Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which you have given me…
I. HEAVEN AS A PLACE.
1. It is a place.
(1) This is suggested by our fundamental notions of things. We must look at our future existence to some extent in the light or' the present. There is a real analogy between all the stages of existence of the same being. We find ourselves here inseparably connected with a place. We make mental and spiritual excursions even to the infinite and illimitable, but still we find our consciousness connected with a place. Locality enters into all our notions of all finite existences. They are, and they are somewhere.
(2) This is suggested by the facts of many being now in heaven in their bodies, and of the general resurrection of the body at the last day. Enoch, Elias, our blessed Lord, and doubtless many more, are now there in their bodies. And we are taught that there will be a general resurrection of the body at the last day. It may be said that the resurrection-body will be spiritual. Yes, but spiritual not as distinguished from material, but from carnal and corrupt. In the light of the great facts of existence with which we are familiar, there is nothing unreasonable nor impossible in the doctrine of the resurrection. But, on the supposition that the body is to lose entirely its materialness, it seems indeed unreasonable and altogether unnecessary, and we ask what is the use of it at all? And we cannot see how a being who has lived, thought, felt, and acted in a material organization, could keep his identity in any state of existence entirely apart from such an organization. And if the resurrection-body will be in any way material, then it must have a material locality, and heaven must be a place.
(3) This is plainly taught in the Word of God. It is taught in these words. And heaven is generally spoken of in Scripture as a special place. As a city, the new and heavenly Jerusalem. Christ speaks of it as his Father's house, where there are many mansions. "I go and prepare a place for you." So that the conclusions of reason and the teachings of revelation point to the same fact.
2. It is a place where Jesus is and the redeemed will be. "Where I am," etc. If so, we conclude:
(1) That it is a most glorious place. It is the habitation of the only begotten Son of God, the express Image of his Person, whose glory on the mount transfigured his human nature, and transformed the mount into a scene of Divine majesty. The place where he dwells must be unspeakably grand. The house must be worthy of the tenant, and the palace of the great King.
(2) That it must be a very extensive place. To contain the hosts of angels which ever attend upon his Person, and the innumerable multitude of the redeemed - those given him by the Father, who shall be with him - such a vast throng requires a vast place. Although spiritual bodies doubtless will not require as much room as when in their crude and gross form, yet the place must be vast.
(3) That it is a place where the Redeemer and the redeemed enjoy the closest fellowship. "That where I am," etc. With regard to believers on earth, the Savior is physically invisible and absent; this is a hindrance to complete fellowship. But in heaven the Savior and the saved will be locally and physically together, occupying the same abode, which will make the fellowship between them perfect.
3. It is a place the chief glory of which is Jesus. In itself, its occupations and surroundings, it must be specially glorious; but its chief glory is Christ. As the place where he is, it is most attractive even to those who know most about it. Few, if any, knew as much of its local glories as Paul; but he had a desire to depart, not to be in heaven as such, but to be with Christ. The chief inhabitants of a place form its chief attractions. Wicked people would soon turn heaven into hell, whilst good people would soon turn hell into heaven. People make a place, and not a place the people. The characters of heaven are all attractive, but Jesus is the chief one.
4. It is a place where Christ's glory will be fully Seen.
(1) His mediatorial glory. "The glory which thou hast given me." The glory of his Divine-human Person; the glory of his surroundings; the homage paid him at home; the glory of his complete victories and self-sacrifice; his glory in the redeemed, in their individual perfection, and in their perfect unity.
(2) This glory can alone be fully seen in heaven. The glory of his Divinity, separately considered, can be seen everywhere in the works of his power; but his mediatorial glory can alone be fully seen where he is, and not where he is not. To see this he must be personally seen and be locally near.
(3) This glory will be fully seen in heaven by the redeemed. "That they may see my glory." This is the purpose of his present will, that they may be in a position to see it fully, see it directly. The vision will be perfect, although gradual. Eternity will be fully occupied in its manifestation, and will not be a moment too long. It will be the reward of their service and the perfection of their knowledge and felicity.
II. THE WILL OF JESUS WITH REGARD TO BELIEVERS IN RELATION TO HEAVEN.
1. In its expression. "Father, I will," etc. He no longer prays, but wills. He had prayed, and his prayers were really answered. He now expresses his will as one of the Divine counsels.
2. In its contents. "That they also whom," etc. This implies:
(1) That Jesus would not be happy without them.
(2) That they would not be happy without him.
(3) That together they would attain the consummation of happiness and glory.
3. In its reasons.
(1) The fact that believers are the Father's gifts. "Those whom," etc. Such tenants are more costly gifts than the place of their habitation. A suitable place for them naturally follows.
(2) The manifestation of his glory. "That they may see," etc. What would be the Divine glory without appreciative eyes to see it, and what would be these appreciative eyes without the Divine glory in Christ? But both together are suitable.
(3) The Father's love to the Son. "For thou lovedst me," etc.
(a) This love is very old. The eternal Son could not remember its beginning. He knew that it was before the foundation of the world, and that it was the chief stone in that foundation; but it was much older in its origin. It was eternal; but the foundation of the world was a special era in its history.
(b) This love is unchangeable. Jesus was fully conscious that he had done nothing to decrease, but rather to increase, it.
(c) This love is very effective. There is no place in the universe too good for the Father to give to the friends of his Son for the sake of this love - not even the most glorious place of his own presence.
1. The first thing in human happiness is a suitable character - faith in and union with Christ.
2. The next thing is a suitable place. That place is where Jesus is, wherever that may be. It is enough with regard to the locality of heaven.
3. A suitable character and place will be perfection of bliss.
4. Let the character be prepared - heaven is certain. Christ prays for the former; he wills the latter, and respectfully demands it.
5. The present is a scene of struggle and preparation; the future will be a scene of enjoyment. The enjoyment of Christ's presence and service, and the visions of his transcendent glory. What visions await the believer in heaven! All our pro-roundest aspirations will be more than realized. - B.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.