Monday, April 28, 2008

Jesus' prayer for us John 17:1-11

Our reading, John 17:1-11, retells part of Jesus' prayer the night before he died. Jesus had just finished a great discourse with his friends as they sat together after supper. He spoke words of comfort. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me." (John 14:1) He offered insight, "I am the way, the truth, and the life" (John 14:6) He unveiled mysteries, "I am in the father and the Father is in me" (John 14:10) and he even explained his friends place in salvation telling them they are the branches and he is "... the true vine" (John 15:1).

As he finished speaking he looked up to heaven. He spoke to the Father with his friends listening in as he prayed. Jesus spoke of what he'd done, said, and taught. He named the dangers we face, even the world's rejection his teaching. Jesus asked that...

  • he might return to the Glory he shared with the Father before the world was made (John 17:4)
  • his followers be protected through the power of the Father's Holy Name (John 17:11)
  • we might be one as he and the Father are one (John 17:11)
  • we have his joy in us (John 17:13)
  • we not be taken out of the world but that we be protected from the Evil One (John 17:15)
  • we be ready to serve God in truth (John 17:17)
  • others might believe through the teaching of his followers (John 17:20)
  • we be one so that the world can come to know the Father(John 17:21-23)
  • we might be with him and see his glory (John 17:24)
Jesus spoke directly to God the Father asking for help for our sake. Listening in reminds us of all the help we need to live out our faith. We needs the Father's protection, unity, joy, hope, truth, teachings, and love to make it. These great gifts don't grow from with in us; instead Jesus asks that the father bless us with these gifts. We might try to fake it pretending that we have it all together; but all these gifts come not from with in; but from God who gives them freely.

After praying, the Gospel of John tells that, Jesus' next stop was the garden across the Kidron Valley where he would be arrested. This prayer, the night before Jesus died, gives us a moment both of deep insight into the relationship between Jesus and the Father and into all that Jesus asked for us.

1 comment:

Nancy said...

Here's an unlikely comment...
I pastor a Deaf Church in Belize. I enjoyed your humble straight forward blog on the lectionary. Thanks.
Thoughts: In John 17:22 Jesus gives them "the glory".. so that they would be one. What is this glory? praise? ...that usually does not bring unity. maybe a later heavenly experience?...nah... too distant to be helpful now.
Hmm. It has to be the Holy Sprit that John went on and on about in chapters 14 and 16. So, Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit to make us one with him and the father. Why would that make us diverse disciples become ONE? Because the Holy Spirit is God himself. Jesus is giving each of us God's mind and heart. Hey that is an amazing farewell gift! When we all have God's Holy Spirit and therefore his mind and heart (know his will and are empowered to do his will) we will share a unity of Sprit with God and Jesus. Then we diverse disciples become one. One heart and one mind with God.
The reality is a bit twisted. We somehow fall short of this unity. Why? Why wouldnt we want it and pray for it? I think to some degree it is just ignorance on our part. There are deaf children in little villages in Belize far, far from the next village, separated by sometimes impassable dirt roads that become mud and rivers in the rainy season 7 months of the year. Those children havent learned to sign fluently because there is no one to teach them. They have just a glimpse of what it is like to live in Orange Walk where there are more deaf, a deaf church, a deaf class, etc. They dont really know what they are missing. They see their isolated life as a full life. BUT once they taste and see what it is like to belong, truly belong and communicate and have friends who can talk to them in their visual signed language they feel at "home". With God's spirit and oneness with God it is the same picture. We somehow are too comfortable in our isolation. But if we could just taste and see and take the leap to be filled with God's Spirit (not so much in a charismatic sense but certainly in the sense of indwelling and like-mindedness) then we would never want to leave and we would know...ahhh this is where I belong.

Grace and peace to you.
May God give you "oneness" wiht him this week.