Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am, that they may see the glory You gave Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.
I. THE HOME OF THE BLESSED. Little as we know of that eternal home, that which we do know is of intense interest. What the Lord Jesus here tells us of heaven is welcome and precious revelation. His desire and purpose concerning his people is that they may be:
1. With him. He could no longer be with them on earth; but, as a compensation, they were to look forward to being with him in heaven. These cherished friends had been with him long enough to know and to prize such association. To them it was sufficient to know that they should be reunited to their Friend and Master.
2. Where he is. The locality of heaven is unknown, and all speculation upon such a matter is idle. How all Christ's innumerable friends and followers can all be where he is, we cannot understand. But it rejoices the heart of the disciple to know that he shall be where his Lord is. A bold mariner does not care to what sea his ship is bound, if he is only serving under the captain or admiral whom he trusts, and who has before shown him the way to discovery or to victory.
II. THE VISION OF THE BLESSED. The people of Christ shall, in accordance with his prayer, behold the glory of the Redeemer. The promise sank into the heart of John who recorded it; for he indulged the anticipation, "We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." Sight is here, as elsewhere, put for knowledge. The disciples bad seen the humiliation of their Lord; they were to see his glory. In what this consists it is for us only to conjecture, with such help as Christ's words afford. There is the closest connection between the glory of Christ and the Father's eternal love. Our Lord himself has so taught us that we cannot place glory chiefly in what is visible and material. We think chiefly of that moral glory which is connected with Divine favor and with spiritual empire -
"Glory shines about his head,
Father I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me.
(F. Godet, D. D.)
I. THAT HIS PEOPLE SHOULD BE WITH HIM.
1. The obvious meaning of this is the Saviour's affection for His disciples. When friend is going away from friend, how naturally the wish springs up into words: "Oh, if I could only take you with me!" Now, the sublimity and the charm of the earthly life of Jesus consist in large part in the broad and healthy action of the simplest human powers which it exhibits. The simplest natures are the grandest natures always. And so it is a part of the greatness of Jesus that He so simply feels and utters this cordial human affection, and says, "I shall miss you. I wish you could go with Me." We want not merely to admire this in Jesus; not merely to feel its charm. We want to catch it from Him. Elaborate civilization is always making elaborate, artificial standards.
2. But these primary emotions are deeper and richer in Him than in ordinary men, in proportion to the depth and richness of His nature.(1) The same emotion exists in different men, but it becomes more full and perfect as the man becomes greater. Nowhere is all this more true than about companionship. For two beings to be with one another always means the same simple thing, and yet its meaning runs up through all the ascending scale of human character. A herd of brutes are satisfied if they can feed in the same field; and there is an animal companionship even amongst men, which makes them like to be with one another, to sit in the same room, to walk in crowded streets. Next higher than that, companionship means identity of work and occupation. This is the companionship of business men. Next higher still is the companionship of opinion. Beyond all these lies the highest companionship of character. We have a fine illustration of the desire for this last and highest sort of companionship in the famous words which St. Paul said to Agrippa, "I would, that thou and all who hear me," &c. Those words seem to be the echo of his Master's. Paul wanted Agrippa. From the dignity of his prisoner's stand, he yearned over that poor dissolute who was seated upon the throne. And this must always be the first joy of any really good life — the desire that others should enter into it. Indeed, here is the test of a man's life. Can you say, "I wish you were like me? "If you are trying to serve Christ, however imperfect be your service, still you can say this to your child, your friend. But I am afraid that there are people whose lives could not begin to stand that test. With awkward hands you bring out virtues which you will not practice yourself, and put them before your children and say, "These are good. I advise you to practice these." What a condemnation of a man's life is that! It is not good for a man to be living any life which he would not desire to see made perfect and universal through the world. The dying Christian tells those beside him of the blessedness of serving Christ. The dying murderer with his last breath warns men from the scaffold not to be what he has been. Test your lives thus!(2) Thus, then, we understand Christ's longing for the companionship of His disciples. He wanted them to be with Him. I do not think that we can tell how much it signifies, this wish of Jesus, in its lower meaning of physical companionship. I am sure it does mean something. The "seeing His face," the "walking with Him in white," in heaven, are not wholly figures. But yet God's guidance has drawn the minds of Christians to think of heaven less as a place than as a character. Never, never are we with Christ till we are like Him. Not till He is formed in us do we enter truly into Him.
