“Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus said to him, “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” (John 14:8–9)
What are we doing here? What’s the point?
We all need clarity on the meaning of life, and we need that clarity to work. Cliches won’t do. Sentimentalities won’t last. The ultimate question eventually gets down to something like this: How does the greatest truth in the universe — that God is glorious and real — create a lasting vision for my life that includes the ups and downs of everyday circumstances?
The answer is fairly simple: I exist, in every moment, to experience and show that Jesus is the supreme treasure of my soul.
God is Glorious
The most important, all-encompassing truth of the universe starts with the fact that God is glorious and everything exists for his glory.
That is the resounding theme of the Bible. That’s why God makes a people for himself: “...the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise” (Isaiah 43:21).
That’s why he forgives them: “For my name’s sake I defer my anger...For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it...My glory I will not give to another” (Isaiah 48:9, 11).
That’s why he makes them righteous: “Your people shall all be righteous...the work of my hands, that I might be glorified” (Isaiah 60:21).
God and his glory is the “why” of everything he does. And therefore, any clarity on the meaning of life must come from this. It’s where we start, but there’s more. How is this truth actual clarity?
It’s because this glorious God is real, and he has a face.
The Realness of Jesus
This is when we must translate the glory of God from an abstract idea to a concrete reality. This is when we stop imagining God’s glory as just a bright, blinding light filling the sky, and instead, we listen to what God tells us.
The writer to the Hebrews says that Jesus is “the radiance of the glory of God, the exact imprint of his nature” (Hebrews 1:3). Paul says that Jesus is the one in whom the “whole fullness of deity dwells bodily” (Colossians 2:9). The apostle John writes that “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory” (John 1:14).
Jesus is the most vivid display of who God is, as he says of himself: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). This means, in a deeply personal way, that the most important, all-encompassing “truth” of the universe is Jesus.
Nothing surpasses the fact of who Jesus is, and that he is real.
To live for the glory of God, then, is to witness to the glory of Jesus. It means we say, in word and deed, that Jesus is the supreme satisfaction of our souls. Everything that we truly need is found in him. He is enough for us. Saying this, and living this, exalts Jesus as the unique, glorious Savior that he is. The gnawing hunger of the human heart finds a feast in his wonder. The insatiable search for where we belong discovers home in his love. The tireless toil to earn God’s favor reaches its rest in his grace.
Even in Suffering
And this stays the same no matter the circumstance, which is precisely why it’s a witness to the sufficiency of Jesus. It is through the gains and losses, triumphs and setbacks, that Jesus shows himself enough for us.
Suffering isn’t a footnote to the true meaning of our lives, but a path for actually experiencing the true meaning. When we suffer, it’s because God has brought us there to show that Jesus really is of surpassing worth, that his hope is beyond all comparison, that his nearness is enough (Philippians 3:8; 2 Corinthians 4:17; 2 Timothy 4:17–18).