JESUS' PRAYER OF INTERCESSION, PART 6
John 17:24-26 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. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.
The use of the term "I will," in Jesus prayer of intercession to God, should in no way infer that He is ordering God to grant His petition. Rather, Jesus is expressing a sincere, human, heart-felt desire to God that He will hear and allow His request to be fulfilled. His desire expressed in the form of a prayer was that they ...whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am. Once again, in order to get a true understanding of God's word, it is occasionally necessary to know exactly who is speaking, who is being spoken to, and about whom the speaker is referring. In this passage, Jesus is petitioning God on behalf of, not only His apostles, but also His future followers that will obey the gospel call of His apostles and become faithful disciples of Him and the church, which He died to established.
Although Jesus, at the time of this intercessory petition to God, was still alive here on earth, He is speaking of a near future time; the time after He would be crucified on the cross of Calvary, buried, resurrected, and ascended back into heaven. It is in heaven that He is looking forward to being united with the elect saints that will have been caught up with Him and saved for eternity. And there in heaven, Jesus prays, that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me. On that final and eternal gathering in heaven, all that faithfully served God and obediently honored Jesus through their Christian conduct, and by proclaiming His gospel of salvation during their lives on earth, they will behold the glory that God has bestowed on our Lord and Savior. That is, they will rejoice and participate in His glory to the fullest extent possible.
A trite example would be the elation of honoring a king, queen, or any other dignitary here on earth. Consider how much more joyfulness will be experienced when we come into the presence of our Lord and Savior in the unimaginable and indescribable beauty of His home, in that eternal abode called heaven. Considering the last phrase of verse 24, how can anyone doubt that Jesus existed with God before creation and before time began? He was in the presence of the Creator; the God that loved Him as His only Son before the foundation of the world. Any other explanation of Jesus' existence is pure errant, human speculation.
Continuing, Jesus confesses, in His prayer to God, that the world hath not known Thee. To know God is to believe, accept, and obey His inspired word, the Bible. The nation of Israel, as a whole, admittedly knew the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but they rejected His Son, Jesus Christ, as the promised Messiah due to their humanly biased misinterpretation of Old Testament prophecies written by God's messengers. By rejecting Jesus, those Jews, who were influenced by their erring spiritual leaders, rejected God - they didn't know Him. John previously recorded the very statement of Jesus which established this fact. Speaking of the vast majority of the nation of Israel, Jesus confessed that they know not Him (God) that sent Me (John 15:21b). Jesus also made this statement that demonstrated their rejection of God: He that hateth Me hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father (John 15:23-24). Finally, Jesus declares His own steadfast knowledge of God as His Heavenly Father. Referring to His apostles, and later, to Christians of all ages, He also affirms that these have known that Thou hast sent Me.
By His teaching and the compassionate miracles He performed to prove His deity, Jesus had made known to all Jews, and especially to His apostles, that He was God's Son, sent to earth to deliver His gospel message of salvation to the world. Indeed, Jesus had declared unto them Thy name. He also affirmed that He will continue to declare it, not only by His death and resurrection, but also by His recorded appearances and teaching during the forty days following His resurrection and before His ascension back into heaven. His New Testament doctrine was also declared by the preaching of His Holy Spirit-inspired apostles beginning on the Day of Pentecost. The love that unifies and binds all followers of Christ to God and each other, is founded in this spiritual truth: that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.