II. THAT THEY MIGHT BEHOLD HIS GLORY. Perhaps this sounds to us a little strange at first. The schoolboy wants his schoolfellow to come home with him that he may see the state in which his father lives. The American says to the foreigner, "Come, see our land, its vastness, its resources, its progress." The Christian says, "Come to my church. You shall hear our music," &c. Before the words can be cut entirely free from low associations, we must remember what Christ's glory is. The heart and soul of it must be His goodness. What outward splendour may clothe Christ eternally we cannot know, but this we are sure of, that in at its very centre the glory of God must issue from and consist in the goodness of God, not in His power. Think for a moment of what prospects that wish of our Lord opens. Nowadays men are telling one another how tired they are of seeing sin on every side. We cheat our. selves if we think that it is peculiar to our times, for it has always been so. We cheat ourselves if we think that it is universal, for there is bright and glorious goodness around us, mixed with the sin on every side. But how imperfectly we see it! How much goodness there must be in Him which we do not see! For here this truth comes in, that only the like can see its like; only the good can really discern, appreciate, and understand goodness. Men live alongside of the best saints, and never know that they are good. The higher we climb, the more the peaks open around us. Now apply all this to the Saviour's prayer. Only by growth in goodness can His goodness open itself to us. What is He praying for, then? Is it not that which we traced before, that we might be like Him? So only can we see Him. It is His glory that He wants us to see, but, back of that, He wants us to be such men and women that we can see His glory. I think of Jesus as He walked through Jerusalem. Men passed Him by; others just looked at Him, and sneered, and went their way. Do you think that did not give Him pain? Surely it did. They could not see His glory. But was not His pain that He saw them in. capable of apprehending Him? Was not this what He was really mourning for when He sat on the Mount of Olives? Not, "Woe is me!" but "O Jerusalem?" Sometimes, in very far-off way, it is given to a man to echo this experience of Jesus. Sometimes a man is living for the good of other people, and other people will not see it, and he is left to sit upon the mountain and look down in sorrow upon the city which he longs to save. At such a time a man wants, and often enough he fails to get, the spirit of Christ's prayer. He wants men to "see His glory," and they will not. Is it for himself or for them that he is disappointed? The man whom you helped yesterday and who ungratefully slanders you to-day, are you indignant about yourself or pitiful over him? It is hard to keep out pride and jealousy, but let us remember how He wanted men to see Him because it was so wretched for them, not for Him, that they should be blind to Him. I think, then, that we have reached the meaning of this prayer of Jesus; and we are struck immediately by seeing how it really is identical with all His prayers for men. It is always that men might be saved from sin, that His goodness might come to us and we might be good.
(Phillips Brooks, D. D.)I. THE TONE OF THE PRAYER.
1. Wonderful majesty. "Father, I will!" How awful this sounds! Such a petition was never heard before. Compare it with the prayers of the most eminent of God's people — Abraham, David, and Solomon.
2. Authority as well. Here is no condition, qualification, or contingency expressed or implied. It is the language of Him whose will is absolute law through all the universe. And this is the foundation on which the ultimate salvation of the redeemed is made to rest.
II. THE SCOPE OF THE PRAYER
1. The persons prayed for are — "those whom Thou hast given Me" — believers of every age. It takes in all the redeemed.
2. What is asked is "that they be with Me where I am." This is a comprehensive petition. It embraces all that Christ could ask for His people, all that they can desire, or that God can give. There has been much curious discussion of the question whether heaven is a state or a place. It is clear from the teachings of the chapter, that heaven is a stale (vers. 21, 23). The unity prayed for in the former and the perfection in the latter of these verses prove this conclusively. No locality can be heaven to us, unless we attain unto the state there described. At the same time this verse proves that heaven is a distinct locality (John 14:2). If He were speaking here as the Creator alone, the language used would not necessarily imply locality. But He is speaking as "the Man Christ Jesus." "True, 'where I am' is a wide, wide phrase. Where He is, heaven is; where He is not, there is hell. A throne without Him is but the devil's dungeon of darkness, wherever it be placed; a dungeon with Christ in it, a fiery furnace with Christ in the midst, is a palace of glory. If we be where He is, what is there that can be worth seeing, or knowing, or having besides? 'Whom have I in heaven but Thee?'"
