14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
During the time when the eternal Word dwelt among men, people saw His glory. They saw a revelation of who and what God is and does.
and we beheld [observed] His glory,
The Greek word “we beheld” indicates careful consideration about something. The idea is of more than a casual glance. It connotes experience limited to observation, carrying implications of wonder. We get our English word “theater” from the root of this word. People who met Jesus on earth and carefully scrutinized Him came away with wonder about His glory. They did not make a quick observation about Jesus and then walk away. This careful exposure to Christ radically changed their understanding of Him.
“Glory” appeared first in the tabernacle and then in the temple. Jesus as the glory of God is an overriding purpose of the gospel of John (Jn 9:3; 11:4, 40). Jesus both gives glory to God and gets glory for what He does.
The word “we” indicates that John and others saw the glory of Christ as He lived on earth. He demonstrated His glory in such areas as His miracles and resurrection.
“His glory” also alludes to the manifestation of God’s glory in the tabernacle (Ex 40:34; 1 Kgs 8:10-11). When used of God, “glory” does not refer to His essential nature but to the manifestation of His person, the revelation of Himself.
Just like the tabernacle dwelt among Israel, so Christ dwelt among people. Jesus is the true Shekinah (that which dwells), the glory that shone in the tabernacle and temple. This was a visible presence of God among men. Jesus was the embodiment of God’s glory. This is not the essential glory of God but the manifestation of His glory. This glory is divine glory displayed in Jesus’ life on earth.
The glory of Christ on earth was the glory of the One and Only Begotten Son.
The Son was the unique embodiment of God’s glory in His humanity. We see the manifestation of the glory of God in the Word like nowhere else.
Examination of the glory of Christ will radically change our lives. Seeing His glory and grace lifts Him to ultimate majesty. His words and works, His attributes of deity can be seen in the incarnation. When we look at Christ, we see nothing less that God’s glory.