In Exodus 33 we hear Moses’s impassioned desire to know God, “Please, show me your glory.” Moses hungers to experience the glory of God and God graciously responds, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But....you cannot see my face…. Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock, and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” (emphasis added)
Extraordinary! This must have been a breathtaking, illuminating experience of divine revelation and intimate relationship that would indelibly mark the rest of Moses’s life. And yet, we who are New Covenant believers have an even better privilege, clearer perspective, and fuller experience: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth….And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ….the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.” (Jn 1:14, 16-18)
Moses saw a passing glimpse of God’s glory; a mere moment to behold the Glory. But, through the Word-made-flesh we can linger...stare...gaze into God’s grace and truth. Moses saw a partial display of glory--”you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.” But, in Jesus, God’s only Son, we see the fullness of God’s glory. As Paul wrote, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Col 2:9). There is no diminishing of Divine glory in Jesus--”he has made him known.”
Surely, “from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” What a glory! What a privilege!
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Chuck Cook is the pastor of Grace Bible Church - Rolla.