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The Scriptorium

Such a Great Witness

Witness, glory, and the fear of God. Luke 7.16, 17

Luke 7 (3)

Pray Psalm 22.23.
You who fear the LORD, praise Him!
All you descendants of Jacob, glorify Him,
And fear Him, all you offspring of Israel!

Sing Psalm 22.23.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All you who fear the Lord, now praise His holy Name!
You children of His glorious Word, declare His fame!
We stand in awe of our eternal God, and on His mercy call.

Read Luke 7.1-17; meditate on verses 16, 17.

1. How did the people respond to Jesus?

2. What happened next?

Let’s try to put ourselves into the situation described in verses 11-15. The people, who doubtless had already heard about Jesus and His many amazing works, had just witnessed a Man exercising power over death. By a simple word He raised a dead man to life. He Who had power over death also had power over life, and none of those people had ever seen anything like this. That fear came upon – literally, seized – them all should not surprise us. In their fear they considered that Jesus was a great prophet, but more than that, that God Himself had visited His people (v. 16).

And in their fear they honored, extolled, and glorified God because of Jesus, and gave great witness to Him “throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region” (v. 17).

Should we fear God? Does He still have power over life and death? To judge and condemn sinners? To discipline wayward saints? Yes, He does. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Ps. 111.10). Fear coupled with praise is the proper response of all who truly know the Lord. To fear God and love Him are two sides of the same coin, keeping us mindful of His holiness and might, and sheltering us safely within His mercy and grace.

They who fear and glorify the Lord will naturally spread the word about Him. How could they not tell what they had seen and experienced (cf. Acts 4.20)? How can we keep silent about the great grace we have received through Jesus? Fear God and glorify Him in Jesus, and let your witness to Him be great throughout your Personal Mission Field.

Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
“Then fear came upon all, and they glorified God, saying, ‘A great prophet has risen up among us’; and, ‘God has visited His people’” (Lk. 7.16).

Another prophecy was fulfilled. “‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’, which is translated, ‘God-With-Us’” (Is. 7.14; Matt. 1.23).

We have much to learn from the large crowd in Nain: Their amazement and fear led them to glorify God. The wonder of it all. They did what was required but weren’t even filled with the Holy Spirit yet. That should give us great hope for our ability to accomplish this, because we are filled with the Holy Spirit. Our chief end in life, our main goal and calling, as the Westminster Shorter Catechism reminds us, is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. When His glory is the foundation, the rest of the building stands secure.

“I will extol You, my God, O King; and I will bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I will bless You, and I will praise Your name forever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable” (Ps. 145.1-3).

The announcing angels at Jesus’ birth also taught us by example how to glorify God:
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Lk. 2.14).
They came straight out of heaven to do His will on earth—as it is always done. Glory.

Paul wrote, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6.20).

And Peter reminded us that, “by your good works which they observe, glorify God…” (1 Pet. 1.12).

Our good witness to God and to others is found through glory. His glory. “…to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever” (Rom.16.27).  Glory to God for everything.

To God be the glory, great things He hath done, so loved He the world that He gave us His Son,
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin, and opened the Lifegate that all may go in.

O perfect redemption, the purchase of blood, to every believer the promise of God;
The vilest offender who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Great things He hath taught us, great things He hath done, and get our rejoicing thro’ Jesus the Son;
But purer, and higher, and greater will be our wonder, our transport, when Jesus we see.

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the earth hear His voice!
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, let the people rejoice!
O come to the Father thro’ Jesus the Son,
And give Him the glory, great things He hath done.
(Fanny J. Crosby, 1875)

For reflection
1. Why is it necessary both to fear and love God?

2. How would you explain to a new believer what it means to glorify God?

3. What is the relationship between our witness for Jesus and our calling to glorify God?

A sense of the divine presence must have brought fear along with it: but there is a difference between the kinds of fear. Unbelievers either tremble and are dismayed; or, struck with alarm, murmur against God: while devout and godly persons, moved by reverence, willingly humble themselves. Fear, therefore, is here taken in a good sense, because they gave the honor which was due to the power of God which they had beheld, and rendered to God not only homage, but thanksgiving. John Calvin (1509-1564), Commentary on Luke 7.16

Pray Psalm 22.27, 28.
Pray that the Lord would revive His people all over the world, and that we would take up our calling to be witnesses for Christ. Pray that multitudes of people would come to faith in Jesus, to fear Him and to live for His glory.

Sing Psalm 22.27, 28.
(Darwall: Rejoice, the Lord is King)
All nations shall repent and hasten to the Lord.
All those to whom His truth is sent shall praise His Word.
The Lord is King! His sovereign rule on high now we His people sing!

T. M. and Susie Moore

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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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