John 11:40 “Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” “
Have you ever seen the glory of God? In the verse above, Jesus is speaking to Martha right after He commanded that the stone be removed from Lazarus’ tomb – a full four days after he had died, mind you. Martha, always the practical one, is shocked and says “Lord, by now he stinks!” To this Jesus simply replies, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?” In the context, He is referring to the resurrection of Lazarus, but I believe this question has a much broader context.
You see, there are certain things that one will never see unless they believe. In particular, they will never see the glory of God. So, have you ever seen it? If not, it means you’ve never believed. So how do you know? Well for one, have you ever been truly devastated by your own sinfulness? Have you ever been utterly stunned by how evil your heart is, and how foolish to ever have thought you were a “good person?” If not, then you’ve never seen the glory of God, for it’s the contrast with Christ’s glory that the depravity of our own heart is seen. It was Isaiah, that great Old Testament prophet and saint who saw the glory of God one day in the temple. His response was as follows: “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts (Isaiah 6:5).” Paul’s response was the same as he was struck blind by the glory of Christ on the road to Damascus. As he lay prostrate on the ground struck blind by the sight, he said “Who are you, Lord?” To this Jesus replied “I am Jesus, whom YOU are persecuting (Acts 9:5).” What a sinner Paul was, yet all the while he had viewed himself as one of the most righteous Jews in all of Israel. Have you ever had such an experience? If not, you’ve never seen the glory of God and you’ve never believed. You see, you can’t see His glory for you’ve been too busy glorifying yourself, and while you’ve been doing that, you’ve not realized that you’ve been living in complete spiritual darkness.
Another question: Have you ever been totally overwhelmed by the righteousness, love, and mercy of Jesus Christ? Has the realization of such things ever taken your breath away? Have you ever been overcome by the glory of a God who would condescend to become a man, allow weak and despicable men to spit in His face and nail Him to a cross, all to take the penalty for their sin, your sin, and mine? If not, you’ve never seen the glory of God and you’ve never seen it because you’ve never believed.
Another test: Are you in any sense impressed with yourself? When you see yourself and think about yourself, are you proud of who you are and what you have done? If you have such an attitude – even a little bit, you’ve either taken your eyes off the glory of God or you’ve never seen it at all, for if you’ve seen His glory, it would make no sense to glorify yourself. His glory would overwhelm your own, for yours and mine is as nothing compared to His.
And then, what’s your view of the Bible? Do you see it as the Water of Life to your thirsty soul? Is it something you long to read and understand? Is it your very breath and life? If it is not, then you’ve never seen the glory of God, for it is His glory that is revealed on each and every one of its pages.
So, if you’ve never seen the glory of God, do you even want to see it? Is it something you realize that you’re ignorant of, and do you no longer want to live a life without an awareness of it? If God has put such a desire in your heart, and surely only He can do it, then all you really have to do is believe. As Jesus said, “if you believed, you would see the glory of God.” And if you really want to believe, you’ll stop at nothing until you do. You’ll cry out to God, you’ll confess your sin, and you’ll ask Him to have mercy on your soul.
It is to such repentant men and women, those who confess that they are sinners, bound in darkness, and separated from the glory of God, that God reveals Himself if they will only believe. Why continue in darkness? Why continue to deceive yourself into thinking you understand what life is about, when all along you’ve had no relationship with the God who created you? You will never be happy, you will never be at peace, you will never have the deep and abiding joy that only God can give you unless you believe and see the glory of God. But, hallelujah, it is at the moment you believe, at the very instant that you cast yourself at the feet of the glorious God of the Universe, that He and He alone will open your eyes to His magnificent Glory. It is to the one who cries out “Open my eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of your law (Psalm 19:18)” that God will do just that. It is to those who cry out, like Moses did “Please show me your glory (Exodus 33:18)” that God will open the eyes, at least to as much of His glory as we can take in.
You see, to see all of His glory is more than any person can withstand, but to those who’ve never believed, even a small glimpse of God’s glory has never been seen. And that’s a very sad condition to be in, for although “the whole earth is full of His glory (Isaiah 6:3),” it’s only visible to those who believe.