God’s Crowning Glory

By Not Known

Our Botanic Gardens recently had an amazing sight. The talipot palm flowered. This palm grows for several decades without flowering. It flowers once in its life. Then it dies. But, as the tree dies, it sows the seeds of new life. It is as though the whole tree was created for this one purpose of one flowering, one dying and one gift of life.

It was the same for Jesus. Read these words carefully:

Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds… Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (Jn 12:23,24 & 27-28).

Throughout Jesus’ life there was a conscious of something he referred to as his ‘hour’ or ‘time’ (eg Jn 7:6; 13.1). As the above quote shows, he regarded his Cross as his ‘time’ – it was the reason for which he had been sent to earth. He came to die for our sins.

The Cross was also his hour of glory. His dying was his glory and the Father’s glory, because his death achieved the purpose for which he had come. Like the palm, his death was followed by life – the life of his resurrection and our life before God, as we believe in Jesus. His life-giving death was his crowning glory, just like the flower of the talipot.

In our services today we are using Psalm 103 to reflect on God’s many good gifts. The Psalm mentions his healing of disease (v3), satisfying of our desires (v5), righteousness and justice (v6) and his action to reveal himself (v7). But most of the Psalm reflects on God’s grace to forgive sins (v3a, 8-13). God’s forgiveness of our sins is the crowning glory of all his blessings to us. This links directly to what John tells us about Jesus Cross, for it is through the Cross that God forgives.

The talipot will soon be gone from our Botanic Gardens and its moment of glory remembered only in photos. But Jesus’ moment of glory will be remembered for eternity, because his death is our life before God. Let us remember all his benefits and praise him with all our inmost being (Ps 103:1-2).