Glory

29 May

On Good Friday: Glory

How do we think of glory? How about this? A king, who has everything at his feet, the whole universe at his beck and call, infinite power at his disposal. And yet, a king who chooses to serve, not to be pampered. The crowds wanted to crown him, but that wasn’t what he had in mind.

Everything could have been his for the taking, but that didn’t interest him. What is glory? A king, sitting in his palace of splendour, surrounded by his riches, with slaves at his fingertips? Such a ruler could smite his enemies with just a word, wipe out those who displease him in an instant. And yet, none of these kings and rulers – none – even comes close to the glory that is revealed here.

Here is glory: an all-powerful king who chooses the stable over the palace, fishermen over fame, and exchanges basking in the splendour he deserves for the shame and humiliation of the worst execution ever invented; stripped naked, flogged, and left to die. His motivation stuns the mind: this king chooses disgrace in order to spare his own enemies. In order to spare me. And as I jeer at him:

“save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

The sight of him dying there silences every clever word and sarcastic objection. There is no answer to such majestic love.

His kingdom is different. Power in weakness, life through death, glory in shame. And this is where the King showed his glory. Not in the heavens, not with the splendour of ten thousand angels, but in shame, nailed to two pieces of wood. Suddenly the character of this king becomes terrifyingly clear. Pride flees. Piercing love like this draws subjects to their knees. Which is more glorious; the president in his palace, or the King on the cross? And which would I follow?

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