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
Jesus closes His prayer with a great, heartfelt expression of His desire that we may be with Him in glory, that all who believe in His name, from the beginning of Pentecost until the end of time, may be with Him in His glory. What a magnificent basis for our hope of heaven! And yet heaven is heaven only because we will be with Christ. This is the hope of every believer, that one day we will be with Him. As Paul said,
We ... would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:8-9). And in many places Scripture brings that hope before us. The joy of the Christian is that in heaven we behold the glory of Jesus, the face of Jesus, the manifestation of all the glory that is in Him.
It is a great hope! In the Scriptures we are not told a lot about heaven just enough to make us want to be there. But the hope set forth for us is that we will be with Jesus to behold His glory in answer to this prayer. But we don't have to wait for heaven. There is a sense in which this prayer is being answered right now. I think our Lord intended it this way, for in the Spirit we are able, right now, to behold the glory of Jesus. And it is the vision of that glory, of who Jesus is, that changes us. Paul tells us that we are now seated with Christ in the heavenly places. In 2 Corinthians he says,
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit (2 Corinthians 3:18).
So the more we see and behold the glory of Jesus, the more we are being made like Him even though we may not be aware the change is taking place. What is this glory? Our Lord defines it for us in verse 26:
I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them. The glory of Jesus is the glory of love--the love of God for people. That is what grips our hearts and changes our lives and makes us different people, forgives our sins, lifts us up again, and encourages our hearts. It is the realization that God indeed loves us as He loves Jesus.
Thank You, Lord, that You have gripped me with this great love and given me the hope of glory!
Must we wait for heaven? Do our lives reflect the glory of Jesus today as well as our hope to behold His glory in the future?