The ultimate eavesdrop – Tuesday, 7th Week of Easter – Acts 20:17-27/ John 17:1-11
John 17 gives us the chance to “overhear” an intimate conversation between Jesus and his Father. Talk about the ultimate eavesdrop!!! When you think about it, it’s rather stunning to realize that we are privy here to a conversation between two members of the divine Trinity. In this text, you and I are standing on holy ground as we listen to the prayer of Jesus.
It really is nothing short of astonishing to imagine this passage as a model for prayer. Remember, in the Gospel of John there is no, “teach us how to pray” followed by the Lord’s Prayer. This is the Lord’s Prayer according to John.
For the next three days we will hear Jesus pray for his disciples in chapter 17; he is talking to his Father. The lectionary will then take us to the days just before Pentecost in chapter 21. For now, several themes run through this text. Jesus speaks of ‘the hour’ that is not coming but the hour that has come. Jesus asks that the Father may glorify him with the glory that he had before the world existed when Jesus was in the presence of God. Remember that in the Gospel of John Jesus is introduced as the Word who was with God and was God (John 1:1)
Jesus also touches on the theme of ‘eternal life’ that gives us the knowledge of God as ‘Him who is one and true’ and in his son Jesus Christ. He speaks of his proclamation to those from the world that were entrusted by God to Jesus and that this knowledge has fully and faithfully been transmitted. Jesus came to the world but not all accepted him because many chose to be subjects of the ‘ruler of this world’; satan. We as believers, also have to face a hostile world. But the good news of this prayer is that we don’t face it alone. We’ve got no less than the Sovereign God of the universe on our side!
One thing that should strike you is that Jesus is making this prayer out aloud, in the presence of his disciples. They can hear his prayer for them. It must have been so remarkable to have the Lord pray for them even in his hour of suffering. That thought itself is so consoling. The Lord prays with us and for us and he prays to the Father commending us to the loving care of God. He says, “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me”. Jesus is praying for me, for us, asking the Father to protect us. Elsewhere in the Gospels Jesus says that not even a leaf falls without the Father knowing, and that all the hairs on our head are counted.
Jesus speaks from the depths of his heart. He tells us of the Father’s love for him and his love for his Father and the Father’s love for us. The Father’s love continues to be with him right to the end, even to the Cross, to the point of giving his all, his life.