“Father, I will that they also, whom you have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory.” John 17:24
As suffering precedes glory, so glory assuredly follows suffering. Thus was it with our Lord. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” Our Lord is in glory!
The head that once bowed in death, pale and bleeding, is now raised in life, encircled with a glory brighter than ten thousand suns. The humanity that was despised from the lowliness of its birth, that was mocked, and scourged, spit upon, and slain, is now, from its indissoluble union with the Deity, exalted far above principalities and powers, glorified with the glory He had with the Father before the world was. Having purged our sins, He is set down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.
To that glory which belongs to Him as the Mediator of the church, each suffering confessor of Christ shall be exalted—the body with the Head, and each part of that body with the whole. A joint-heirship of suffering, it is now a joint-heirship of glory: “We shall be glorified together” with Christ. Still the oneness is manifest, and never so clearly seen as now. Glory bathes it in its light, and eternity impresses it with its seal. It is an undimmed and changeless glory. And Christ acknowledges their right to this oneness in glory.
As they were not ashamed of Him among men, He is not now ashamed of them among angels. As they linked themselves to His cross, He leads them to His throne. As they confessed Him before the world, He now confesses them before His Father: “Glorified together.” Wondrous words! Elevated to His side—leaning upon His bosom—gazing on His beauty—listening to His voice—entering into His joy—at home, and forever with the Lord. Now is answered in its fullness, the prayer mingled with tears, breathed from the scene of His suffering below—”Father, I will that they also whom You have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory.” Welcome the suffering, succeeded by such glory! Welcome the cross, followed by such a crown!
Let us learn to regard our present tutorage as preparatory to our future inheritance. “The heir, as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and governors until the time appointed of the father.” Thus it is with us. But soon we shall attain our majority, and come into possession of our estate. Before long we shall have done with governors and tutors, and need no more the lessons of the school, and the discipline of suffering.
Oh, let us live in its near anticipation. To the poor of Christ’s flock, how animating the prospect! “Has not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which He has promised to those who love Him.” What though straitened resources, pinching poverty, or even absolute want, be your present allotment; lift up your heads with joy, for you have a joint-heirship with Christ in a kingdom which your heavenly Father will give. Confide in its security: it is made sure to you by Divine oath; “Wherein God willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath.”
Thus inalienably is it secured. Death, which robs the earthly heir of his inheritance, puts you in possession of yours. Your estate comes not to you robed in mourning, for your Father never dies. No succession awaits you, for your inheritance is yours forever. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fades not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time.”
With consolations so rich, and with a hope so glorious, let us close the year through which we have traveled, with a feeling of thanksgiving and with a song of praise. We will thank God for all the way He has led us, chequered though it may have been; and we will trust Him for life’s future, dark and uncertain though it may appear. We have found Christ enough for all the past—loving, faithful, wise, He is enough for the present; and we are quite sure all that He has been He will again be—”Jesus Christ the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Before another year begins, or closes, we may be with Jesus forever!
“Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly!” Your love will fill our hearts, Your beauty will engage our thoughts, and Your praise will employ our tongues, through eternity.