The cross was only a few hours beyond the moment when Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee” (John 17:1). And then a few sentences later He continued, “I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do. And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (v. 5). We raise the question: what was the glory that lay before Him, and of which He now prays?
First, there was the cross — in this Jesus was glorified, and in it He glorified the Father. There have been men in history whose true glory was revealed in their death; in their approach to death, and the cause for which they die, revealing their greatness.
In the cross Jesus demonstrated his own love for men, and His yearning for the souls of all men, including the very ones who would crucify Him. Also, He was manifesting the infinite love of God. God might have striven up to a point to redeem men, and then have said, “beyond this I will not go.” But not so; His love went all the way to the giving of His Son, His only begotten. In the cross Jesus found His glory.
Second, there was an accomplished task — in this Jesus had glorified the Father, and would glorify Him by going all the way. “I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do.” He would now manifest to the end that mind with which He had begun when He emptied Himself, “counting not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped,” but would become “obedient unto death, even the death on the cross.” His glory was in an implicit obedience to the Father and to His will in all things.
Third, His glory was in the crown —the victory in the resurrection, ascension, and glorification on the throne of God: “Glorify me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” Herein the glory would be complete; but between Him at the time and that glory there was the cross. The emblem of shame became the symbol of glory.
And now, what does this mean to me? To the apostle Paul it meant everything as He wrote, “Far be it from me to glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world hath been crucified unto me and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14).
It was the glory of the great apostle. And so should it be to me: “And they that are of Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with the passions and the lusts thereof” (Gal. 5:24). Jesus offers us a crown (2 Tim. 4:8), but before that crown there is the cross (Matt. 16:24). - Homer Hailey, 1973
God and the Plan of Men
EDITOR'S NOTE: From time to time, we reprint articles that were originally printed in the Columbus Dispatch in the 1970's. This series of articles was titled "The Bible, The Way", and were arranged by Aubrey Belue, Sr., a former elder of the East Columbus church of Christ, up until his death in the late 70's. As with our Retro Sermons Podcast, we believe these articles have just as much Scriptural relevance today as they did then. -SM
The teachings of our Lord during His earthly ministry had great significance 1900 years ago. Jesus taught men what they should do in order to please the Father. He indicated also how He knew that the things He spoke were pleasing: “as the Father taught. . . I do always the things that are pleasing to him” (See all of John 8:28-29).
We now live in the 20th century, and times have changed. Men devise their own plans for how to please God. The fact remains, however, that we please Him by doing only those things, in the realm of religion, which He has taught us, just as Jesus said.
Jesus described His standard of religious practice with regardto right and wrong when He said, “EVERY PLANT WHICH MY HEAVENLY FATHER PLANTED NOT, SHALL BE ROOTED UP…” (Matt. 15:13, emphasis added). Let us consider some of God’s “plants” with regard to His church, as opposed - to some of the popular “weeds” or traditions planted by men. It is proper to refer to man’s religious traditions which contradict God’s Word as weeds since Jesus said that God will root them up, being displeased with them.
The one church that Jesus built is neither a denomination nor a union of denominations. It is the body of Christ (Eph. 1:22-23), and Christ, being one Head, has but one body. (Eph. 4:4). This one church is also described in the book of’ Ephesians as the holy temple and the household of God (2: 19-22). There are many “stones” in the temple, but only one temple. There are many servants in the household, yet there is but one house.
The church is also likened unto the bride or wife of Christ. Certainly Jesus does not have hundreds of wives. For this reason, divisions in the Lord’s church are condemned (1 Cor. 1: 10-13).
Men, of course, have organized denominations. Religious names are by their very nature divisive. Members of various denominations admit that they form denominational bodies, and openly view themselves as segments of the body of Christ. And they trust that the approval of God rests peacefully on such division.
Some point out that there are different rooms in a large house, therefore making it possible for the “house of God” to have many denominations. The New Testament writers never made such an application. Indeed, they condemned it, as seen in 1 Cor. 1:10 where Paul said: “I beseech you, brethren, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing....” The very reason for denominations is that people teach different creeds, not the one doctrine of the New Testament.
We read in the New Testament of independent congregations of God’s people. No other form of organization is spoken of, such as a “mother church” in authority over “daughter churches.” God never planted the “mother church” arrangement; men did. Christ is the only Head over the universal church of His people and over any one, congregation.
Remember, we learn how to please the Father by the things HE TAUGHT through Jesus and the New Testament writers. The traditions of men make void the Word of God (Matt. 15:6), and “every plant which the heavenly Father planted not, shall be rooted up.” The day of rooting up is surely coming! -Richard Copeland – “The Bible – The Way”, Columbus Dispatch, February 2, 1975