“And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them” (Lk. 2:9, ESV). The glory of the Lord is the splendor of the presence of the Lord shown in light. The glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on Mt. Sinai. “Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel” (Ex. 24:17, ESV). The glory of the Lord is the blazing brilliance of His presence.
The glory of the Lord appeared to Israel in a pillar of cloud. Then it appeared to Moses on Mt. Sinai. After that, it appeared in the Tabernacle. Centuries later, the glory of the Lord appeared in the Temple of Solomon (1 Ki. 8:10-11). But when Israel turned away from Yahweh, the glory of the Lord left them (Ezek. 10:18-19).
Yet on the first Christmas night, the glory of the Lord returned to the lowly shepherds. The glory of the Lord did not appear to important people, but to insignificant people. Listen! It is not the poverty or the prosperity in church that matters to God, but the glory of God in the church. It is not how rich or poor is your church, but how your church people seek and reflect the glory of God in their lives!
How do you measure the glory of a church? By how many people who come to church? If that is your measurement, then the Roman Catholic church is the most glorious church in the world. By how many rich people who attend your church? Then Jesus might not spend much time in your church. In the Gospels, Jesus spent more time with the poor.
The success of a church is measured by how much that church reflects the glory of God in the lives of its people. The glory of God is demonstrated in changed lives, in lives that bear witness to the Gospel and the Word of God, and in lives that touch other people in the name of Jesus.
The presence of God is seen with a brilliant light—but no longer in a tabernacle, or a temple, but in the person of Christ. John wrote, “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. . . and from this fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known” (John 1:14, 16-18, ESV).
No one has ever seen God. But if you will know Christ, you will see the glory of God. Christ makes known the glory of God. All the fullness of the glory of God is in Christ.
The glory of the Son is the glory of the Father. Thus, if you will know Christ, you will see the glory of God.