Bible reading for weekend of March 28 -- Exodus 39-40; John 18-19
"Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle." (Exodus 40:34-35)
The glory of God overshadows and fills the completed tabernacle (Ex 40). In fulfillment of this foreshadowing, the glorious presence of God rests upon our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the true temple where sacrifice, cleansing, light, life, intercession, and the presence of God is manifested to us. Visibly, this glory was seen at the transfiguration: "He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him'" (Matt 17:5). But the Apostle John says that all of Jesus' life (and death) was a manifestation of that glory: "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" (Jn 1:14; cf Jn 17). In the first chapter of Revelation, John, seeing the risen Christ, could not even stand in the presence of his revealed glory (Rev 1:17). And the holy city of the new creation will be illumined by the glory of God radiating from the Lord Jesus: "And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb" (Rev 21:22-23).
Then Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world - to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice." (John 18:37)
Glory. The two chapters in this weekend's reading cover one day -- the arrest, trials, scourging, and crucifixion of our Lord Jesus. The disciples flee, and Peter denies the Lord three times. An observation that only the gospel of John notes is that when Jesus identifies himself as "I am he" (Gr., ego eimi, "I am")(18:5) the soldiers drew back and fell to the ground. Something in the way Jesus said the name of God, as applied to himself, incapacitated these men. The glory of God in Jesus would completely undo us if it were not for his mercy (see Rev 1:17 and the post above).
Christ before Pilate. To stand before the power of Rome, and to be liable to death by crucifixion, would frighten even the most courageous of men. Yet our Lord is totally composed before Pilate, before his accusers, and before his executioners. He even tells Pilate, the Roman governor with complete authority over Jewish subjects, that "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above" (19:11). When I first read the gospels many years ago, one of the things that impressed me was Jesus' composure and courage in the face of all. He sought no praise of man and he feared no opposition from men. He was completely free, even when bound as a condemned prisoner.
Image credit: painting above is "Ecce Homo" by Antonio Ciseri (1862). Wikimedia Commons.
We are following the Robert Murray M'Cheyne (RMM) two-year reading schedule, as arranged by D. A. Carson.
Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.