READ: Zechariah 2, John 17, 2 Peter 1
SENT AFTER GLORY
The word for glory in Hebrew is related to the word for “weight.” There is a weightiness to the presence of God. Zechariah notes an interesting prophetic utterance in that the Messiah declares: “He sent me after glory” (Zech. 2:8). In context, the Messiah is defending God’s honor among the nations, defending the rights of God’s people as “the apple of His eye.” God defends humanity’s honor by establishing His presence among them, by coming to dwell in their midst (v. 10). There is no greater honor to the poor peasant than for the king to visit their hovel and dignify them with His presence. If this is true for human monarchs, how much more glory is unleashed when the Lord of Creation, the King of Kings, comes to tabernacle with us! God looks over the nations, the ethno-linguistic peoples that do not know Him. They are impoverished. They are stricken with the greatest tragedy of time: a lack of the intimate knowledge and weighty presence of God. And God sends Jesus to set that right and to harvest glory. God joins nations to Himself (v. 11), they become His people, and He dwells in their midst. They experience the glory (weighty presence) of God and are fulfilled, and God is delighted. This transaction is so stunning and the yielded glory so significant, that all the earth falls silent before the Lord (v. 13). God is aroused from His holy habitation and collects the glory that His presence brings when He crosses the impossible divide to dwell with humanity, to dignify humanity with His presence. For incarnation brings glory to God; it never glorifies man.
Jesus understood well that His presence in His people yields glory. When Jesus states that He is glorified in His disciples (John 17:10), He means that His manifest and compelling presence in His people brings dignity to humanity and praise to God. Jesus says that “as [the Father] has sent me into the world, I also have sent [My disciples] into the world” (v. 18). We, too, then are sent after glory! Not only were we called by glory and virtue (2 Peter 1:3), not only does the Father speak to us from excellent glory (v. 17), we also are to carry the glory of God to the most remote places and the most rebellious peoples. We are sent after the glory of God which can only be harvested when unreached peoples experience His weighty presence. This is not a glory that humanity shares. This is a glory only God can own, for when filthy man embraces God, the wonder is not in the filth but in the God who saves and cleanses. Every time God ransoms a sinner from hell, every time a people turns from bondage to embrace the weighty presence of God, glory is collected and laid at Jesus’ feet. When an unreached people turns to Jesus, there is a glory yield. We are sent (as Jesus was) after glory–His! His alone. He will not share His glory with another, especially not missionaries. We can only conduct it; we cannot receive it or contain it.