"All their toils and conflicts over,
Lo! they dwell with Christ above;
Oh! what glories they discover
In the Savior whom they love!
Now they see Him face to face,
Him who saved them by His grace."—Kelly.
"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me
where I am, and to see my glory."—John 17:24.
In our last chapter, we considered this verse as
expressive of the Savior's joy in Heaven in being with His people. We may
consider it now as expressive of HIS PEOPLE'S JOY in Heaven in being with
their Savior. Let us enumerate some of the causes or reasons of this
(1.) The very fact of HIS being joyful will give them
When a son hears of some honor 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 of a brother or a
friend—that by dint of intellect or goodness or worth he has risen to some
position of honorable 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 His 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
before our joy can be complete.
So likewise in Heaven with Jesus. "In Your presence,"
"there is fullness of joy." Then and there shall that presence be
If even in this twilight world the Christian can say, in
the enjoyment of a present Savior, "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." "
Because I have said these things unto you, sorrow has filled your heart,"
Not so will it be with His second and more glorious
coming. "The Master has 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
turns 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 shall we EVER be 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 SAFETY.
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 you shall live also,"
(John 14:19.) 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 until He
revokes that "will"—in other words, not until an unchanging Savior
become changeable—can His people's happiness be altered or impaired.
Reader! learn from all this the same practical lesson we
have previously enforced, "how little it matters where the locality
of Heaven is. It is "with Christ." That is enough. "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,
you who are blessed by my Father!" Observe, it is not, "Go,
you blessed ones, 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
luster of glimmering stars. But it is, "COME, you blessed ones! 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 show you the path of
life. My glory is to be your glory. My gladness is to be your
gladness. Enter into the joy of your Lord."
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?
Is it not you 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. 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 a 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;"—angels
hovering over it with the joyful summons, "The Master has come, and is
calling for you!"
Christian! exult in this "blessed hope." Covet the
possession of this fullness of joy—beholding Jesus as He is, rejoicing over
you with all the joy of His infinite Godhead and His 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 passes knowledge!" (Eph. 3:18, 19)