In John 1:14, the author tells us that he beheld the glory of God when he looked at Jesus Christ. God’s glory was seen in a man. But it was seen in a man who was marked by humility. The places where John saw Jesus’ glory was not only in the halls of fame (such as palaces of rulers), not only in the religious buildings of significance (such as the temple), not only at the banquets laid on for the prominent and the important (although he did show grace to persons when they asked him to a meal). Jesus often did not have where to lay his head. His glory was revealed on the hillside where he used the provisions of a poor boy to feed the hungry multitude, in little villages in talking to poor men and women and children, in the synagogues where the common people gathered.
Leon Morris has summarised it well when he writes of Jesus: ‘When people needed help he helped them. Where they were sick he healed them. Where they were ignorant folk he taught them. Where there were hungry people he fed them. He was not found in the high places of the earth. All of his life he was among God’s little people, those who in one way or another felt their need. And wherever there was need he was found doing lowly service. And that is glory.’
Remember it is John who describes the incident in which Jesus stripped himself and put on a towel and washed his disciples’ feet (John 13). He did not have to do it; he could have asked Peter and John to do it. But it is glory when the One who did not have to do it did it.
God’s glory was also seen in a forgiving man. In 1:14 John says that Jesus was full of grace and truth. Throughout his life Jesus had shown grace and truth: to Nicodemus, the pompous teacher, who became his loyal follower when others abandoned him; to the woman of Samaria who became an effective witness; and to many others. And after his resurrection he showed grace and truth to Peter, who had been cowardly and fallen into using improper language.
God’s glory was also seen in a man who was their friend. These disciples had lived with him for three years. He had called them his friends. In John 1 we are told of how some of these friendships began (John, Andrew, Peter, Philip, Nathaniel). Jesus entered into their lives and things became different. As they watched him, listened to him, and followed him their lives were changed.
We too can know the glory of God that is revealed in Jesus. Although now exalted and glorified, he still reveals the glory of God in humbling himself to meet with us, in conveying grace and truth to us, and initiating and developing personal friendship with us.