John 17:22 reads, “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.”
In context, this is part of a prayer Jesus prayed over His disciples immediately after The Last Supper and before He was betrayed and arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. In it, He calls upon the Father to grant the disciples unity, holiness, and protection. He asks that He, the Father, and the disciples would be unified as one so “that the world will believe you sent me.” (Verse 21)
In the verse immediately before that, He had said,
“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” (NLT)
Whoa. That would be us. You and me.
The part that’s got me stopped in my tracks, that I never noticed before, is that Jesus specifically asks for the glory of God to be imparted to everyone who would ever believe in Him. And the reason that’s astounding is that I remember some old passages describing the glory of God.
In Exodus 40: 34&35, when the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle, even Moses could not enter it. In 2 Chronicles 5:14, the priests could not enter the temple because the glory of the LORD filled it.
Back in Exodus 16, verses 16-20, the whole people of Israel met God, or rather met His glory as he descended on Mount Sinai:
“On the morning of the third day, thunder roared and lightning flashed, and a dense cloud came down on the mountain. There was a long, loud blast from a ram’s horn, and all the people trembled. Moses led them out from the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. All of Mount Sinai was covered with smoke because the LORD had descended on it in the form of fire. The smoke billowed into the sky like smoke from a brick kiln, and the whole mountain shook violently. As the blast of the ram’s horn grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God thundered his reply. The LORD came down on the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses climbed the mountain.” (NLT)
That glory? You mean Jesus gave all of His disciples including you and me the thunderous, mountain-shaking, trumpet-blasting fiery glory of the LORD God?
Yes. Yes He did.
Now, there are a few Bible scholars who have said that the glory Jesus was talking about in that first verse I posted was the future glory of heaven.
Nope. Most Bible scholars agree that verse and all the verses around it are written in the here and now. The sentence structure in the Greek means “I have given and am now and still giving.” The glory of God is poured out to each and every one of us, in the here and now, that the world would believe in Jesus.
There’s an excellent book I read several years ago by an excellent writer that describes God’s glory on Mt. Sinai powerfully and beautifully:
“This is a fiery, smoking God. But what blazes and roars and crackles is a consuming fire of passionate love. And the smoke is a fiery screen that allows us to look and not go blind, to get close and not get burned, to show us the right path is far in the distance.”
“This smoking, smoldering God is holy love aflame. And when He assumes the shape of a man, He continues to burn, for we are told that zeal (a fiery jealousy) for His Father’s house consumed Him. (John 2:17) What else could we expect? After all, like Father, like Son.”
The author’s name is Timothy J. Stoner and the book is titled “The God Who Smokes.” I am fairly confident this particular book would have been a best seller if Mr. Stoner had used a pen name and/or chosen a different title for the book because Tim Stoner writes like blazing wildfires singing God’s name. (Yes, that last line is from the NeedtoBreath song “Multiplied” which I am sure you have heard many times on Kinship Radio.)
But maybe God didn’t want it to be a best-seller. Maybe God’s glory lives and breathes and draws more people to Jesus in an obscure little book that I keep extra copies of on my bookshelf to give to people who want to read something really powerful, really excellent. Maybe that glory that Jesus poured into a guy named Timothy J. Stoner is specifically meant for a few select, predestined people who will read the words he wrote and smolder and smoke with zeal –real zeal for the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
Not everything touches everybody the same way. Maybe that’s part of the glory of His design. Maybe you still get this fire in your soul when you hear NeedtoBreathe sing about hallelujahs being multiplied. Maybe one person will read this blog and the Holy Spirit will grab hold of his or her soul and the foundations of their mountain will shake and they will take off on a journey to find this smoldering, smoking, earth-shattering God who loved them enough to die for them.
And maybe they will tell others about Him.
Or maybe, someone will see God’s glory in you. Maybe a tender touch or a kind word on your part will consume them with a brief moment in which they feel how wide, how far, how long, how wide, and how deep the love of God is in Christ Jesus.
Maybe you will be the spark that ignites that glorious, wondrous, fiery trumpet blast of love in another human being.
The only way to know is to step out in faith and follow Jesus where He leads you.
“For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you Gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory.” (NLT)
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This is awesome! Thank you so much for posting it. I’d like to read Timothy Stoner’s book.
Thanks. Tim Stoner’s book is available on Amazon for $5.96. https://www.amazon.com/God-Who-Smokes-Scandalous-Meditations/dp/1600062474