Jesus wants all his followers to see his glory – John 17:24-26
When Stephen was being tried by the Sanhedrin and they were filled with anger against him, Stephen had a vision of the glory of Jesus. ‘When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of the God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. Look, he said, I see heaven open and the son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’ Acts 7:54-56 The vision of Christ’s glory strengthened and comforted Stephen providing him with confidence and filling him with grace that enabled him to pray for the people who were stoning him to death and so he was able to be forgiving as Jesus was at his point of execution. A clear vision of the end of the race, the glory of Christ in heaven and confidence that we will be with him enables the believer to live for Jesus now. It prevents the distraction of being seduced by the corrupt offerings of this world and focuses the believer on the person and character of Christ. Jesus wants to share his glory with all those who follow him. There simply is no greater gift.
Jesus draws a sharp distinction between those who know the Father and those who do not. In general terms the world does not know the Father and if it did it would accept Jesus the Son for who he is. Jesus in his prayer here returns to the opening theme of John’s gospel, John 1:9-11 that the world does not recognise its own Creator even though he had come to reveal himself to them. There are those who do recognise Jesus for who he is and accept him. In this prayer Jesus confirms that he will continue to make himself know beyond his ascension. In knowing him they will know his love which is the same immeasurable love that the Father has for Jesus. v26 Jesus’ work of making disciples will continue throughout the present age and it is a work of love. Peter connects Jesus’ immeasurable love to his desire for people to turn to him for forgiveness and the receipt of eternal life. ‘The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.’ 2Peter 3:9