Tuesday, November 18, 2014

We Shall Be With the Glorious Christ (John 17:24)

I was very much blessed with my study of Isaiah 6. Since November is Tinubos blog's anniversary month, I'm planning to post that material later this month. If the Lord wills, it will be posted on the 28th, the very day Tinubos was born way back in 2008. For the meantime, I'm posting this material which is really a spillover from my study of Isaiah 6.

This is also to grant the request of She Yap and Chewvy Orlanes. They graciously visited Guiding Light Dagupan and heard me preach this material on the afternoon of August 3. Thank you dear friends; I'm sorry for the delay. Though slightly modified, this is essentially the same message given to us on that blessed afternoon.

There is a verse in the New Testament that links Jesus Christ to the high and lofty vision of God's glory in Isaiah 6; that verse is John 12:42 where it is written:"Isaiah said this because he saw Jesus' glory and spoke about him." John identified Jesus as the one whom Isaiah saw; the YHWH whose glory fills the whole earth.

Yet that was far from obvious on Jesus' days here on earth. While the king in Isaiah's vision possessed a blazing glory that even angels must cover their eyes, the carpenter  from Nazareth looked so ordinary. People saw no beauty, no majesty in him. The Pharisees and the Sadducees saw nothing special in him. Pilate and Herod saw him as a powerless suspect on trial. The crowd mocked him. The soldiers scourged. They spit on him, probably on his face.

Yet there will come a day when Jesus will be revealed in his full glory. When he comes, people would rather wish to be buried alive than to face the Wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:16)

This glory was the first concern of Jesus when he opened his prayer at Gethsemane (John 17:1-5). He wants it back-- that blinding splendor which was veiled when he took the form of a servant. After praying for other matters (verses 6-23), he returns to the first concern in verse 24, so that his disciples would see that glory when they shall finally be reunited in the end. His specific prayer was:

NIV 1984

I would like to share three things we are assured of based on this short prayer item of the Lord:

First, this assures us that we ain't seen nothing yet.
Yes the disciples saw glimpses of his glory. They witnessed him turn water into wine. They heard him command the winds and the winds obeyed. Demons trembled before him. He made the sick well. He made the lame walk. He made the blind see. He raised the dead back to life and other things too many to mention.

And you my friend, if you have been a Christian long enough, there is no doubt that you have your own experiences of answered prayers and other wonderful things. Yet we have not yet seen the best of who Jesus is. We have not yet experienced the best of what Jesus has prepared for us. We will be with him and see his unveiled glory. We will be awed by his infinite majesty moment by moment and it will be unending. It will be an eternity of pleasures and joy in his presence (Psalm 16:11)

Second, this assures us that all our present troubles will soon melt away in the presence of Christ.
When the disciples began to understand that Jesus would soon leave them, their hearts were immediately filled with grief. As early as in chapter 14, Jesus has already presented the cure to that grief-- that is the promise of reunion with him (John 14:1-3).

Jesus' request in John 17:24 for his followers to be with him shows that he wants eternal comforts for us. We could then look beyond our present sufferings; they are not worth comparing to the glory that shall be revealed in us (Rom. 8:18). "Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all" (2 Cor. 4:17). Our Shepherd will lead us to the springs of living water, and there God will wipe every tear from our eyes (Rev. 7:17).

Third, this assures us that we will be changed into a people that fully enjoys God's glory.
From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible's testimony is consistent: Sinners don't enjoy the glory of God:
  • After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve hid themselves among the trees upon hearing that the Lord is approaching (Gen. 3:8).
  • After hearing God spoke the ten commandments, the Israelites saw a frightening sight. The mountain was covered with smoke. Lightning flashed followed by the deafening sound of thunder. They trembled in fear. So they ask Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen. But do not have God speak to us or we will die." (Exodus 20:18-19)
  • Isaiah saw God's glory and his conclusion was, "Woe to me... I am ruined!"
  • Earlier we saw that people would prefer being buried alive than face the Glorious Lamb (Rev. 6:16)
The presence of a holy and glorious God is a threat to sinners. But with Jesus' request in John 17:24, we are assured that someday we would be transformed into beings fully capable of enjoying God's glory. Facing God will no longer be a threat but a blessing (Matt. 5:8). Through the process of sanctification, the transformation has already began and it shall be completed when we are finally reunited with our Lord (1 John 3:2)

You may ask, "Will I ever arrive at that?"
Well, who doubts the potency of Jesus' prayer?  If you have put your trust solely on the Lord Jesus Christ for your eternal destiny, then this prayer is for you.

James picked Elijah as an example of a righteous man whose prayer is powerful and effective (James 5:16b-18). If a mere mortal's prayer is powerful and effective, how much more with the sinless Jesus Christ who has been in indescribable intimacy with his Father before the world began. "YES" we shall be with the glorious Christ and shall enjoy him forever.

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