I’ve read Jesus’ prayer recorded in John 17 many times but I never noticed the insight brought out by Mark Jones in his blog, “When a Loved One Goes Home to Jesus.” (You can read the blog here.)
Having lost my own 19 year old son in 2013, I know what it feels like to scream and cry out to God due to the pain of wanting your loved one back. But Jones highlights a phrase in Jesus’ prayer, found in vs. 24, that I had not considered:
“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.”
And what does Jesus desire?
He desires that his people be with him. Jesus is completely happy and satisfied as he reigns from heaven, but according to his prayer in John 17, he still has a certain unfulfilled desire: that his people join him in the home he has already prepared for them.
Sure, there’s a tension to be embraced here. Regardless of how much we come to understand that Jesus desires us to be with him in heaven, it doesn’t take away the grief that comes with losing our loved ones here on planet earth.
Still, the truth of the matter is, as Jones writes,
When a brother or sister in the Lord dies, we should remember first and foremost that the Father has answered Jesus’s prayer.
But the story doesn’t end there. Because of the Cross and the Empty Tomb – one day we’ll join our loved ones. Forever. No more pain. No more death. Only joy.
Soli Deo Gloria, Nick