The Glory of God
Tuesday of Advent 3
13 December 2016
The Son of God's work to save the world was hidden under the signs of humility. He is a man, but is divine through the virgin birth. He is God, but suffers human weakness. He is nailed to the cross, but conquers death. He dies, but in Him all are made alive. He suffers the penalty of damnation, but lifts mortals to heaven. These are the signs of the glory of God made perfect in weakness. For these we offer praise to Christ and through Him to His Father. This is why Christian worship must first speak of the acts of God for they are the truly glorious things, though hidden under humility. Only when the Lord opens our lips will our mouths show forth God's praise (Ps 51:15).
Unfortunately, self-centered humans that we are, we desire to turn God's glory into our work, as though we humans can take what is ours and offer it to God for His glory. Glorification of God means letting God be who He is in Christ. He comes to save. God's true glory is the humble acts of Christ who is willing to suffer ignominiously and die for sinners like us.
Hilary of Poitiers revels in the weakness of the divine glory in a way that is reminiscent of Martin Luther. This should not surprise us. First, they are both working with the same Christian text, the Bible. Second, Luther was familiar with Hilary, referring to him over one hundred times in his writings and lectures. They shared the common language of the holy church given by God our Father through Christ, His Son. This is the glory of God.

Rev. Dr. Scott R. Murray
Memorial Lutheran Church

Hilary of Poitiers
"The Son glorifies the Father fully and finally in the words, ' I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do' (Jn 17:4). All the Father's praise is from the Son, for every praise bestowed upon the Son is praise of the Father, since all that He accomplished is what the Father had willed. The Son of God is born as man; but the power of God is in the virgin birth. The Son of God is seen as man; but God is present in His human actions. The Son of God is nailed to the cross; but on the cross God conquers human death. Christ, the Son of God, dies; but all flesh is made alive in Christ. The Son of God is in hell; but man is carried back to heaven. In proportion to our praise of Christ for these His works, will be the praise we bring to Him from whom Christ's Godhead is. These are the ways in which the Father glorifies the Son on earth; and in return the Son reveals by works of power to the ignorance of the heathen and to the foolishness of the world Him from whom He is.
"This exchange of glory, given and received, implies no augmentation of the Godhead, but means the praises rendered for the knowledge granted to those who had lived in ignorance of God. What, indeed, could there be which the Father, from whom are all things, did not richly possess? In what was the Son lacking, in whom all the fullness of the Godhead had been pleased to dwell? The Father is glorified on earth because the work which He had commanded is finished."

Hilary of Poitiers, On the Trinity, 3.15
John 8:48-59

The Jews answered [Jesus], "Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon?" Jesus answered, "I do not have a demon, but I honor my Father, and you dishonor me. Yet I do not seek my own glory; there is One who seeks it, and he is the judge. Truly, truly, I say to you, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death." The Jews said to him, "Now we know that you have a demon! Abraham died, as did the prophets, yet you say, 'If anyone keeps my word, he will never taste death.' Are you greater than our father Abraham, who died? And the prophets died! Who do you make yourself out to be?" Jesus answered, "If I glorify myself, my glory is nothing. It is my Father who glorifies me, of whom you say, 'He is our God.' But you have not known him. I know him. If I were to say that I do not know him, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and I keep his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad." So the Jews said to him, "You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?" Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am." So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple. (ESV)
Lord Christ, You are nailed to a cross, but conquer death. You die, but in You all are made alive. You suffer damnation, but lift us to heaven. Let me glorify You by speaking of the salvation You have won for me and the world, so that many more might be saved. Amen.
For President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS, that the Holy Spirit would grant Him to glorify God in the humility of Christ
For Jill Stoneburner, who is undergoing therapy for cancer, that Jesus, the good Physician would grant her strength of body and soul
For the Headmaster call committee of Memorial Lutheran Church and School, that God's wisdom would direct their deliberations
Art: VASARI, Giorgio Annunciation (1564-67)
Memorial Lutheran Church
© Scott Murray 2016
Memorial Lutheran Church, 5800 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77057
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