“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am…”
John 17:24 (NIV)
During a recent illness and hospitalization, my children expressed their concern for me in numerous ways. One cancelled an appointment to be with me, the others all visited and spent time with me. Sometimes we talked, sometimes we just were silently together. What was important to me above all else they did was that they chose to spend time with me. They could easily have spent elsewhere as busy young adults and parents.
This is a tremendous proof of love. The one who loves another wishes to be with the one they love. Time together is golden, precious, wonderful. Time apart is at best unpleasant. Such is the way of love.
Jesus most clearly demonstrated His love for us in dying for our sins and rising again. However, His words here are the most glorious verbal expression of His heart toward His people. This is the final petition of our Lord as He prays for us, and it is the pinnacle—the mountain top of loving expression and concern.
When thinking of Himself, He said to the Father, “Not my will but yours be done.” (Mark 14:36). But when He thinks of His people He boldly says to the Father, “I will that they be with me…”
Jesus will not have anything to do with a final separation from His people. He has already taught them in the preceding chapters that He must leave them for a short time, but He wishes them to understand He will have them with Him forever.
Read and reread this verse today and let the truth soak into your heart and mind. If you are a Christian you may be very certain that this petition of Jesus is going to be fulfilled. You shall stand in glory with Jesus in a coming day. You will talk with Him, walk with Him, listen to Him speaking His love and acceptance of you.
Perhaps someone in this life, who did love you, no longer does. He or she may have walked away from you and left you alone. Jesus will never do that. He has committed Himself to you and He is determined that you and He shall forever be together. Comfort your broken heart today in the knowledge He is as good as His word.
Eternity will not be long enough to adequately sing the praise of this Faithful One Who has set His love upon us and will not allow any of His people to be absent from heaven. What Jesus really wants—and shall surely have—is all of His people with Him in glory. Is that enough for you? It is for Him.