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 ESV
“For I knowtheir works and their thoughts, and the time is comingto gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory. Isaiah 66:18 ESV
When we glance at John 17:24 (above), we might be a little taken aback. Doesn’t it sound at least a little bit self-serving? Jesus wants all his disciples, including us, to go to heaven so we can see how good he looks or maybe, how successful he has been?
But no, that is not what he is saying. The reason he is not, is because “glory” in the Bible is neither fame nor outstanding success. It is reality, significance, solidity. It does have to do with reputation, but it is a solid, enduring reputation, not one that is a “glorious” flash in the pan. So Jesus is saying that he wants his people to experience the amazing reality, the glory, of eternal life that he has purchased for us.
But there is something more going on in that statement. We realize it in the Isaiah passage above, a passage that comes right at the end of Isaiah’s book. It is, of course, a passage that Jesus knew very well, and was almost certainly in Jesus’ mind when he was praying this prayer. What is the goal of God in the world? It is that we, redeemed and transformed through the Spirit, may be no longer barred from the throne room of heaven by our sin and sinfulness, but may bask in the reality, the glory, of his presence for all eternity. That is why Jesus could call on God at the beginning of the prayer (v. 1) to “glorify” him (on the Cross!) and could say that he had shared their (his and his Father’s) glory with the disciples (v. 22). He had fulfilled what Isaiah could only dream of. He had made it possible for all the world to bask in the wondrous reality of God for all eternity.