Wednesday, March 31, 2010

To Be With Him

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. (John 17:24)
When Jesus prayed the prayer recorded in John 17, He had just spoken to His disciples of His upcoming death and resurrection. * After His initial statements, they were incredibly confused and unsure of what He meant. Jesus then clarified His words, promising them joy following their great sorrow.

Putting myself in the disciples shoes and then again in Jesus' place, gives a new perspective to these oft-quoted verses. Jesus' human heart was obviously struggling against what He knew He must do, while His compassion for those for whom He would soon die overwhelmed Him.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. 21 A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come: but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. 22 And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you. (John 16:20-22)
For me, no other passage of Scripture really captures the consuming love Jesus had than these two chapters in the book of John. How could He, so consumed, not offer hope to these whom He cared so much for?

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
In my mind, it's as if I hear Christ pleading, "You don't know what I know, or understand what I must now do, but believe me when I promise you joy, peace, and victory because of it."

The Bible speaks in Luke 22:44 of the anguish Jesus was under as He prayed in the garden of Gethsemane, anguish so great He sweat "great drops of blood". I know we have all read that passage before, but stop for a moment and think about it. Here He was facing an event that no one else could "get Him out of," an event He knew He must face alone. He must have imagined how these, His friends, would feel as they watched Him die.

Chapter seventeen continues with Jesus' struggle as He prays to His Father.

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come... (John 17:1)
I encourage you today, to stop and take the time to read this entire passage of Scripture because it is life changing. But return with me to my initial verse, John 17:24, for I want you to notice a very important phrase.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am...
"Let them be with me right here, Father," He asked, "Right here where I am."

Ask yourself this question, Where was He? What did Jesus mean when He prayed those words? He was still facing a horrible cruel death. He certainly didn't want them to face that, or He would not have offered up His life in their place. He didn't want them to feel His anguish because He'd already told them they need only ask, and they'd receive with full joy. ** So what DID He mean?

He explains in the very next phrase.

...that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
What does the Scripture say in the book of Hebrews?
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame... (Hebrews 12:2)
Jesus endured the cross for the joy. The Message Bible says, "He never lost sight of where he was headed..." In His greatest moment of weakness, facing death, Jesus looked at the joy afterward. He looked at the glory that would be revealed through His sacrifice. He remember how much the Father loved Him.

When He prayed "let them be with me" He was asking for these disciples, these brothers of His, and in return "for them also which shall believe...through their word" *** (that's you and me!) to know the love of the Father, the glory of the sacrifice, and the joy of the reward.

"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." ****
“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. 26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” (John 17:25-26)

*John 16:16 ** John 16:24 *** John 17:20 **** John 15:13)

Suzanne Williams Photography
Florida, USA

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.

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