III. THE DESIGN OF THE PRAYER. "That they may behold My glory," &c. This refers to the glory which pertains to Him by virtue of His mediatorial office. It is the glory of revealing God's will; of bringing to an end the great rebellion which sin had introduced into God's dominions; of lifting off the curse from this groaning creation; of making all things new; of gathering His elect out of all nations, of raising them from the dead, and carrying them with approval through the solemn scenes of the last judgment, and assigning them the place of dignity they will occupy in His everlasting kingdom; and of conducting the affairs of that kingdom through all eternity.
IV. THE FOUNDATION ON WHICH THE PRAYER RESTS. "For Thou lovedst Me," &c. There is something very striking and sublime in this argument. It is not our love for one another or of God, nor Christ's or the Father's love for us, but God's love of His own blessed Son. In conclusion, this subject suggests —
1. How unspeakable is the glory on which the redeemed will gaze!
2. The true philosophy of salvation, or the secret of the Christian's security.
(R. Newton, D. D.)
I. HIS LAST AND DEEPEST DESIRE CONCERNING US.
1. There is something unspeakably affecting in the designation "those whom Thou hast given Me." Many titles He had already given His people — disciples, friends, brethren, &c.; names advancing in depth of tenderness as the end drew nigh; but here at the last He recalls one that He had used among the first. He does not point to the larger gift of the human race (Psalm 2.); nor does He indicate any fragment predestined to be His; the sentiment is that all whom the Father teaches He draws by His Spirit, that He may consign them to His Son for salvation. The fact that they are the Father's gift makes them unspeakably precious to Jesus, who therefore wishes the eternal society of His own.
2. But it is for our sake that He makes the request. His people are not with Him in the fall meaning of the word. When departing He said He would be with them, not that they should be with Him. Save in a few swift glimpses His Church has never seen Him since, save by the eye of faith.(1) The disembodied are with Him where He is; and that is all we know or need to know about Him.(2) When every one of the Father's gifts has been gathered to Him, the whole great gift shall be restored to perfection: His people in body and soul shall be with Him eternally.
3. Whilst we might be musing as to the glory of the place, our Lord attracts back our thoughts to Himself "that they may behold My glory." This is twofold —(1) The glory of His holiness, by beholding which "we are now changed into the same image."(2) It is however in the great hereafter that the Lord's glory will be seen — the glory which He had with the Father before the world was. "They shall see God" was His promise to the pure; and now He makes that the vision of Himself. For ever He will say, "He that hath seen Me hath seen the Father." "We shall see Him as He is," and share and reflect the glory that we contemplate.
II. THE STRENGTH OF THE PECULIAR EXPRESSION, "I WILL"
1. Whence has He that strong confidence on our account, sinners as we are?(1) From the eternal love that existed between the Father and the Son.(2) But the entire tenor of the prayer also implies that the Son makes His demands on the ground of a sealed and ratified covenant. The Son appeals to His righteous Father as Head of the redeeming scheme, speaks as having sanctified Himself, and demands all the blessings for which He shed His blood. Hence the intercession of the Son for His own is almighty.
2. What is the object of His intercession?(1) The prayer demands that the infinite attributes of the all-holy Name should be pledged for His disciples' defence. "Keep through Thine own name."(2) "Sanctify them through Thy truth" stipulates that all needful grace shall be imparted in order to the consecration of His saints for Himself.
3. The prayer is granted. Whatsoever is necessary for our perfect deliverance from sin is here pledged, and hereafter there will be a most glorious answer when the saints, body and soul, are presented faultless by the Son to the Father.
III. THIS DEEP DESIRE AND STRONG INTERCESSION IS UTTERED IN OUR HEARING for our instruction and encouragement.
1. We are taught, by the connection of our text with the fact that Christ prays not for the world, how important it is to our peace that we should know that we are given of the Father to the Son. There is a terrible distinction. Our Lord says nothing further about those that are not His. They will not be with Him where He is. With whom then, and where?
2. With what transcendent honour are we here invested. To be the elect of God, the peculiar heritage of Christ — "Where I am there shall My servant be," &c. With what ardour should we be inflamed to make ourselves worthy of this honour.
3. The prayer is our strong assurance while we watch and labour and pray.
4. Oar Lord permitted us to hear this prayer for our strong consolation in surrendering our friends to Him in death.
(W. B. Pope, D. D.)I. OF WHAT STATE OF MIND THIS IS THE EXPRESSION ON THE PART OF CHRIST.
1. It expresses the depth and intensity of His love to the Church He has redeemed. Montaigne says, "We hate those we injure" — certainly we love those whom we have blessed. Christ having redeemed us in this life is intent on blessing us in the next.
