Jesus prayed that His disciples see His glory:
Jesus prayed for his disciples, and then he said. “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (John 17:20-24)
To see the glory of Christ is a great gift, but it is not without conditions. One of the difficulties with the lectionary readings is that, on occasion, the authors seem to pick and chose what to emphasize while apparently skipping over more difficult or controversial issues. Let us examine a more complete reading from the Book of Revelation:
“Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
“Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (Revelation 22:12-15)
Disciples must wash their robes in the blood of the Lamb of God. This requirement should never be overlooked. But there is a more subtle requirement that seems to escape some of our churches today. The magic arts are ruled out. Witchcraft is a way of seeking spiritual power or experiences that are outside of the blood. There are leaders in the church today who are practicing witchcraft.
We should not be surprised by this. Witchcraft followed the Apostle Paul:
With Paul and Silas, we came to Philippi in Macedonia, a Roman colony, and, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. (Acts 16:16-18)
Witchcraft follows after the Church. Leaders must not allow it in and they must not participate in it themselves. Let us heed the warning of Jesus:
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
Behold, I have told you before. (Matthew 24:24-25)
The glory of God is offered freely to those who believe. Let us not look for shortcuts. We must go to the author and giver of life:
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. (Revelation 22:17)