The Revelation of the Desire of Jesus
by Daniel Lim
At the culmination of Jesus’ high priestly prayer recorded in John 17, we hear Him expressing His deepest desire to His Father. Jesus’ prayer in this passage is unique because it expresses His knowledge about His preincarnate relationship and glory with His Father before creation. This prayer also focuses on the manifestation of the glory of the Father and the Son to the world, the glorification of those who were believers in Christ, and Jesus’ deep desire to dwell with His people forever.
Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them. (John 17:24–26)
Desire in this context highlights the concept of delight. Jesus expressed His deep desire for His eternal Bride to behold His glory in eternal delight. Jesus desires His Bride to know Him—not just for a moment but in close, intimate union in an ever-present reality, forever and ever. Eternal life does not just describe the longevity of time but also the quality of relationship with Jesus through an exponential increase of the knowledge of God.
Knowing God necessitates the keeping of His commandments (John 15:10; 1 John 2:3). Knowledge of God is an experiential knowing where our mind, soul, and actions identify and live in synchronous relationship with the person of Christ, who is our way, truth, and life. Knowing Him must lead to incarnational knowledge where our experiential knowledge becomes a lifestyle that offers transformation to the community.
The bond between Christ and those who believe was initiated and upheld by the power of
God’s eternal love and zealous desire (Romans 8:31–39). The passionate affection of Christ toward His covenant Bride has often been neglected in our theological studies and reflections. This dimension is further illustrated in Jesus’ three declarations of His speedy return in the last chapter of the book of Revelation (ch. 22:7, 12, 20). These declarations reflect the passionate desire of Christ to dwell with His covenant Bride forever.
The transcendent love of God became imminent when He loved us as a man with His same love that preexisted the foundation of the world. His eternal love emanates out of His uncreated beauty and glory. In the context of John 17, Jesus in His humanity was fully aware of His divine nature—the glory and love He shared with the Father before the world was (John 17:1–5). In His John 17 prayer, the Son asks the Father to let His covenant Bride share this glory and love with Him.
Beholding cultivates knowing; it denotes a face-to-face encounter. David expressed that his singular desire was to behold the beauty of God and to inquire in His temple all the days of his life in Psalm 27. His exclamation is most remarkable because it was as if David knew the desire of Christ before Jesus even prayed it in John 17. David seems to possess insight pertaining to the most precious desire in the heart of Christ.
One thing I have desired of the Lord,
That will I seek:
That I may dwell in the house of the Lord
All the days of my life,
To behold the beauty of the Lord,
And to inquire in His temple.
For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock. (Psalm 27:4–5)
When David wrote this psalm, emphasizing “all the days of my life” in verse 4, he was living with the revelation of the beauty and glory of God as his daily sustenance. He understood the continuous posture of beholding the beauty of God—beyond his religious duties—because he knew that his living God desired a living relationship. He refused to allow circumstances, trials, and adversaries in his life to distract him from this primary focus.
The revelation of our covenant relationship with Christ as His eternal Bride empowers us to walk out our obedience to Him. As humans, we usually obey out of duty, fear of consequences, commitment, or even out of a desire to excel and obtain rewards. But love is a force that sustains obedience and guides our actions more than these common motivational forces. Just like King David, when a soul lives in daily sustenance from the beauty of His holiness, that soul will experience a moment-by-moment transformation as described by the apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 3:18. This transforming effect comes through an experiential knowledge of God which empowers our being and our actions. Indeed, if we love Him, we will keep His commandments. Obedience will lead us into more encounters with His person, presence, and power.
Several years ago, while I was meditating on John 17:24 (Father, I desire . . . ) in the prayer room, it was almost as if I heard an echo from David in Psalm 27:4 (One thing I have desired . . . ). It seemed like King David tapped into a symphony of heaven and earth when he declared that the desire of Christ was also his own primary desire. I understood at that instant that to have a Davidic heart is to have the heart of a loyal Bride who understands the desires of our Bridegroom, our King, and our Judge—Jesus Christ.
How can you engage with Jesus to fulfill the godly desires of your heart?
Did you know that Mike Bickle and Stuart Greaves are teaching an in-depth, verse-by-verse series on John 13–17 every Friday night? Watch our Encounter God Service at 7:30pm CT on Fridays to join in and view this series YouTube playlist here >>
- Senior Leader, IHOPKC
- Facilitator, Onething Global Leadership Summit
Daniel Lim served as the Chief Executive Officer of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City (2008-2020). He was trained at a Baptist seminary (MA in World Missions) and served as a Baptist pastor in Southeast Asia. With a passion for the gospel of the kingdom of God and the glory of Jesus Christ, Daniel teaches at conferences, churches, universities, and seminaries throughout the nations.
Daniel is the author of Bible 360°: Total Engagement with the Word of God. Daniel is married with two children. One of his children went home to be with the Lord in 2008 during a crisis relief effort.