"Father, I will that they
also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may beheld
my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the
foundation of the world."—John xvii. 24.
"All their toils and
Lo! they dwell with Christ above;
Oh! what glories they discover
In the Saviour whom they love!
Now they see Him face to face,
Him who saved them by His grace."
In our last, we considered
this verse as expressive of the Saviour's joy in Heaven in being with His
people. Let us consider it now as expressive of His people's joy in Heaven
in being with their Saviour.
Let us enumerate some of
the causes or reasons of this joy.
(1.) The very fact of His
being joyful will give them joy.
When a son hears of some
honour done to his hoary-headed parent, or of some event or occurrence
that has given him pleasure, the joy or the pride in the parent's bosom
will be transfused into that of his child, and become part of his own. Or
if we hear of the promotion in the world of a brother or a friend—that by
dint of intellect or goodness and worth he has risen to some position of
honourable eminence—what a joy his success gives to us! And shall it not
be so in an infinite degree with the redeemed in glory? When they behold
the Brother of brothers, the Friend of friends, reaping the fruits of the
"travail of His soul," and being "satisfied," His joy will become their
(2.) The thought of Sis
being near them and with them will impart to them joy.
It makes us happy to have
those near us we love. We never enjoy friendship so much as when that
friend is by our side. We may be cheered from time to time by an absent
brother's letters, his kind messages, and warm expressions of attachment;
but the written epistle does not supply the blank of the living one—we
long to see him face to face ere our joy can be complete.
So in Heaven with Jesus.
"In Thy presence" O Saviour! "there is fulness of joy." Then and there
shall that presence be fully unveiled;—the prayer of Moses for the first
time fully fulfilled, "I beseech Thee shew me Thy glory."
If even in this twilight
world the Christian can say, in the enjoyment of a present Saviour, "It is
good for me to be here," how good to be there! If even now the messages of
this absent Elder Brother, through His Word and Spirit, be cheering and
joyful, what will be the vision and fruition of the Brother Himself! If
the manna from the banqueting table be precious, what will it be to have
the vision and fruition of the Master of assemblies!
(3.) The thought of His not
only being with them and near them, but ever with them, and ever near
them, will greatly intensify their joy.
A friend or brother comes
from a distant land. His visit is cheering at the time, but it is only a
passing glimpse. The joy of his home-coming is soon damped by the
necessity or summons again to return. The joy of the disciples in having
their Lord with them in the days of His flesh was sadly clouded by the
announcement, "It is expedient for you that I go away." "When He said
these things unto them," we read, "sorrow filled their hearts."
Not so will it be with His
second and more glorious coming. "The Master is come," will be the joyful
message and cry, "and He will never more be taken from us"—He will be no
longer "a wayfaring man that turneth aside to tarry for a night"—no
farewell tear will ever again be shed,— no Olivet in Heaven, like the
earthly one, where He is to be "parted from them !" Oh, the joy
comprehended in that key-note to the song of the Redeemed, "And so we
shall be ever with the Lord!"
(4.) One other element of
the joy of the Redeemed in Heaven in having Jesus with them, is that His
presence will through eternity be the pledge and guarantee of their
The Tree of life in the
first Eden was the guarantee of Adam's safety, so long as he continued
faithful to his Maker. Christ is the Tree of Life in the midst of the
heavenly paradise—the immortal pledge of His people's covenant security.
"Because I live ye shall live also." Their happiness through eternity is
secured by His meritorious work;—they are there as His blood-bought
trophies; —their presence in heaven is an answer to the prayer we are now
considering;—it is the glorious Victor claiming His purchased rights,
"Father, I will." And not till He revokes that "will"—in other words, not
till an unchanging Saviour become changeable—can His people's happiness be
altered or impaired.
Reader ! learn as a
practical lesson from all this, how little it matters where the locality
of Heaven is. It is "with Christ." That is enough. In vain need we
speculate where Scripture is silent about the circumstantials of a coming
world of bliss. But be this world where it may, Jesus is there! ''With me!
where I AM!" and the Christian needs no more. The last words of invitation
of Jesus to His Church, when that Church is taking its transition step
from the militant to the triumphant state, will be, ''Come, ye blessed of
my Father!" Observe, it is not, '' Go, ye blessed, to some paradise of my
providing. I am about to return to my heavenly throne. I have marked out
some new Eden for you. Some blissful solitude where you can. reign alone.
But though separated from me, I have made provision for the fullest
measure of joy." No; this would hush every harp, and cloud every spirit.
It would be like sending them to a universe without a sun. It would be to
tell them they were to be dependent on the fitful lustre of glimmering
stars. But it is, ''Come, ye blessed! Come with me! I ascend to my Father
and your Father—to my God and your God. We go together. I will be your
forerunner. I will shew you the path of life. My glory is to be your
glory. My gladness is to be your gladness. Enter ye into the joy of your
Oh, in some exalted sense,
may we not put the words of the apostle into the mouth of his Lord and
Master, and suppose Him thus to address His saints on the great day—"What
is my joy or crown of rejoicing? Are not ye in my own presence?"
The prayer of Jesus we have
been considering, is ascending now. It has been ascending and fulfilling
for six thousand years. Though unseen to mortal eye, He, the great
covenant Angel, is even now standing before the throne, with the
breastplate of His unchanging priesthood. The hand that was once
transfixed to the tree is pointing to the names engraven there, and
saying, ''Father, I will" that those here imperishably inscribed "be with
me where I am."
With what solemn
significance may we connect the utterance of that prayer with every
believer's death-bed ! The Church on earth may be weeping and mourning
over some bright light on the eve of being extinguished, wondering,
perhaps, at the mysterious providence which is about to carry bereavement
into some stricken household. Could they listen to the transactions in the
upper sanctuary, every repining word would be hushed into silence. They
would find the death-bed on earth was the answer to the request in
Heaven—"Father, I will that this saint whom thou hast given me be with me
where I am."
Christian! exult in this
"blessed hope." Covet the possession of this fulness of joy;—beholding
Jesus as He is, rejoicing over you with all the joy of His infinite
Godhead and glorified humanity. Here we are merely among the shallows of
this ocean of infinite love; what will it be when we shall be "able to
comprehend with all saints what is the height and depth, and length and
breadth, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge!"