“We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” In this lab, John Piper helps us understand the glory we see at Christmas, defining glory and pulling apart the marriage of grace and truth. He also explains why we’re not at a disadvantage at all two thousand years later.
Principle for Bible Reading
As you read the Bible, try and think of objections other people might raise (even if you personally do not struggle with that particular objection). For example, in this lab, John wrestles with whether we’re at a historical disadvantage to those who saw Jesus in the flesh. Objections will force you to search the text more carefully, and you will often see more than you would otherwise.
- What do we learn about the glory revealed at Christmas in John 1:14? How would you put what you see in your own words?
- Why might someone think, after reading this verse, that we’re at a disadvantage to the eyewitnesses during Jesus’s life? Where would you take them to change their mind? Now, read 2 Corinthians 4:4 and John 17:20 for help.
- How would you define the glory of God? What words would you use to help a friend understand glory?
Piper: “God’s glory gives truth to the ignorant and deceived, and it gives grace to the guilty.”
- God is the Word.
- The Word became flesh (a man).
- The Word dwelt among us (drew near to us).
A Definition for Glory (03:52–05:15)
- “ . . . We have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” (John 1:14)
- If you have seen Jesus, you have seen God’s glory.
- God’s glory is God’s transcendent beauty or radiance. (John 1:14)
The Light of the Gospel of the Glory (05:15–07:21)
- You might object that we’re not there to see him in the flesh. You might think we’re at a disadvantage.
- Satan blinds unbelievers from seeing “the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)
- In the narrated events of Jesus Christ’s life and ministry, called “gospel,” you see God’s glory. (John 1:14)
- Jesus prayed not only for those who saw him in the flesh, but for “those who will believe in me through the word.” (John 17:20)
- It’s through the Word that John expects us to see the glory of God.
Our Advantage Today (07:21–09:06)
- We are not at a disadvantage compared to the eyewitnesses.
- Judas saw everything Jesus did, and he didn’t see any glory.
- The crowds saw him, and they wanted to crucify him.
- We see the whole story as we read an inspired Book that is much more rich and full even than experiencing it firsthand.
Full of Grace and Truth (09:06–10:13)
- And the glory we see in the Word is full of grace and truth.
- This glory is the measure of all truth. If you want to see anything for it really is, bring it into the light of the glory of God.
- And in all of the truth and reality, wonder of wonders, God’s heart is gracious toward us.
What Is Christmas? (10:13–12:24)
- The Word is God.
- The Word (God) became the God-man.
- The Word came near and dwelt among us.
- The Word reveals his divine glory to us.
- This glory gives truth to the ignorant and deceived, and it gives grace to the guilty.
Christmas Happened Because It Is Fitting (article)
What Christmas Is All About (interview)
“A Big God for Little People: Seven Christmas Eve Meditations” (sermon on Luke 2:1–20)
Piper: “Jesus is praying for you right now, while you read the Bible, that you might see his glory there.”