Sufferings and Subsequent Glories

Imagine the OT prophet’s life. You are the proverbial fish swimming against the flow. You are the one thing that doesn’t look like the others. You are the voice that contradicts the popular majority’s voice. And you speak of things that, by in large, people don’t want to hear. And amidst all this, a lot of what you are speaking doesn’t even make sense to you. Sure, the stuff about pending judgment because of persistent rebellion you probably get. But it’s the promises that are fuzzy. Especially the predictions of a coming Messiah. A saving Messiah and a reigning Messiah . . . gotta like that! But an inflicted Messiah and a rejected Messiah? What’s that about? It’s about sufferings and subsequent glories.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.   (1Peter 1:10-11 ESV)

“This salvation” . . . “the grace that was to be yours.” How’s that for a definition of salvation? The grace that is ours?

We get it . . . because we got it . . . and we have it . . . and we grow daily in our theoretical and practical understanding of it. But for those charged with this salvation’s great reveal, they didn’t get it. Instead the prophets “asked a lot of questions” (MSG) about this grace-filled salvation they spoke of. As the Spirit of Christ moved them to “thus says the LORD” and to write of things that were yet to be realized, they didn’t understand exactly who they were writing about or when He would come on the scene. What they did understand though, was that whoever the Messiah was, He would know sufferings and subsequent glories.

And this morning I’m noodling on subsequent glories . . . with a bit of a “me focus” filter.

To be sure the subsequent glories after the cross would begin with His resurrection. Crazy that rising from the dead would be but the beginnings of subsequent glories because how do you top that? You don’t. The risen Christ is the great “Amen” to the finished work of the cross. The risen Christ is the knock out punch that crushes sin and death. The resurrection is the evidence that there is a life to be known unlike anything this side of the grave. Praise God for the resurrection.

But the subsequent glories continue. Imagine what it was like to be standing there on the day Jesus ascended into the clouds. Jaw-dropping. To your knees . . . face to the ground . . . as the angels appear and declare, “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:9-11). The angels prophesying of yet more subsequent glories . . . that day when He returns. The Jesus of the cross coming again unmistakably as KING OF KINGS AND LORD OR LORDS . . . seated on a white horse . . . accompanied by the armies of heaven . . . ready to judge the earth and establish His reign in majesty and righteousness (Rev. 19:11-16).

Resurrection . . . ascension . . . judgment . . . coming kingdom. All subsequent glories born out of the sufferings the Son undertook in order to do the Father’s will.

But one more comes to mind. Though it’s not about me, I still think I’m part of these subsequent glories.

. . . Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her, that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.   (Ephesians 5:25b – 27 ESV)

Christ gave Himself for the church . . . His sufferings. That He might present her to Himself in splendor . . . subsequent glories.

Christ died that He might secure for Himself a redeemed people and that they would be presented to Him one day as a glorious bride. To quote an old Southern Gospel classic, “when He was on the cross, we were on His mind.”

It was for “the joy that was set before Him” that He endured the cross and despised the shame (Heb. 12:2). That joy to be realized on that day when His bride has been fully made ready and is presented to Him “without spot or wrinkle or any such thing” because in Him, and by Him and through Him, she has been made holy.

O to be part of subsequent glories. All because of amazing grace . . . all for His eternal glory.

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