The Presence of the Son of God
by Inglis Fleming
The love of the Lord Jesus for His own has been told out in all its fullness in His death at Calvary. That love manifested there has never lessened, and never win. The same heart that beat for His own at Golgotha beats for them now on the throne of God. He lives for us, as once He died for us, in love; and in love He now intercedes for His own.
But His love is not satisfied. He desires our presence with Him. He is waiting for the word of His Father to descend for all who are His and take them to be for ever with Himself. Love delights in the company of those loved. So His desire is that we should be in His company for ever. This is expressed again and again in the Gospel of John. When the hour was approaching, when He should depart out of this world unto the Father, we find Him encouraging His disciples with the prospect of being with Him where He was going.
Thus in chapter 12:26, we hear Him say, “If any man serve Me let him follow Me, and where I am there shall also my servant be.” The path marked out for the believer is to follow Him. It was a path of death here in this world, but it led to a home of life in His presence. He, the corn of wheat, has passed through death in order that He might not abide alone, but that there might be a great harvest—of many sons for the Father, and many companions for Himself to fill the many mansions of the Father’s house.
The highest honour or privilege for His followers is that of being where He is. And He looks that we should enter into His thought and delight in this expectation. Meanwhile, let us make sure that we follow in His steps; nothing less than this is supposed of any of His disciples.
In the 14th chapter, with His going away before Him, He encourages His disciples, and us, with, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you; I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.” He now would be an object of faith, not of sight. He was going to the Father’s house where are many abodes. He would not have drawn them to Himself away from the world if He had no home to take them to. He was leaving them now, not to escape trials in which they would still be found. No; but His departing was for their blessing; it was to prepare a place for them so that they might be with Him for ever. And if He went away, and by His presence in the Father’s house prepared the place for them, the next thing they might look for was His coming again to receive them unto Himself, that they might be with Him. Would not this be for their comfort? Assuredly so. And it would be for His own delight to have them with Himself, as the hymn expresses it,
“He and I in that bright glory,
One deep joy shall share
Mine to be for ever with Him,
His that I am there.”
And He must have the pre-eminence in this as in all else. His will be the “exceeding joy,” as His was the “exceeding sorrow.”
If we turn now to the 17th chapter we are allowed to hear the outpouring of His heart to the Father about those given to Him by the Father. At the close we listen to His claim for their future: “Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given Me be with Me where I am, that they may behold my glory which Thou hast given Me, for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world.” In virtue of that which He was about to accomplish—the glorifying of the Father and the finishing of the work given Him to do—He puts forth this claim, that His loved ones may be with Him. He would have them behold His glory as they had beheld His shame in this world. This was His goal for them, and He counts on their love delighting to see His incommunicable glory, while at the same time they share all that creatures can share with Him. We see the path to His presence in chapter 12. It is the place of His presence in chapter 14; and the privilege of His presence in chapter 17. Happy are we who are numbered among “His own,” and who have the prospect of being with Him as our present hope.
“There all’s unsullied light;
Our heart let in its rays,
And heavenly light makes all things bright,
Seen in its blissful gaze.
Such here on earth we are,
Though we in weakness roam:
Our place on high, God’s self so nigh,
His presence is our home.”
Help and Food 1926