Devotionals by Dr. James MacDonald

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The Cross of Glory

When he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him” (John 13:31, esv).

In every purpose of God, in every action He takes or withholds, there always remains His underlying and ultimate objective: to display His glory for our good.

The glory of God is our reason to live. The glory of God is why we’re allowed to draw another breath. Even Jesus, amid all the events surrounding His crucifixion, was living (and dying) for the glory of God. “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and glorify him at once” (John 13:31–32).Count five mentions of glory in those two verses. Clearly it’s an important matter to God.

Important also, then, that we understand what His glory really is. Glory is such a churchy word and so easily thrown around that we can miss what it actually means. Especially since it sounds so right to say. But the meaning of “glory” is extremely significant.

Let’s start here. There is a God. But we don’t see God. What we see is His glory—in the universe above us, in nature all around us, and more importantly in His church—His people—when we allow Him to work through us. The word that is most synonymous with glory is evidence. Glory is God’s fingerprint, proof of His presence, evidence of Him among us.

When Jesus spoke in John 13 of God being “glorified in him,” the events leading to Calvary were just beginning. It was starting to happen. With Judas’ betrayal of Jesus, the wheels of Christ’s suffering were now moving, and God was “evidencing” Himself—glorifying Himself. Up until that time, Jesus’ “hour had not yet come” (John 7:30). But now His hour was here, leading to six hours on the cross, where Jesus would sacrifice Himself for the sins of the world.

There is glory in that. There is evidence of God in that.

And so today, as you close your eyes and see Him on the cross, what are you really seeing?

You’re seeing God glorified. You’re seeing evidence of God’s love. The cross is God doing what people don’t do. The cross is God giving Himself for us so that we can be forgiven and spend eternity with Him.

Nothing brings more glory to God—more evidence of God—than sacrificial loving. Loving when it hurts. Loving when it costs. Remember Jesus saying, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:43–44). There’s no glory, no evidence of Him, when you love others in return for the love they have for you. Everybody does that. The glory comes when you love those who don’t love you.

The glory of God was shown in Christ’s death, loving His enemies, even praying for His enemies. Because all of us were enemies. “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son” (Romans 5:10). What glory.

Kneel at the cross today. Jesus died for you there. And if you can bear to raise your head and look on Him, you’ll not only see the price of your salvation, freely given. You’ll see your reason for living. You’ll see the glory of God.

Journal

  • This is love, and more—it is glory. His love for you and me is glorious. Feel the pain today of what your sin cost, but don’t miss the glory of what your Savior did.
  • How could God be glorified in you today, through your loving actions and prayers for your enemies?

Pray
Lord, I know my sins deserve death, suffering, punishment—mydeath, mysuffering, mypunishment. To see it all on Jesus is to begin to understand the cost of every offense against You. Help me grasp further the extent of Your sacrifice for me, and thereby the extent of Your love for me. May no sacrifice of mine ever seem too great. You have shown me the glory of love. I desire to give You glory by the way I love. Please let the way I love You and the way I love others reflect You. In Jesus’ glorious name, amen.

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Pastor James MacDonald preaches without apology straight from the pages of Scripture, provoking Christians to think and act on their faith. His Bible-teaching ministry, Walk in the Word, launched on as a radio broadcast in 1997, with the mission of "igniting passion in the people of God through the proclamation of truth."



About Dr. James MacDonald

James MacDonald (D. Min., Phoenix Seminary) is the founder and Senior Pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel. He has led the church from the time it began with just 18 people in 1988 to the present, where 13,000 people attend seven campuses in the Chicago area weekly. His practical teaching of God’s Word is broadcast daily around the world on radio and TV through the program Walk in the Word, and more than 160 vertical churches have been planted on four continents under Dr. MacDonald’s leadership. Pastor James has authored several books and Bible studies, including: Act Like Men; Vertical Church; Lord, Change Me; Lord, Change My Attitude; When Life is Hard; Always True; and most recently, The Will of God IS the Word of God. He and his wife Kathy live in the Chicagoland area near their seven beloved grandchildren, and three adult children who serve alongside them in ministry.

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