According to the human conception, what is glory? Glory is honor, fame, celebrity conquered for great deeds, important works, talents, virtues, etc. Artistic glory: Leonardo da Vinci, eminent painter and author of the picture “The Last Supper”, he was also a sculptor, architect, physician, engineer, writer and musician. He was born in 1452, and died in 1519. His glory has not died down until today. His contemporary, Michelangelo, painter, sculptor, architect and Italian poet painted the dome of Saint Peter, of Rome. He also painted the Sistine Chapel. These paintings stand until now. He was born 23 years after Leonardo. In poetry, Luiz de Camoes. The most distinguished Portuguese poet, born in 1524, in Coimbra, failed in his secular life. After his 50th birthday he was plagued by sicknesses and poverty, and died at 56. His great work was “The Lusiadas”. He wrote noteworthy poetry, and his glory has not decreased in these 500 years. Greece brought forth men of great glory. Socarates was distinguished in Philosophy, that is, the notion of good as the essential effect of the intelligence and Science. He lived from 468 to 400 BC. He has great influence in the Law and Philosophy Schools until today. Plato was Socrates’ disciple and wrote “Dialogues”, where he discloses the thoughts of his master. Plato’s Philosophy is the highest expression of idealism and nears Christian ideas. His glory is vast. Aristotle, Plato’s disciple, is the greatest philosopher of human History. He lived from 384 through 322 BC. His genius included every branch of study of his time. His most important works were: “Metaphysica”, “Art of Rhetoric”, “Poetica”, “Physics”, “Meteorology”, “On the Heavens”, “Magna Moralia”, “On the Soul”, etc. In the middle Ages, Aristotle was the Philosopher’s and the Theologians’ oracle. Saint Thomas Achinas, who lived in the 12th Century, in his famous “Summa Theologica”, in the treaty on the angels, makes 80 references to Aristotle. This great thinker was the first one to prove the difference between soul, body and spirit, with an astonishing lucidity.
Let us now speak on the greatest man who lived in this world: Jesus Christ and his glory. Jesus is the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:8; James 2:1). Not only Lord, but also, Father of glory (Eph. 1:17). As we have seen in the study #1, the father gives origin, brings glory to light. Jesus is the God of glory.
Jesus’ greatest glory is not to exhibit the glory. When he was born, he chose a poor family, and his mother gave birth to him in a manger, among animals. His infancy passed anonymously. When he was manifested to his people after John’s baptism, people said: “‘Isn’t this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, Joses, Judah, and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?’ They were offended at him” (Mark 6:3). Jesus was a poor carpenter of hardy hands. Prophet Isaiah describes him: “He was despised, and rejected by men; a man of suffering, and acquainted with disease. He was despised as one from whom men hide their face; and we didn’t respect him” (Is. 53:3). “Like as many were astonished at you (his appearance was marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men)” (Is. 52:14). He decided to go to Jerusalem with the appearance we have just described. Then he sent messengers before his face. As they went they passed through a Samaritan’s village in order to prepare a place for him. They did not receive him, though, because his aspect was as one who was going down to Jerusalem, that is, he looked as a poor rover (Luke 9:51-53).
If he so desired, Jesus could have been born in a rich home, for he was the Messiah sent to the world to restore Israel. Why did he act in this manner, then? Was Jesus’ intention to teach the disciples that everything in this world is false? Peter seems to have learned, for he said: “For, ‘All flesh is like grass, and all of man’s glory like the flower in the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls” (1 Pet. 1:24). In this world, everything passes; therefore Paul said: “And those who use the world, as not using it to the fullest. For the mode of this world passes away” (1 Cor. 7:31). James and John came near Jesus and said to him: “They said to him, ‘Grant to us that we may sit, one at your right hand, and one at your left hand, in your glory’” (Mark 10:37). Jesus told them: “You know that they who are recognized as rulers over the nations lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you, but whoever wants to become great among you shall be your servant. Whoever of you wants to become first among you, shall be bondservant of all. For the Son of Man also came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for man” (Mark 10:42-45). Paul describes the feeling of Jesus Christ with the following words: “Have this in your mind, which was also in Christ Jesus, who, existing in the form of God, didn’t consider equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, yes, the death of the cross” (Phil. 2:5-8).
Jesus was so different from us, men. Men seek to be someone, seek success, status, imminent positions; they seek riches, knowledge, science, fame, and distinction, things that Christ did not seek. Jesus said: “But I don’t seek my own glory” (John 8:50). Jesus did miracles and great wonders. It is obvious that the publicizing of the miracles would bring fame. In order to avoid fame, Jesus forbade the people to propagate the healings. A leprous man was healed of his leprosy. Jesus told him: “See you say nothing to anybody”. But the leper began to spread the news, and Jesus had to leave the city and hide in the desert (Mark 1:40-45).
While Jesus hid from fame and prestige, he showed up in public in humble and poor fashion. He similarly did not seek glory (John 8:50), and did not receive glory from men, likewise (John 5:41). And why did he not? The reason is that men are inconstant. The disciple today, stabs tomorrow (John 2:23-25). According to prophecy, the Messiah, king of Israel, would come into Jerusalem on a young donkey (Zech. 9:9). And Jesus did this exact thing. The people spread their garments on the way, and many cut branches from trees and spread them on the road, and followed him crying out: “Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! … Hosanna in the highest!“ (Mark 11:1-11). Very well. Persuaded by the elders and the chief priests, the very people who applauded demanded that Jesus was crucified (Matt. 27:15-25). And the silent lamb was taken to the slaughter (Is. 53:7).
The greatest glory of Jesus was to seek no glory, and to receive no glory. Jesus sought poverty, for he wished to leave an example of renunciation of the wealth of this world, which is false and illusory. But there is something that Jesus sought with all the might of his soul: It was to seek the glory of another. Yes! The glory of God the Father. He declared: “He who speaks from himself seeks his own glory, but He who seeks the glory of him who sent him is true, and no unrighteousness is in him” (John 7:18). He said in the priestly prayer: “I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do” (John 17:4). Jesus will be manifested in glory in his return and at the rapture of the Church. Paul said: “When he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed” (2 Thess. 1:10). And again, “When Christ, our life, is revealed, then you will also be revealed with him in glory” (Col. 3:4).
by Pastor Olavo Silveira Pereira