And the glory which thou giveth me I have given them
And the glory which thou giveth me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one John 17: 22
Let it be observed here, that, while a pattern of perfect happiness was exhibited in Christ, he had nothing that belonged peculiarly to himself, but rather was rich, to enrich those who believed in him. Our happiness lies in having the image of God restored and formed anew in us, which was defaced by sin.
Christ is not only the lively image of God, in so far as he is the eternal Word of God. but even on his human nature, which he has in common with us, the likeness of the glory of the Father has been engraved, to form his members to the resemblance of it. Paul also teaches us this, that we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2ndCorinthians 3:18.
Hence it follows, that no one ought to be reckoned among the disciples of Christ, unless we perceive the glory of God impressed on him, as with a seal, by the likeness of Christ. To the same purpose are the words which immediately follow:
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 loved me before the foundation of the world. John 17:24.
Here our Lord, having exhausted all His desires for His people which could be fulfilled here below, stretches them, in this His last petition, onwards to the eternal state.
Let us attend, first, to the style of the petition here only employed by our Lord: “I will.” The majesty of this style of speaking is the first thing that strikes the reverential reader. Some good expositors, indeed conceive that nothing more is meant by this word than a simple wish, desire, request; and they refer us in proof of this to such passages as Mark 10: 35.; John 12:21.
But such a word from the mouth of a creature cannot determine its sense when taken up into the lips of the Son of God. Thus, when He said to the leper Matthew 8:3, “I will be thou clean!” something more, surely, was meant than a mere wish for his recovery.
And such a will, we cannot doubt, was meant in this prayer of the Son to the Father, which breaths throughout the spirit of great unity with the glorious Object addressed, and of highest claim to be heard, more particularly occurring as it does in the final petition, a petition manifestly designed to exhaust all that He had to ask on His people’s behalf.
‘In John 17:9, says ‘He had said, “I pray now the language rises, and the word is to be rendered “I will;” not by the weak “I desire.” Jesus asks in the exercise of a right, and demands with confidence; as Son, not as a servant but observe now the two things thus majestically asked.
First, “that they also whom Thou hast gave Me be with Me where I am.” He had before assured His Faithful Eleven, as representing all believers, that they should be so; using the same form of expression as here, “I will come again, and receive you unto Myself, that where I am they will also be.
In now asking what He had before explicitly promised, the majestic authority of that “I will” is further revealed.
But next, when they have arrived where I am, it is but in order “that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast has given Me: for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.” The glory here intended has been already explained. It is not His essential glory, the glory of His Divine Personality, but His glory as the Incarnate Head of His people.
The Second Adam of a redeemed humanity, in which glory the Father beheld Him with ineffable complacency from everlasting. Jesus regards it as glory enough for us to be admitted seeing and gaze forever upon this His glory. This is ‘the beatific vision;’ but it shall be no mere vision – “we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him.1st John 3:2.
Here end the petitions of this wonderful chapter. In the two concluding verses, He just breathes forth His reflections into His Father’s ear, but doubtless for the benefit of those mortal ears that were privileged to listen to Him, and of all who should read it in this priceless Gospel.