We Have Seen His Glory

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14; ESV)

At the heart of Christmas is what J.I. Packer called the “unfathomable mystery” of the incarnation; that God became a man and dwelled among his people in the person of his Son.

The Apostle John saw it firsthand. He wrote down what he saw. And what he saw was the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, full of grace and truth.

In our recent sermon series, we’ve considered what it means to be made in the image of God. We’ve seen how we’ve been created to reflect his character and glory in our lives. We’ve also seen how sin has distorted God’s image in us. A glance in the mirror confirms that we are not the people he made us to be. And what is wrong with us is more than skin deep. It’s something that even the best lighting and the most skillfully edited selfie cannot remedy.

The good news of Christmas is that there is a better image to behold. Instead of looking at ourselves, we can look at Jesus. The author of the Letter to the Hebrews tells us, “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation” (Colossians 1:15). We may not see him with our physical eyes, as John and many others did. But we can see him by faith, with the eyes of our hearts. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed” (John 20:29).

When we look at Jesus, we see the fullness of God’s truth – truth that shatters our carefully-curated self images. But we also see the fullness of God’s grace – grace for broken, burned-out, badly-behaved people like you and me. Grace that forgives and redeems and restores and renews us in the image of God.

How did that grace become ours? The Son of God was not only born a man; he died a man, in place of sinful, fallen, image-bearers of God. Then he rose again as the firstborn of the new creation, as Lord of all who look at him and believe.

The true joy of Christmas will never be found in the mirror. It will never be found in the best holiday selfie. It will be found only by taking our eyes off ourselves and looking at our Lord.

May God reveal more of his grace and truth to us and in us this Christmas, as we marvel at the mystery of the incarnation, and gaze upon the glory of his Son, who became flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.

Pastor Jonathan Kroeker