The Lord in Glory (5)
The LORD reigns, He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that it cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting. Psalm 93.1, 2
Enthroned and reigning
Jesus – our welcoming, strong, compassionate, patient, poetic, and triumphant Savior – has been enthroned in glory, radiant as the sun, seated at the Father’s right hand, surrounded by the unceasing worship of departed saints, and attended to by myriads of myriads of angels.
Can you see Him there? Does your heart take joy to consider such a glorious scene? John Calvin (1509-1564) offers helpful insights to the meaning of Jesus’ exaltation and reign, and of what this means for our ability to see Him. Calvin’s comments on select passages of Scripture can help us consider Jesus and see Him with greater love and obedience.
The Son of God, Calvin wrote, has been placed “in the Highest seat of honor, that He may have pre-eminence over angels as well as men, and may bring under control all creatures in heaven and in earth” (Commentary on Colossians 1.17). “In this then,” Calvin continued elsewhere, “consists the glory of God, that He governs mankind according to His will. It is said that He clothes Himself with majesty and strength…to show His wisdom and righteousness in the government of mankind” (Commentary on Psalm 93.1).
To see Jesus as glorified, given the Name which is above every name, and the glory of God shining from His face (2 Cor. 4.6; Rev. 1.16), is to see the Ruler of the vast cosmos, the One Who “preserves the whole world” (Commentary on Hebrews 1.3), and maintains the heavens and the earth by His mighty ruling power. To see Him in this place, in this power, in this majesty, strength, righteousness, wisdom, and beauty, is to love Him with greater love and to be transformed increasingly into His likeness (2 Cor. 3.12-18).
To see Jesus in this capacity and setting is the great privilege of those who have had the eyes of their heart opened for the light of divine revelation to enter, bathe, refresh, and transform their souls in line with that glorious vision of unseen things (Eph. 1.15ff). If once we fix our minds on these things that are above, where Christ is seated in the heavenly places, and see ourselves as seated with Him there (Eph. 3.6), we will swell with thanksgiving and longing for richer and fuller exposures to this beatific vision, that we may set the Lord always before us, and thus dwell in fullness of joy and pleasures forevermore (Ps. 16.8, 11).
To fill all things
We have seen that the purpose of Jesus’ rule over the vast cosmos is to fill all things in all things with Himself; and He does this by gathering and building His Church (Eph. 1.22, 23; 4.8-10). The rule of King Jesus embraces all created things. Nothing exists on its own power; nothing continues to exist by any inherent properties or powers. Everything exists and does what it does because Jesus rules it to be as it is: “The heavens revolve daily, and, immense as is their fabric, and inconceivable the rapidity of their revolutions, we experience no concussion ― no disturbance in the harmony of their motion. The sun, though varying its course every diurnal revolution, returns annually to the same point. The planets, in all their wanderings, maintain their respective positions. How could the earth hang suspended in the air were it not upheld by God’s hand? By what means could it maintain itself unmoved, while the heavens above are in constant rapid motion, did not its Divine Maker fix and establish it?” (Calvin, Commentary on Psalm 93.1)
In his commentary on Hebrews 1.3, Calvin puts it this way: “To uphold or to bear here means to preserve or to continue all that is created in its own state; for he intimates that all things would instantly come to nothing, were they not sustained by His power…. Hence the ‘word’ here means simply a nod; and the sense is, that Christ Who preserves the whole world by a nod only, did not yet refuse the office of effecting our purgation.” As each new day dawns for each creature, each particle, and each galaxy, Jesus simply nods toward it as if to say, “Do that again.”
All the focus of Jesus’ rule is on the wellbeing of the Church and the progress of Christ’s Kingdom on earth. He has purged our sins, and now He intends to build His Church to be a thing of beauty and joy and praise in the earth: “Christ left the world and ascended to the Father; first, to subdue all powers to Himself, and to render angels obedient; next, to restrain the devil, and to protect and preserve the Church by His help, as well as all the elect of God the Father” (Calvin, Commentary on Daniel 7.14).
It is “for the Church” (Eph. 1.22) – for its advantage, edification, growth, and the progress of the Kingdom through it – that Christ the majestic and strong King of nations rules all things “by a nod.” As we see Jesus, ruling in glory, let our hearts be filled with rejoicing, and let us resolve to serve Him for the glory of God in everything we do.
See Jesus in the ruled creation
We should expect to see Jesus in all the works of His hands. In his commentary on Psalm 19.1, Calvin wrote “There is certainly nothing so obscure or contemptible, even in the smallest corners of the earth, in which some marks of the power and wisdom of God may not be seen…” Wherever we turn, whatever part of life in this world we observe or join, the rule of King Jesus is active in it. In the wonders of creation, His beauty is revealed. In the blessing of work, His provision is made known. In the pleasure and complexity of relationships, His Presence is known, His features can be glimpsed, and His Word comes to lived expression.
Calvin says we are remiss if we fail to seek the glory of Jesus in the multitude of His works in creation: “…it becomes us to begin the study of his works with reverence, that we may take delight in them, contemptible though they be in the estimation of the reprobate, who treat them with impious scorn” because “every act of God is replete with glorious splendor” (Commentary on Psalm 19.2, 3). The praise of Jesus can be discerned in all the works of creation, and it is our duty, as His royal priesthood, to search out and declare His glory for all to see (Prov. 25.2). Calvin concurs: “Though many would suppress God's praises, observing a wicked silence regarding them, David declares that they shine forth everywhere, appear of themselves, and are sounded, as it were, by the very dumb creatures. He then assigns the special work of declaring them to believers, who have eyes to perceive God’s works, and know that they cannot be employed better than in celebrating his mercies” (Commentary on Psalm 145.10).
We may see the glory of Jesus by seeing Him in His providential work throughout creation. He is making Himself known in all the things that He rules and sustains, and we, if we are willing, can see Him there, and delight in Him more.
1. Can you think of some examples of how you see the glory of Jesus in the works of creation?
2. How might becoming more attentive to creation help you to keep the vision of Jesus more constantly before your eyes?
3. What can you do to begin seeing Jesus more consistently in His works of providence and rule?
Next steps – Preparation: Sing the hymn, “This is My Father’s World” throughout the day as you take note of the Lord’s Presence in the works of His hands.
T. M. Moore
You can also now listen, each Lord’s Day, to a weekly summary of our daily Scriptorium study, which is presently working through the book of Jeremiah. Click here for Jeremiah 29-31.
Check out the special on our book, A Mighty Fortress. Learn how this great hymn works to draw us closer to the Lord. Order copies for yourself and your friends by clicking here.
A Thanksgiving Challenge
A generous friend of The Fellowship is offering a $5000 challenge gift for new donations and donations over and above regular giving. Will you join us to give thanks to God for this, and to ask Him whether you should participate in this opportunity? If the Lord moves you to give, you can use the Contribute button at the website to give with a credit card or through PayPal, or you can send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.