God continue to bless you and yours. He has promised and He continues to fulfill such a purpose. The promise of blessing is never to obliterate trouble, since He insists on working in an incarnate way through you in a world that hurts; as He has done in Jesus Christ and continues to do in you. He promises He will be with you in any and all anguish and that He will neutralize it as a destructive force. (Reflect on Isaiah 43:1-4 a while.)
My friend asked about God’s glory particularly in John 17.22, 24 and I thought you might think some of this helpful.
In blessing us (in a multitude of ways) He glorifies us and in this way He glorified Himself. At such times we are in “a place” of refuge, peace with Him because we are “in Christ” (John 16.33) and we are where Christ is (14:3 with 12.26 with 8.21 in contrast).
Christ’s People are glorified with the glory that attaches to Him and that glory is the glory that attaches to God and that glory is fathomless; there’s no grasping all the angles but it is reflected in how He has revealed Himself to and in the human family (of which Christ is the supreme exhibition—Colossians 1:15, “first born of every creature (human),” also 1:18 where we’re told that He who became a human like us was raised from among the dead that in all things (and everywhere) He might have the preeminence.
He is now the representative glorified human and in the finale we shall be “like Him” (1 John 3:2). Rom 8:17-39 (a section on assurance of God’s faithfulness despite trouble) we’re told that the people of God are to be conformed to the image of Christ (suffering and then glory) who in “all things” is to be the firstborn among many brothers/sisters—8:29. The People of God of all the ages are those who have shared and do share the suffering of the world as like their Lord they journey on their way to final glory. In this they reflect the glory of God that has been reflected in His Holy Son. God’s elect people are created “in the image” of Christ. As His Body they are the extension of His own life and character—incarnation, suffering and glory. The glory of God seen in Jesus Christ includes His eternal purpose to redeem His creation by sharing their suffering and fallen state and rising to immortal glory in eternal righteousness. (Paul’s call to image him as he images Jesus includes his own life of suffering on its way to glory—Philippians 3:4-11 compared with 2:5-11.)
Before that fullness of glory is reached in the resurrection life those who are blessed to be “in Christ” share his glory by faith—a faith that embraces Him and His agenda and finally his “method”.
It’s in this way that His followers are “where He is” (John 12:26). “Where I am” is a spatial metaphor and like so many spatial metaphors they speak of a relationship or a life-situation. We hear it fairly often today though I don’t remember hearing it when I was very young. “I’m in a bad place right now” someone might say. They’re speaking of their current condition or situation in life. There is also a “good place”; a good state or condition or situation. That “place” is “in Christ” which is “in God” (John 16.33; 17:21 and elsewhere). Those who reject Christ cannot be “where He is” (John 8:21).
Where Jesus “is” is always in relationship with His Holy Father but that is experienced in a situation of suffering and rejection as well as in an exalted and glorified state. He is never out of the Father’s favor or presence (see John 8:16, 29) but sometimes this means suffering and at other times the idea is exaltation and sometimes both are embraced (see Acts 2:24-28; John 12:23-33). Both are glory within the will of the Holy One who is on an errand of salvation. (Christians who suffer greatly must be helped to see and believe this—they share the world’s suffering and in them the Lord Jesus’ person, life and work is revealed. See Colossians 1:24with Matthew 8:16-17 which uses Isaiah 53.)
When Christ shares His glory with the disciples (John 17:22) He is in fact sharing the glory of God. Sharing the glory of God has nothing to do with our sharing the essence of God. It’s has to do with us sharing the gift of Himself in any or all the ways we are able to do that. It isn’t His essence, it would be (I would say) His character, His way, His joys and purposes.
The amazing thing that comes out of all this it that divine “muscle” is never in view. (He has plenty of that, Isaiah 40 and Genesis 1, passim but the self-revelation of God in relation to and in humans reveals Him as loving humans beyond imagining—John 1.14 illustrates.)
There are varied levels of our experiencing the glory of God. We don’t “get it” completely, now or ever. Some aspects of it we sense but when we dive down into it we return quickly—there’s no bottom. Even the wonder of Jesus Christ isn’t enough to revel all—this He said Himself in John 14:28. “My Father is greater than I.”
The more we become like God by becoming more like Jesus Christ the more we will sense Him and the deeper we’ll be sharing His glory. God’s glory is Himself and He is ceaselessly revealing Himself and we share in that glory as we enter deeper into His image! (1 Corinthians 11:7) As humans we have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3.23; Psalm 8:5)—the fullness of that glory was/is seen in the face of Christ and not Moses (John 1:14-18; 2 Corinthians 4:6). Jesus is the last & new Adam who is the image of God (Colossians 1.15; Hebrews 1.3; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49). It’s in humanity God is glorified, it’s in Jesus Christ who is God being a human that we see what humanity was created to be and it is in Christ, the glorified human that we see what we are what we will be.
(Glory is used in so many ways and one of them is in how God exercised His dominion, in creation, and we were created to reflect that—Genesis 1.26-28. The Hebrew writer says we don’t yet see the dominion by humans—using Psalm 8—but we see Jesus, who shares our humanity, crowned with glory and honor but experiencing death for everyone (2:5-9) and, astonishing thing, this was all experienced by Christ because it suited God, it looked God on God, it was the appropriate thing for God to do and this God is the source of everything that is wonderful and glorious–2:10ff. Who can fathom the depths of the glory such a One?
It’s possible that John 17.24 speaks of the depth of the glory Jesus in his pre-incarnate state shared with the Father. We know the man Jesus Christ did not exist prior to the creation but prior to His birth as a man the one we know as Jesus was/is the Word who was God and with God (John 1:1-12).
A difficulty with that view is that the glory Jesus wants them to see in 17:24 is “given” to Him by the Holy Father. If we’re thinking about Jesus’ pre-incarnate glory as God—He was God—it’s a bit difficult to see how the glory could have been “given” to Him by anyone. Perhaps the glory He has in mind in 17:24 is the purposed glory that God had in mind for the incarnate One. If that is the case then Jesus might have in mind His complete exaltation—which was the eternal plan of God—and Christ wants the disciples to see that and enter into that grand enterprise with Him (see Acts 2:33-36) in a fuller way than they currently can and in that way they would be “where He is.”.
John’s [Jesus’] point would then stress that the glory the human Christ rejoiced in—His likeness to the Holy Father and His exaltation as Lord of All—was not a chance occurrence or divine reaction to the world’s rejecting Him but was eternally purposed and Christ and His people would share in that purposed glory through suffering.
I was told a few years back that we must be careful what we say about the suffering of Christians. I think that is profoundly true! I think we’re not to reduce it but give it it’s full import. God came into the world in and as Jesus Christ to redeem the world and in order to do that by becoming a human He took on Him all that humans suffer (pay attention to Matthew 8:16-17), and He came through it and came out into glory and said to the human family: “The glory of God is seen in His love of the entire human race and I have come to tell you that the agony of the world that has been triggered by the Fall is not the last word! The Holy Father’s purpose is to bring you out of all the Sin and anguish and bring you through to glory! And I am the revelation of all that! I came through personal suffering to glory and I continue that experience in your presence in and through the Church which is my Body and which rehearses My Story before your very eyes.”
Shrugging. Walking off. “I just don’t get it. Do you? Where’s the ‘glory’?” Sigh.
(Holy One. We apologize.)