By T.M. Anderson
"Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am ..."--JOHN 17:24.
Jesus presented the precious legacy of His prayer when He offered His intercessory prayer preserved for us by John. The Lord let His disciples have the pleasure of knowing what His intercession for them in heaven as their High Priest was like. The disciples had heard the Saviour pray for them many times, but they had never heard Him pray as He did at this particular time. They must have been deeply impressed by the simplicity of His approach to the Father. They heard Him pray with the implicit confidence of the Beloved Son, Who is co-equal and eternal with the Father. They must have realized that Christ breathed into His intercessory prayer the efficacy and power of His endless life.
Jesus presented the priceless legacy of His prayer to the Father when He said, "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 gavest me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." These gracious words of Jesus reveal His final will regarding the blessed estate of the redeemed. His inalienable right to plead His will before the Father is based on His finished work in the world. He said, "I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do."--v. 4.
Jesus made it clear that His intercessory prayer is an integral part of His redemptive work on the cross. His finished work and His final will are one in the Divine plan of salvation.
It has pleased the Saviour to disclose the final fulfillment of all He has willed and devised for His purchased people. The pleasing prospect of being with Him where He is shall be fulfilled to the glory of the Father and to the everlasting admiration and joyful acclamation of His adoring saints.
It was difficult for the disciples to understand the Saviour's avowed purpose to go away. Their minds were sorely perplexed and their hearts troubled by the disturbing fact of His sufferings and death. They thought that He was leaving them alone to serve and suffer in a world hostile toward all they believed and preached. Perhaps they had almost reached the point of accepting final defeat when Jesus revived their faltering courage, saying, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you."--John 14:1,2.
Let us emphasize His gracious words, "... A place for you." Our Lord revealed the purpose of His departure when He uttered these immortal words. He lifted the veil between time and eternity to establish the faith of His troubled people. He enabled His ransomed saints to see the heavenly home of the soul with the eyes of their hearts. He would have His people rest their faith on His comforting words, "In my Father's house are many mansions ..."
There will be no homeless children in the family of God. All shall dwell in stately mansions throughout the endless day. This unfriendly world has no permanent abiding place for the children of God. They were born in this world, and many shall be buried in this world, but this passing world is not their home. They have no continuing city on the earth. God's people are citizens of the celestial City, the heavenly Jerusalem, which John saw coming down from heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
Perhaps we are disposed to think of the eternal pleasure and ineffable joys to be obtained in the place prepared for His people. We try to visualize the beauty of the City whose Builder and Maker is God. We are inclined to wonder about the skill of the Infinite Artist who has blended the seven prismatic colors of white light to enhance the resplendent glory of the holy habitation of the redeemed.
While meditating on the blessed hope of heaven let us not overlook the fact that our expectations are based on the finished work of Christ. Jesus said to the Father, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." He made no mention of the price paid in blood and tears to prepare the place where we could be with Him to all eternity. He prays like One returning home after having completed an assigned task.
His vicarious sufferings on the middle cross provided the necessary fitness of moral character for us to sharp eternal bliss with Him in the Father's house. His intercessory prayer assures us that we can be sanctified through the truth. It is His will to cleanse us by His blood and present us holy and unblamable and unreproved in His sight. (Colossians 1:22.)
We have every reason to believe that we can avail ourselves of the blessed benefits of His finished work, and come to the end of life's journey and receive a grand welcome into the City of God. His finished work and final will are the sure foundation on which we rest our hope to be with Him where He is, and to behold His glory.
Jesus possessed a peculiar joy in achieving His Father's purpose in redemption. He had a peculiar pleasure in providing a place in the Father's house for His trusting people. His joy in bringing many sons unto glory enabled Him to triumph over His physical sufferings and anguish of soul.
The merciless mockery of the multitude, the scorning sneers of the scribes, and the reproaches of the riotous rabble could not turn Him from His fixed purpose to finish His work according to the will of the Father. The stripes, spittle, blood, and bruises could not defeat Him. The insults and indignities heaped upon Him could not overwhelm His fervent love for His homeless saints. Being numbered with the transgressors, He was crucified on a lonely hill called Calvary. He suffered, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God.
He was despised by foes, derided by fanatics, and deserted by friends, but He triumphed over sin and death, and returned to the right hand of the majesty on High, and ever lives to make intercession for His saints.
It would be utterly impossible to imagine the overwhelming despair and dreadful disappointment that would sweep over the souls of the redeemed if Christ's prayer should not be answered. The black raven of despair would croak the dirge of eternal death on the graves of the godly. The living sons of God would lift up their voices in unutterable lament and bewail the day they heard the hope of the Gospel.
We have no fears and doubts regarding the final triumph of Christ's intercessory prayer. He has presented His petition as a legacy to be shared by His trusting people. His last will and testament has been signed by His nail-scarred hand and sealed by the Holy Spirit. Every word uttered in His immortal intercession shall be answered in full.
The voice of His supplication has been heard in high heaven, and the language of His weeping has been interpreted before the mercy seat of pure gold. His tears shall triumph and His petition shall be granted.
It is almost unbelievable that our Lord can find pleasure in holy fellowship with His ransomed people to all eternity. His prayer shows us that it is His will to dwell with His people in the sacred bond of love throughout all ages, world without end.
The greatest pleasure to be enjoyed in heaven will be the unspeakable pleasure of being with the Saviour for evermore. The glory of His presence shall make glad the City of God.
We would find no pleasure in beholding the beauty of the Father's house of many mansions if Christ were not present to fill it with the light of His countenance. The brightness of His glory, and beauty of His Person shall enhance the happiness of the redeemed. The river of life, the fruitful trees, and the anthems of angels enhance the joys of the habitation of the holy people, but these blessed realities would fail to satisfy the citizens of the land of endless day unless the glorified Son were present to receive their eternal praise.
Let us continue to pray that our Lord will count us worthy to receive the legacy of His intercessory prayer presented to the Father. Let us not fail to obtain the spiritual fitness provided for us in His finished work. We must ever be mindful of the fact that without holiness no man shall see the Lord.
Let us take comfort in the Saviour's immortal prayer, "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 gavest me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."