“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”-John 17:24
Jesus was never burdened by his disciples. He did not merely tolerate doubting Thomas or impetuous Peter, he desired to be with them and with you and me. In spite of your sinfulness, Jesus wants to be you too. Whether you are feeling shame, fear, doubt, or sadness, Jesus desires your company.
When we are with Jesus, we are exposed to his beauty and glory, which flows from the Father. His presence is transformative. Ray Ortlund once said, “Stare at the glory of God until you see it” (2009). When we come to Jesus in the fullness of his splendor, he changes us. He is the embodiment of love and because of our union with him, we too are beloved.
As we have already seen, the Father, Son, and Spirit have always existed in perfect love with one another. There is no hint of jealousy or self-centeredness. They are constantly highlighting the glory of the others. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI wrote, “Eternal life is like plunging into the ocean of infinite love, a moment in which time — the before and after — no longer exists. We can only attempt to grasp the idea that such a moment is life in the full sense, a plunging ever anew into the vastness of being, in which we are simply overwhelmed with joy” (2007). I love the image of “an ocean of infinite love,” but I also imagine Trinitarian love as a conflux, which is the place where rivers join. The Trinity is the never-ending flow of love into one another. In heaven, we will live within love’s flow for all eternity.
Jesus, the thought of being with you where you are is overwhelming. There is nothing I can imagine that would be more glorious. Help me to know that because of all you have done for me, I am embraced as the Beloved. Amen.