Jefferson Vann explains why this passage is not about reunion with Christ at death, but about our mission to spread God’s love now.
John 17:24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am so that they will experience my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the world’s foundation.
John 17:25 Righteous Father, the world has not discovered you. However, I have been aware of you, and they have discovered that you sent me.
John 17:26 I made your name known to them and will continue to make it known so that the love you have loved me with may be in them and I may be in them.”
being with Christ will have to wait
Dick Tripp cites this passage as one of many that supposedly point to a meeting with the Lord at death.1 But when you look at the passage in its context, you discover that Jesus is not promising life beyond death. He is saying that he wants his disciples to be with him. But they cannot be because they have a job to do now. They have discovered God through Christ, and so they have a mission to continue to make God known by sharing his love. Being with Christ (μετὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ) will have to wait until the resurrection (Revelation 20:4). For now, what is important is that God’s love is IN them (ἐν αὐτοῖς) and that Christ is IN them (ἐν αὐτοῖς)(v.26).
Lord, we await your return, because we also want to be with you. But right now, energize us to share the gospel of God’s love with those around us.
More Devotional Thoughts
- Dick Tripp and Derek Eaton. Life After Death: Christianity’s Hope and Challenge. (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 2015), 67.