I love this quote. I love what is ultimate, and then work back to the practical and pastoral implications. John 17:24 speaks of the ultimate of beholding the glory of Christ. That’s what Jesus prays for on our behalf. But seeing is not enough. There is a higher experience. Verse 26 speaks of our appreciating, savouring, enjoying, delighting in what we see and understand of his glory. If our affections are not stirred we have not seen Christ in his glory. The ultimate, then, is that we should appreciate and love him as the Father sees him and loves him. When you think of it, anything less is unworthy of him. This is where everything is heading. If our study, service, and sanctification are not not leading this way we’ll miss the mark! So Jesus prays (then dies), and reveals himself in the Word by the Spirit.
“I have paraphrased John 17:26 in order to pray it like this: ‘Father, grant me power from the Holy Spirit to love the Son of God like you love him.’
I pray this in the morning when I get up; I pray it during the day when my mind slips into neutral; and I pray it when I fall asleep at night. My heart has been captured by this prayer.
When I pray it, I am confessing to God that if he does not grant me a work of the Holy Spirit in my life, I will never acquire passion for the Son of God. I am confessing to him that my godliness, my discipline, my knowledge of the Word, though all good, are insufficient to produce passion for the Son of God.
I can change my mind, but only the Holy Spirit can change my heart. Divine love can only be divinely imparted.”
—Jack Deere, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1993), 201
(HT: Of First Importance)