“Good News For All The People”—Daily Reflections for Advent 2016
THE EIGHTEENTH DAY OF ADVENT, December 14th
But we do see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone. It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
From the time I donned a bathrobe and played a shepherd boy in a children’s Christmas pageant, I have had a soft spot for the shepherds keeping watch over their flock. I have often wondered about them, particularly what they were watching for in the night. Were they watching for a pack of jackals or a hungry lion on the prowl? Were they watching for bandits who might steal away the sheep?
I’m thinking more and more that they were watching for light, for something to brighten their dark lives. And as they were watching, suddenly the glory of the Lord shone around them as an angel choir sang, “Glory to God in the highest.” God’s glory brightened their dark night!
It is unlikely that those shepherds could have had an inkling of the glory God had in store for them and for all who believe God’s good news. How could they have even imagined? How could we? What God has planned for us is too amazing to conceive! The good news of great joy is that God was not satisfied to have only one Son, but plans through that Son to bring “many children to glory”.
Today’s Scripture reveals that God coming to us in Christ was not an “emergency measure” put into effect because of our sin, but part of God’s eternal plan to share His glory with us. On that night 2,000 years ago the eternal God stooped to become what we are, so that He could share with us what He is. Our text says that God was made “lower than the angels… so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” He died in our place to give us a place with Him in glory. John Calvin rejoiced in what God did on that Christmas night, making Himself lower than the angels who announced His coming:
Having become with us the Son of Man, he has made us with himself sons of God. By his own descent to the earth he has prepared our ascent to heaven. Having received our mortality, he has bestowed on us his immortality. Having undertaken our weakness, he has made us strong in his strength. Having submitted to our poverty, he has transferred to us his riches. (The Institutes of the Christian Religion, 4.17.2)
The Son of God laid aside His glory in becoming human, but His glory is now restored and He is “now crowned with glory and honour because of the suffering of death.” He longs to share with us. The apostle Paul reveals what will happen when Christ returns: “When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory” (Colossians 3:4). What that glory will be like cannot even be imagined. But we can know this: “…the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18).
Sharing in the glory and life of God will mean far more for us than being forgiven of sin. It means for us a magnificent future reigning together with Christ in God’s New Heaven and New Earth. Jesus will lead His people into that glory as “the pioneer of their salvation”.
The word “pioneer” is a translation of the Greek archego (arche = beginning + ago = lead) that means, “one who begins something so that others may follow.” Jesus as the “pioneer” of salvation paints a wondrous picture of the redeemed gathered behind Him moving onward to the glory of God. We can be certain of the coming glory because Christ is the God “for whom and through whom all things exist”. He will succeed in what He has purposed. Through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection He will bring “many children to glory”. No wonder the angels sang that night: “Glory to God in the highest!”
- In your words, what does it mean that Jesus is “bringing many children to glory”?
- Many people think of God’s good news as merely being forgiven of sin. How does being brought to “glory” add to our conception of God’s good news?
- How might God’s good news be more wonderful than you have dared to imagine?