Jesus prays in John 17:24: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
Jesus gives us his reason for why he wants you to be with him: “That they may behold my glory which you have given me…”
Jesus Desires Your Presence so that You Might See His Glory. That all the given ones might dwell in his immediate presence forever in order that they might delight forever in the glory of God in Christ… a vision that begins here on earth (2 Corinthians 3:18) and reaches its climax in heaven.
It is interesting to note that Jesus taught and modeled for his disciples that real glory consists in gladly taking the lowly place and serving others. But here Jesus wants us to see that that is not the whole story. There is coming a day when we will see and experience the transcendent, majestic, awe-inspiring glory of our Lord. It is only as we are with Jesus that we will see and experience this glory.
Well, we must ask ourselves a basic question: What is glory? Glory is the outward radiance of the intrinsic beauty and greatness of Jesus Christ in his manifold perfections. We catch glimpses of His glory during our earthly lives (1:14; 2:11; 2 Cor 3:18; 4:6), but there is a yet more complete vision of his glory that awaits believers. John later says that at his coming “we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2; Colossians 3:4).
Since heaven is to be spent beholding and marveling at the glory of Jesus, would pray for the Lord to awaken your desire to behold and experience a taste of His glory and beauty now on earth? Would you pray along with King David: “One thing I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord” (Psalm 27:4).
Does the desire of the patriarch Job resonate with your spirit? “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” (Job 19:25-27)
Take a moment to reflect on these words that set forth the desire of the Apostle Paul. “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:21,23). “After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).
One Key Use of John 17:24: Let it comfort you when you are called upon to release someone you love to Jesus at the time of their death. Jesus wants them to be with him. That is why Psalm 116:15 says, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” We should see the deaths of our Christian loved ones and of ourselves as the Father’s answer to his Son’s prayer. Jesus is taking his own to be with him where he is and now they behold the fair beauty of their Lord not just by faith but now by sight.
John Knox had this passage of Scripture (John 17) read to him every day while he was on his deathbed. It is not hard to imagine why this last section would have been particularly comforting to him. For here we read of Jesus’ burning passion for our presence. He wants you to be with him and see his glory. Heaven would not be the same with your absence. He makes sure that you not only have the right to heaven but also are made fit for heaven so that you might be by his side. Oh, how he must love you!