“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.” (John 17:24, NIV)
In chapter 17 of his gospel, John records how our Lord Jesus prayed for his disciples the night before his death. This passage is truly sacred ground, as we eavesdrop the eternal Son of God speaking to his Father. As we listen in, we hear Jesus make known his deepest desires for us.
One of the most astonishing of these is what he says in the verse above: he wants his disciples to come and be with him, and see the heavenly glory the Father, in his love, has given him.
Sometimes when we are explaining the saving work of Jesus to children, for instance in an all-age service, we use the example of a firefighter going into a blazing building or a coastguard diver coming down from a helicopter. These illustrations are good as far as they go, but they miss Jesus’ startling longing to have us be with him. For firefighters and coastguards rescue us, and then leave us. By contrast, Jesus rescues us in order to take us to his own home.
What hospitality - that he should want us to be with him! That is love! That is grace!
It’s also an insight into the nature of the life of the world to come. For this will be not just a perfect world, but a perfect world in Jesus’ presence. That’s why Paul viewed his own impending death as departing to be with Christ (Philippians 1:23).
Moreover, here are words of encouragement when a Christian is taken from us. This is Jesus’ purpose for that person; this is where they have gone. Take heart from this wonderful statement of Jesus’ amazing hospitality!
We are looking at the whole of this great prayer of Jesus on Sundays at 10am at the moment.
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