2. It turns on the principle that sympathy is most precious to the noblest natures. Christ could not think of the splendours of His throne without connecting them with His people.
3. It contains the idea of personal interest in them as precious property by special donation from the Father. What more valued than a father's gift, especially when given as an expression of love and for a sublime purpose.
II. WHAT VIEWS IT FURNISHES OF THE FUTURE LIFE.
1. The happiness of heaven will be realized in the immediate presence and unveiled glory of Christ. The king makes the court, not the court the king.
2. Whatever displays are made in that life of the majesty of the Godhead, will be made in the Person of Christ. To all eternity He will be "Emanuel — God with us." How transporting it will be to find His glory that of "the Lamb that was slain!"
III. WHAT REFLECTIONS THE SUBJECT SHOULD AWAKEN.
1. Earnest desire to be one with Christ.
2. Adoring gratitude that He has invested us with this hope which cannot die.
3. A deep concern for the religious welfare of others.
(S. T. Day.)I. ITS SIGNIFICANCE EXPLAINED.
1. Co-existence with Christ. Now He co-exists with the Church (Matthew 18:20; Matthew 28:20); then the Church will co-exist with Him (Matthew 12:26; 1 Thessalonians 4:17). Now He comes down, then He will take us up. Now the place where they are together is the scene of the Church's trials, conflicts, labours, discipline: then the place will be the house of many mansions, the scene of Christ's exaltation and glory.
2. Communion with Christ. Christ and His Church have that here (1 John 1:3). Here we see Him, but not with open vision (1 Corinthians 13:12). There the vision will be unveiled and full (1 Corinthians 13:12; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 22:4). They shall behold His glory, not only its outward symbol — the throne, sceptre, angels, trumpets, &c. — but the eternal, perfect love of the Father to Him, and the glory which, moved by that love, the Father put upon Him when He constituted Him the Crown of redeemed humanity (Ephesians 1:22; Philippians 2:9, 10; 1 Peter 3:22).
II. ITS CERTAINTY GUARANTEED.
1. By the "I will" of the Divine Servant. Having accomplished the work (ver. 4) Christ was entitled to claim the stipulated reward — not merely to "ask" or "wish," though that would have been enough. And as failure is impossible with reference either to God's promise (Hebrews 5:18), or Christ's reward (Isaiah 53:2), so certainly Christ's believing people will eventually be glorified with Him in heaven.
2. By the "I will" of the Divine Son. As such Christ had power to bestow eternal life (ver. 2), and so the ultimate glorification of the Church is seen.
III. ITS JUSTICE VINDICATED (ver. 25, 26).
1. If the world is not glorified it is because it cannot be. Eternal righteousness forbids the glorification of such as know not the Father.
2. If the Church is glorified, it is because glory is the necessary outcome of grace. Lessons:
1. The blessedness of heaven.
2. The certainty of salvation.
3. The necessity of growing in knowledge.
4. The righteousness of the unbelieving world's doom.
5. Grace the song of the glorified.
(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)1. The prayer of the Saviour rises as it proceeds. He asked for His people that they might be preserved from the world, then that they might be sanctified, and then that they might be made manifestly one; and now He reaches His crowning point — that they may be with Him where He is, and behold His glory. That prayer is most after the Divine pattern which, like a ladder, rises round by round, until it loses itself in heaven.
2. This last step of our Lord's prayer is not only above all the rest, but it is a longer step than any of the others. He here ascends, not from one blessing which may be enjoyed on earth, to higher, but mounts right away from all that is to that which is reserved for the eternal future.
3. Not only does it rise as to its subject, but it even ascends as to the place which the Intercessor appears to occupy. Has it not been so with yourselves in prayer, that you might have cried with Paul, "Whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell."
4. Still the prayer rises, not only as to its matter and place, but in a higher style. Before, our Lord had asked and pleaded; but now He says, "Father, I will." It is well not only to groan out of the dust as suppliant sinners, but to seek unto our Father in the spirit of adoption with the confidence of children, and then, with the promise of God in our hand, lay hold upon the covenant angel, and cry, "I will not let thee go, except thou bless me." Importunity is a humble approach to this Divine "I will."
I. Let us begin as our text begins with THE HOME-WORD — "Father." Is it not the centre of living unity? If there is to be a family gathering and reunion, where should it be but in the father's house?
1. What can be more right than that children should go home to their Father? From Him they came, to Him they owe their life, and should not this be the goal of their being, that they should at last dwell in His presence?
