indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. for if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory. [2 corinthians 3:10–11]
there’s an old hymn called “the heavenly vision.” you might be familiar with the chorus…
turn your eyes upon Jesus
look full on his wonderful face
and the things of earth will grow strangely dim
in the light of his glory and grace
a lot of people have very strong opinions about this hymn. proponents of course see it as a beautiful melody but even more they see it as a song praising Jesus as more glorious than anything else in this world. those that are not fans of this hymn (perhaps more accurately, are not fans of the modern interpretation of the hymn), see it as degrading to the physical world – furthering an asceticism belief that only spiritual things matter and nothing in the physical world does. which of course is counter to the biblical story, where God places great value on his creation.
the author of this hymn wrote it in response to reading a short devotional type writing written by a missionary. while you could read the words to mean physical things have no value, i think the intent of the author was to say that Christ is more glorious than anything else. and, the glory of anything else will pale in comparison to Christ when we really see him for who he is. in fact, the writing by the missionary from the early 1900’s claims that good, godly, pursuits come to find full value when they are used for the glorification of the Father.
i believe, in a simple way, this is what’s going on in this text. the old covenant is a beautiful display of God’s heart, mercy, and love. and still, in comparison to the fullness of Christ (the embodiment of the new covenant), it pales in light of his surpassing glory.
so, let’s spend time today looking upon Jesus. we can spend all day looking at lesser glories if we want, but why would we? let’s allow those lesser glories to point us to Jesus.
if you would like to read the writing of the missionary this hymn was based on, you can find it here – https://unveiling.org/focussed/
~ keith kozlowski