On Presenting Christ

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, Christian preachers around the world struggled to present to their congregations, and to their own hearts, the glory of Christ in his resurrection from the dead. Many no doubt walked away from that effort burdened with a sense of inadequacy. This is to be understood, for the topic we tackle is one which cannot be adequately treated. All efforts fall short. We who see that glory imperfectly will sense that our efforts to reveal it perfectly are doomed from the start.

In such a state, we share worthy company. The Puritan scholar John Owen wrote a treatise titled “Meditations and Discourses on the Glory of Christ” which is rich with reflective wisdom on the subject. But even Owen confesses his inadequacy.

For who can declare this glory of Christ? who can speak of these things as he ought? I am so far from designing to set forth the whole of it, that I am deeply sensible how little a portion I can comprehend of the least part of it. Nor can I attain unto any satisfaction in these Meditations, but what issues in an humble admiration. [Chapter XI]

We are all inadequate. And yet we persevere to that which the resurrection so fundamentally promises: we will see him, and see him as he is. Owen grows warm to this, as should we:

How excellent, how glorious will it be, when with these eyes of ours, gloriously purified and strengthened beyond those of Stephen, we shall behold Christ himself immediately in the fulness of his glory! He alone perfectly understand the greatness and excellency hereof, who prayed his Father that those who “believe in him may be where he is, so to behold his glory.” [Chapter XII]

We give our best efforts to understand and to preach Christ’s glory but it meets in frustration. Such frustration must be tempered by the realization that by these weak efforts, men, women, and children are, by grace working through the word we preach, preserved and kept for that day in which we all shall see His glory face to face.