Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me…
I. THE OBJECTS OF THIS PRAYED. "That which Thou hast given to Me" and "they also." But in what respects were this people given by the Father to the Son?
1. In the first instance, He gave them to Him in the everlasting covenant.
2. But, in the second instance, the Father gives them to His Son in the day of their espousals — in the day of their effectual calling. "All that the Father giveth Me," saith Jesus, "shall come to Me" (John 6:37), — not all that the Father gave Me, — as if He were speaking merely of some transaction in the past, — but all that the Father giveth Me — referring to the day of their espousals to Christ. "Wherefore, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure" (2 Peter 1:10). It is for souls, that are effectually called and justified, that Jesus prays that they may be with Him in glory.
II. THE MANNER AND SPIRIT OF THIS PRAYER. Jesus no longer says, "I pray" (vers. 9, 15, 20), but "I will." Oh, what a wonderful prayer is this! We never read of any prayer like this, offered up by any saint on earth. Some of them, indeed, attained to great nearness to the Lord — such as Abraham, and Jacob, and Moses and David — and yet they never did, or ought to, use such language to God. And what shall we make of this prayer?
1. I think we may say, in the first instance, there is in it a beaming forth of His Divine glory, as the Eternal Son of God.
2. And surely this expression sets forth the reality and intensity of the Saviour's love. It was in the exercise of infinite love that He laid down His life for them.
3. Further, we may well believe, that this is an expression of will, founded on acknowledged right. Jesus had the price of our redemption now in His hand, ready to lay it down.
4. And, as has often been remarked, this I will on the part of Christ is in perfect accord with the known will of His Father. "Father, I will," says Christ; "and I will too," re-echoes the voice of the Father. Oh, blessed harmony this between the will of Christ and the will of His Father!
5. But I apprehend, that this unique expression is to be explained by the unique character of the situation. Jesus is just about to lay down His life for them, and He now expresses His last will and testimony: "Father, My last will is." It is truly His testimony which Jesus deposits in His Father's hands.
III. WHAT THE BLESSINGS REALLY ARE, which Jesus thus asks for those that the Father gave Him: "That where I am, there they also may be with Me, that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me," &c.
1. He asks that where He is, there they also may be with Him. Ah! yes, such is His love to them, that as He came from heaven to earth to save them, so He will never be at rest until He has them with Him where He is. And is not this heaven — its chiefest, choicest ingredient — to be where Christ is? (Philippians 1:23).
2. But why does He pray that they may be with Him where He is? How are they to be employed? "That they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me."
3. Notice here the object to be beheld — "My glory which Thou hast given to Me" — "My glory peculiarly and emphatically, — and yet My glory which Thou hast given to Me," — not His essential glory as the Son of God viewed abstractly, and by itself; but the glory given to Him as Immanuel, God-man, Mediator. Oh, who can tell what glory now encircles Him, as the Son of Man exalted to the right hand of God? But did they not behold this glory already? Assuredly they did by faith. And it is indeed a solemn truth, that none shall behold His glory by sight in heaven that do not first behold it by faith on earth. Some beheld this glory before He came in the flesh (John 8:56; John 12:40). Some beheld it by faith while He tabernacled upon earth (John 1:14). And some behold it now, though He is in heaven, and they upon the earth (2 Corinthians 3:18). But the beholding mentioned in the text is something higher, nearer than all this. This is the beatific vision, to which they shall attain when He has gathered them home to be for ever with Himself. It is impossible to behold this glory and to remain a mere spectator of it. To behold it is to partake of it — to become a sharer with Him in His glory. Then shall be fulfilled the words: "And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them." This is the height to which Jesus elevates His Church.
4. And one of the most interesting and delightful things connected with this glory, which they are to behold, will be to trace the source of it in the Father's everlasting love: "The glory which Thou hast given Me, in that Thou lovedst Me." The Father loved the Son with an everlasting love as His Son — His Only-Begotten Son. But He also loved Him with an everlasting love as Mediator. "Then I was by Him as one brought up with Him, and I was daily His delight" (Proverbs 8:30). Oh, surely it will be an eternal feast to the hearts of the redeemed in heaven to see the glorious unfoldings of the Father's love towards their Covenant Head. Such, then, the two great blessings which Jesus here asks for the collective body of believers, viz., spiritual unity and eternal glory.
(C. Ross, M. A.)
Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world. — The Unitarian conception of the Divine Unity being arithmetical, not dynamical, its advocates deny plurality of persons or hypostases in the Godhead. And yet they loudly proclaim the truth that God is love, a truth which most strongly urges on our acceptance the doctrine of plurality. Love always demands two at least — a subject and an object, one to love and another to be loved. If God is love, as we most emphatically believe, then He must have had some one from eternity to love. Who then is that one Himself? But self-love is no love, it is the denial of love. Who then? The Church answers — His Son, the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person. Plurality of persons must not, however, be confounded with plurality of Gods. When men are invited to Christ they are not enticed away from God, for Christ is with God; when they are called to worship Christ, they are not bidden to serve an idol, for Christ is God.
(J. Cynddylan Jones, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.