October 8, 2016
I find myself listening into Jesus as He lifts up these wonderful words found in John 17. It’s like I’m listening to Him praying. Just as I listen to others as we pray in a circle, there is Jesus, sharing His heart, pouring out His fervent prayer as He nears His death on a cross. What does Jesus pray for?
First, He prays, acknowledging “the time has come.” This specific moment in time where Jesus would be glorified so that He would then glorify the Father. (v. 1) Eternal life is the victory and gift for all God’s children and soon Jesus will win that victory as He dies for the sins of the world. When I ponder, “What is eternal life?” I have the great answer spoken by Jesus Himself in verse 3, “And this is eternal life, that they know You the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” I also am struck with another nugget of truth that describes Jesus in existence before the world existed. (v. 5)
Second, Jesus prays for His disciples and followers of that day. (v.6ff) He speaks about how they’ve come to know Christ and His origin. (v. 8) Jesus gives thanks by acknowledging God the Father has been faithful in keeping His children in His care. My heart hurts as I read in v. 12 about Judas’ demise as fulfilling Scripture. This is another place in Scripture where I simply trust that God knows better than I. Indeed He does! Jesus also prays here about mission, about sending His disciples into the world in the Truth of God. Jesus acknowledges that the world doesn’t want to know the Truth of God as its contrary to the world’s version. This is a great reminder to me to be careful if I’m in step with the world because the world is not in step with God.
Finally, Jesus prays for me (you me). (v. 20ff) Jesus prays for all those who will come to believe because of the ministry of those first disciples. Like a link in a chain, we are connected. How cool is that! Jesus wants us to be one, just as He and the Father are one. Jesus wants us to be one, and this unity is based on Truth. In our culture, unity is supposedly found in tolerating all kinds of things, even things that go against God’s word. But Jesus emphasizes Truth. So I am reminded that there is ultimate Truth for us to know, to grow in, and to share. But it is a Truth that the world doesn’t receive and even tries to distort. If it was an easy thing to adhere to, Jesus wouldn’t have been praying for it as part of His last lengthy prayer on earth. But being united in the Truth is not something easily accomplished. Ultimately, it takes the love and sacrifice of God through Christ Jesus and by believing in Him we can have life in His name.
PRAYER: In my prayers to You, O Lord, I am thankful that Your Son Jesus remembered me, even in the last hours of His life. Not just me, but all people who’ve come to know of Your love through Him. Help me to not only appreciate this more and more, but to also remember others in my prayers throughout the days and weeks ahead. Amen.