#153 "The Grand Tour"
June 24, 2008
"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." (John 17: 24)
I am so grateful to God for the apostle John. Through the Holy Spirit, John lets us eavesdrop on God praying to God. God the Son praying to God the Father. In verses 1-5, Christ prays for Himself. In verses 6-19, He prays for His disciples, and in verses 20-26 He prays for all believers...that's us. "The Lord's Prayer". Jesus' will was one with His Father's will. He said, "Father, I want". Since His will is identical to the Father's (see John 4:34, 5:30, and 6:38), it will certainly come to pass. And what does Jesus want?
What He wants is for us to be with Him where He is. Those who are "in" Him, He wants also to be "with" Him. Because of His words in John 14: 1-3, about returning to take us to be with Him where He is, we can safely draw the conclusion that He wants us to be in Heaven with Him. But that's not all. He wants us to see His glory. What was revealed to the disciples while Christ walked the face of the earth, and what is revealed to us in Scripture, isn't even the half of it. "The glory that Jesus revealed in His earthly ministry is a mere glimpse of an eternal reality that existed before creation." (The IVP New Testament Commentary Series. Rodney A. Whitacre) And Christ is waiting to show that glory to you and to me.
My earthly father always took pride in the places where he worked. He would talk about each company as if he were the owner himself. And if I was ever able to join him at work, he would always take me on the grand tour. I've toured my share of offices, grocery stores and restaurants. For a short time before cancer started to get the best of him, he worked at a place called Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village was founded in 1929 as an educational and historic landmark, maintaining the buildings and stories of America's past for future generations. My dad loved to sit for hours and talk about all the attractions. He was getting too sick to take us on a tour himself, but we listened as he told us all about it. He ended up in a nursing care facility for awhile before he went home with my mother for his last days. I followed him through every inch of that place, as he navigated his walker up to the second floor, through the kitchen and dining areas, and outside to walk the grounds, proudly showing me his temporary quarters.
I went to visit him at the hospital one night just a few weeks before he died, and Dad tried to tell me about the ginormous Christmas tree that adorned the Village every year. He said that it was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen. He tried to go on, but the tears welled up in his eyes. He already knew that he would never see that Christmas tree again. But he was so proud and he so wanted me to be able to see it one day. And I think this is just a small glimpse of how Christ feels about showing us His Heaven and His glory.
Scripture defines heaven as "a kingdom, an inheritance: there are rivers of pleasure, trees of life, glorious light, rapturous songs, robes, crowns, feasting, mirth, treasures, triumphs. They also give us positive representations: the righteous dwell in the presence of God; they appear with Christ in glory. Heaven is life, everlasting life: glory, an eternal weight of glory: salvation, repose, peace, fullness of joy, the joy of the Lord". (ATS Bible Dictionary). And Christ is waiting at the doorway, excited about giving us the grand tour.
He wants us to see His glory. He wants us to see who He truly is. He wants to reveal His whole self to us. Strong's defines His "glory" as His dignity, His honor, His praise, and His worship all in very apparent form. 1 Corinthians 13: 12 says, "Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face." I imagine Jesus thinking, "They ain't seen nothing yet!"
Talk about knowing the heart of Christ. I believe that it is revealed right there in John 17:24. He wants you to be with Him and He wants to show you His glory. He wants to give you the grand tour and let you see Him like you've never seen Him before. And I believe that He is so excited about that. Can't you just imagine Him smiling and bursting with anticipation as He waits for you there? As He waits to welcome you home?
And I'll bet dollars to donuts that Dad's got Jesus convinced that He needs help with giving tours.
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