2. "Father!" why, it is a bell that rings us home. He who hath the Spirit of adoption feels that the Father draws him home, and he would fain run after Him. How intensely did Jesus turn to the Father!
3. This is the consummation which the First-born looks for, and to which all of us who are like Him are aspiring also, namely, that God may be all in all. Our Brother is gone; but we ask, "Where is He gone?" and when the answer comes, "He is gone to the Father," all notion of complaint is over. To whom else should He go? A child may be happy at school, but he longs for the holidays. Is it merely to escape his lessons? Ask him, and he will tell you, "I want to go home to see my father."
II. THE HOME IMPETUS. How shall the chosen get home to the Father. "I will," said Jesus, "that they be with Me"; and with Him they must be. Examine the energy of this "I will," and you will see that it hath the force of —
1. An intercessory prayer. I cannot imagine our Lord's interceding in vain. If He asks that we may be with Him where He is, He must assuredly have His request. You cannot hold your dying babe, &c.; for Jesus asks for it to be with Him. Will you come into competition with your Lord?
2. A testamentary bequest and appointment. No man who makes his will likes to have it frustrated. Our Saviour's testament will assuredly be carried out in every jot and tittle.
3. Desire, resolve, and purpose. If Jesus saith, "I will," then it is yours to say, "Not as I will, but as Thou wilt."
III. THE HOME CHARACTER. "They also, whom Thou hast given Me." The Greek is somewhat difficult to translate. There is here a something in the singular as well as persons in the plural. "Father, I will concerning that which thou hast given Me, that they may be with Me where I am."
1. Our Lord looked upon those whom the Father gave Him as one — one body, one Church, one bride: He willed that as a whole the Church should be with Him where He is.
2. Then He looked again and saw each of the many individuals of whom the one Church is composed, and He prayed that each, that all of these, might be with Him and behold His glory. Jesus never so prays for the whole Church as to forget a single member; neither does He so pray for the members individually as to overlook the corporate capacity of the whole.
3. I feel glad that there is no sort of personal character mentioned here, but only — "Those whom Thou hast given Me." It seems as if the Lord in His last moments was not so much looking at the fruit of grace as at grace itself; He did not so much note either the perfections or the imperfections of His people, but only the fact that they were His by the eternal gift of the Father. The Father gave them as a love-token and a means of His Son's glorification. If I possess a love-token that some dear one has given me I may rightly desire to have it with me. Nobody can have such a right to your wedding-ring, good sister, as you have yourself, and are not Christ's saints, as it were, a signet upon His finger, a token which His Father gave Him of His good pleasure in Him? Should they not be with Jesus where He is, since they are His crown jewels and His glory?
IV. THE HOME COMPANIONSHIP.
1. The nearness of the saints to Christ in glory — "that they may be with Me." In heaven the saints will be nearer to Christ than the apostles were when they sat at the table with Him, or heard Him pray. "For ever with the Lord" — this is heaven.
2. They must occupy a place: that place will be where Jesus is. We are to be, not metaphorically and fancifully, but really, truly, literally with Jesus.
3. Notice the occupation of those who are with Jesus: "That they may behold My glory." Love always pines for a partner in its joys. When I have been specially charmed with glorious scenery, I have felt myself saying, "How I wish that my dear wife could be here!" How unselfish it is on our Lord's part to think Himself not fully glorified till we behold His glory! How unselfish He will make us also, since it will be our glory to see His glory! Who would keep a brother out of it an hour?
4. Observe the fellowship which exists in the glory land. "That they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me." So when the Lord brings His people home, we shall be one with Him, and He one with the Father, and we also in Him one with the Father, so that we shall then find boundless glory in beholding the glory of our Lord and God.
V. THE HOME ATMOSPHERE. Love: "Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world." Can you follow me in a great flight? There was a day before all days, when there was no day but the Ancient of Days. Oh the intensity of the Divine love of the Father to the Son! There was no universe, but God alone; and the whole of God's omnipotence flowed forth in a stream of love to the Son, while the Son's whole being remained eternally one with the Father by a mysterious essential union. Love is both the source and the channel, and the end of the Divine acting. Because the Father loved the Son He gave us to Him, and ordained that we should be with Him. Let our saintly ones go home if that is the design of their going. Since all comes of Divine love, and all sets forth Divine love, let them go to Him who loves them. Hold your friends lovingly, but be ready to yield them to Jesus.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)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.)
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