Have you ever smelled a beautiful, exotic flower, stroked fine silk, or gaze in awe at the stars?
We’ve all done these awe-inspiring things. But have you considered, for instance, that there are some wonderfully fragrant flowers that no one has ever smelled?
Many wildflowers will bud, bloom, and wither without anyone to enjoy them. Are these flowers that no one has smelled wasted?
No, they were not wasted. They did not bloom for us. From the beginning of the world until today, multitudes of flowers have bloomed and given their fragrance to no human being. Only God saw the beauty of each one—only he savored the aroma of every flower of the field. They bloomed for God.
Have you ever considered that, in the history of the earth, most silk strands spun by silkworms have never been felt by human hands? They were spun and faded with none to handle their delicate fibers. Was all that silk wasted? No—God was there when the worms worked their looms, and he was there when each emerged from its silk cocoon transformed into a moth. That silk was not spun for us. It was spun for God.
There are also stars in the sky which no human has ever seen or will see. Even with our most powerful telescopes, we catch mere glimpses of galaxies filled of stars no human will ever directly observe. Beyond those glimpses are galaxies and stars of which we lack even the faintest impression. Consider those beautiful galaxies, stars, nebulae, comets, planets, and moons—is their beauty wasted? No. They don’t shine for us. They shine for God.
When you and I enjoy these created glories, we experience a small part of an enormous, cosmic worship symphony. All creation is crying out with a loud voice, singing the praise of the glory of God.
“Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!” (Psalm 72:19, ESV)
“The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.” (Psalm 19:1, ESV).
“And one [seraph] called to another and said: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!’” (Isaiah 6:3, ESV).
God’s glory is displayed in all of creation. Theologians call this general revelation. His glory is revealed to us in everything because he made everything, and he creation can’t help but reflect to us he beauty and divine characteristics.
But God’s glory is also displayed to us when we see his character by his actions on earth. This is called special revelation. We do not worship a god who hides from us. God reveals himself to us by his actions and his word.
But there is something extra-special about one type of revelation. The fullness of God, all his perfect attributes, all of his love and intentions, all of himself was revealed to us only once—in the Son, Jesus Christ.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Colossians 1:13-20, ESV)
When we smell God’s roses, feel his silk, or gaze at his stars, we can appreciate a small piece of his glory. But when we worship the Son, believe in him, trust in him, and obey him, we aren’t just appreciating small pieces—we are appreciating the fullness of God through Jesus.
But the glory of Jesus is not meant to be a glory unsavored, unseen, unenjoyed by human beings. It is meant to be spread. Diplayed. Exposed. Globally.
Only through Jesus can we be reconciled to God, and this is the special revelation of glory that we take out into all the world on mission.