Close your eyes and picture this: Jesus is looking up toward Heaven. He knows his Father (our Father) is there, because he is part of him. He has seen him, and is in him. He begins to pray for himself, asking the Father to glorify him and complete the work of giving his people eternal life. Then, head still raised toward his beloved Father, he begins to pray for his disciples; these dedicated, albeit sometimes thick, fellows who stayed with him for three years, leaving everything and hanging on to every word and mile Christ led them through. He doesn’t stop there, though, because his finished work is not just for his current followers. He continues his prayer, interceding for us. He looks down the corridor of time and prays for every single believer that would pass through history. He prays,
My prayer is not for them alone (his disciples). I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (John 17:20-23).
Joel DeVinney, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Millersville, PA, said in a sermon something I’d never considered. We believers look forward to a time when we will be assembled before Christ, as the Church is consummated. We try to picture it, barely able to imagine what it will be like to be in Christ’s presence as his Bride, along with every believer who has ever lived. We have no capacity to grasp it. But have you ever considered Christ’s perspective? What will it be like for him to stand before his consummated Bride? Here will be his finished work, the remnant of Israel and the full number of Gentiles, all complete, all praising him in perfect unity; what he had prayed, suffered, and died for. Satan will be vanquished and we will be together in the all-encompassing light of the Creator, falling at the feet of Jesus as he looks on in immeasurable, profound, unending love. Imagine what that will be like for him! It makes me want to work for him, love him, even more!