John 17:24. “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.”
Jesus is now coming to the end of His heartfelt prayer for His disciples, both then and down through the centuries.
“I will” could correctly be translated as I desire, I want, I ask You.” He is praying, remember–not demanding. He desires that all His followers, which God gave Him, be with Him. The desire He expressed here was for the ultimate completion of all things, so that all the people God had given Him could be united in heaven with Him forever. He was not yet in heaven, but was speaking as if He were, and as if all His earthly work had been completed. He came, after all, from a place where time did not exist.
Ephesians 1:3 and 2:6 speak to believers in the same sense–that God has already raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in heavenly realms. That is our ultimate end, and in the mind of God it is already accomplished! I find great comfort in knowing that, as we face growing unrest and uncertainty in the days ahead.
“That they may behold My glory”: We really have no concept of what it will be that will hold us enthralled through all eternity. So great is His glory, given Him by the Father, that we will never have enough of seeing Him, praising Him, worshiping Him and glorifying Him forever. Our understanding here on earth is limited, clouding our vision of what heaven will be like.
I recently had cataracts removed from both eyes. The first thing that struck me, as my vision cleared, was how white white is! When I closed the eye that had not yet been repaired, out new bathroom appliances were so white as to make me want to close my eye! Then, closing the “good” eye and looking at the same thing with my “bad” eye, everything took on a rather greenish-beige tint. The cataract limits the amount of light that penetrates the lenses of the eyes, and so we do not see clearly. It is rather like “looking through a glass darkly (I Cor 13:12), but when the glass is washed clean, the true glory of the Savior will, in a sense, blind us to everything else.
I think most of us have wondered what we’ll be doing in heaven all through eternity. It’s interesting to speculate, and I believe God will have more wondrous things for us there than we can even begin to imagine. But I also believe that we’ll just want to see Jesus.
The last part of today’s verse tells us that the Father loved the Son before the foundation of the world. Before time began in the human realm. From eternity past to eternity present and future, the love of the Father has been and always will be invested in the Son, and through the Son, in us.