ISSUE: 2021, Volume 18, Issue 3
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If the world wasn’t in enough turmoil pre-Covid-19, it is now. Financially, politically, socially and culturally, wave after wave of bad news bombards us through every form of media. It is enough to depress even the most optimistic person. Where on earth can Christians turn to be cheered up? I commend to you the person of Jesus Christ – thoughts about Him will soon make us look past the mess our world is in.
Think about His first coming. It was in obscurity and humility. He veiled the outward display of His glory and ‘took upon [him] the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men’, Phil. 2. 7. The next time He comes to earth will be entirely different in that glory will characterize His appearance. He will appear then as He appeared on the Mount of Transfiguration, shining brighter than the sun; no longer the lowly ‘man of sorrows’, Isa. 53. 3, but then ‘the King of glory’, Ps. 24. 8. At the future revelation of Christ, every eye will see Him, Rev. 1. 7; Matt. 24. 30.
Titus chapter 2 presents two appearances of the Lord Jesus. In both verses, 11 and 13, the words ‘appeared’ and ‘appearing’ come from the word ‘epiphany’. It is a word that means to ‘make visible or to be manifest’. In verse 11, grace was made visible in the person of the Lord Jesus. This is in the past tense. In the Gospels, grace is associated with Christ as to His character and conduct. The figure of speech here in Titus is ‘personification’, where an object or concept is presented as a person. Grace has appeared – it was Christ!
In verse 13, it is glory that is personified in the person of the ‘great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ’. ‘The blessed hope’ and the ‘appearing of the glory’ JND, I think, are the same event. 1 The thought is that when the Lord Jesus comes to earth again, there will be, in His person, a manifestation of glory. The scene is described in Revelation chapter 19 verses 11 to 21, with the Lord Jesus coming on a white horse, His eyes as a flame of fire and His robe dipped in blood. He has a name written – ‘King of kings, and Lord of lords’.
Think of John chapter 19 verse 5 – ‘behold the man!’ Pilate made that announcement as the representative of humanity. That is the last the world saw of Him; ‘a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief’. A man disfigured and beaten; His form so battered He no longer looked like a man. I am using poetic licence now – but when the world hears that phrase once again, it will not be the representative of human government but the almighty God that makes the pronouncement. The volume will be greater, the audience larger and the response will no longer be ‘we will not have this man to reign over us’; no longer the Man of sorrows, but the Messiah in splendour. Zechariah chapter 6 verse 13 says that in a coming day, ‘he shall bear the glory’; He will be seen as a priest on His throne. The passage goes on to say, ‘the counsel of peace shall be between them both’, meaning that the office of prophet and priest will be united in Christ.
It is at this time that all of humanity will bow the knee and acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord. The Lord will be King over all the earth, and His reign will be glorious. The angels of God will worship Him, and all the universe will proclaim His worthiness. The mess of this world will be gone. The glory of His person will remain. In the words of 1 Corinthians chapter 15 verse 28, ‘Now when all things are made subject to him, then the Son himself will also be subject to him who put all things under him, that God may be all in all’.
D. W. Whittle wrote this well-known hymn which sums these thoughts up aptly:
Our Lord is now rejected, and by the world disowned.
By the many still neglected and by the few enthroned;
But soon He’ll come in glory!
The hour is drawing nigh.
For the crowning day is coming by-and-by.
O the crowning day is coming, is coming by-and-by,
when our Lord shall come in power and glory from on high.
O the glorious sight will gladden each waiting, watchful eye
in the crowning day that’s coming by-and-by.
1 Editorial note - ‘Our brother is correct here since the one article in the Greek text closely unites the two substantives, confirming that this is one event – see the comments of A. T. Robertson in A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, pg. 786.