as the awesome temple that Solomon built? Will it only be seen in the future when Jesus returns to set up God’s kingdom?
Jesus uses this phrase in a wonderful way in John 11. Jesus had returned to Bethany to the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus, but Lazarus had died and there was much grief. “Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and she saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, ‘Lord, if you had been here my brother would not have died.’ When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled” (John 11:32,33).
Jesus was human; as we read in Hebrews 4 he was “one who in every respect has been tempted as we are” (Hebrews 4:15). Jesus says to Mary, “‘Where have you laid him?’ They said to him, ‘Lord, come and see.’ Jesus wept.” (John 11:34,35). It is good to imagine the scene, they come to the tomb, a stone lay against it. “Jesus said, ‘Take away the stone,’ Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, ‘Lord, by this time there will be an odour; for he has been dead four days.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God.’” (John 11:39,40).
God’s glory is in His power, and Jesus had been given “The spirit without measure” (John 3:34).
At the tomb Jesus “lifted up his eyes and said, ‘Father I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.’ When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus, come out’” (John 11:41-43).
Imagine if you had been in the audience! We cannot conceive the wonder of the glory to come! How near at hand is that time? Some are saying, “Very soon”. Martha is confident in her belief about what will happen, let us share her confidence, for she said before Lazarus was raised, “‘I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day’” (John 11:24). How utterly great will be the glory of God then for “the dead in Christ will rise first” (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16). Live now so that you will be there.