Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”( John 17:1-11)
Today’s Gospel reading is a privilege to read, as we enter into the mystical intimacy between Christ and His Father. ‘Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said’… that which follows is a personal prayer of Christ to His Father. While it may be hard to understand every sentence that is being prayed by Christ, it does however talk straight to the heart and invites us into that intimacy.
The prayer by Jesus to His Father has come to be known as the High Priestly Prayer. In the Hebrew culture, The High Priest was the priests among priests. Many priests, but only one High Priest. But the High Priest didn’t mediate for a man or woman and their family before God. The High Priest mediated for the whole nation of Israel collectively. The High Priest would carry out one, very special offering to the Lord. Every year, on the Day of Atonement, no one entered into the Temple except the High Priest.
So, it shouldn’t be too hard for us to see why Jesus is our Great High Priest. He is the great Mediator between man and God. He offers one sacrifice for the sins of the whole world to God, a sacrifice far more significant than any of the sacrifices that any of the High Priests of Israel ever made. Jesus offers Himself, for He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. He is the ‘Paschal Lamb,’ the Passover Lamb.
In this moment of intimacy between Jesus and His Father, we learn of all that Jesus lived and died for. The prayer is simple, yet majestic.
Jesus prays that the hour has come. The hour of course refers to His crucifixion and death. The crucifixion completes Jesus’ work of glorifying God on earth, for by laying down his life he gives himself completely so that the world may know of Jesus’ love for God and God’s love for the world (John 3:16; 14:31).
By his resurrection and ascension Jesus returns to the heavenly glory that God prepared for him in love, and Jesus prays that his followers will one day join him in the Father’s presence to share in this glory and love (17:5, 24-26). To the eye of faith, however, the glory of the exalted Lord is already present in the crucified body of Jesus. If glory defines what the crucifixion is, the crucifixion defines what glory is. The crucifixion manifests the scope of divine power by disclosing the depth of divine love.
Jesus is glorified in His terrible suffering and death. This is what the Father sent the Son into the world to do. His perfect and willing obedience to do the Father’s will glorifies the Father. ‘I glorified you on earth havening accomplished the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.’
And God raised Jesus from the dead, and in this, the Son is glorified.
There is one sentence in His prayer that moves me to tears because I am so humbled. One sentence. So simple. So powerful. Jesus, two millennia ago, prayed for me. Prayed for you. Prayed for us, on our journeys. Together.
He prayed that we could transcend the world. He offered our difficulties to the Father. He brought our crosses to the Father before he brought his own on Calvary. He prayed that we might have the strength, through our faith, to continue in the world, living apart from it.
He prayed that you and I receive eternal life. What is eternal life? It is more than simply endless time. Eternal life is qualitative more than quantitative. To have eternal life is to have the life of God within us. When we possess eternal life we experience here and now something of God’s majesty, his peace, joy and love and the holiness which characterizes the life of God. Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God. Jesus tells his disciples that they can know the only true God. Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God — a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God — a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly
Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God. Jesus tells his disciples that they can know the only true God. Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God — a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God — a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly.
Whenever I read this passage, I see Jesus passionately in prayer. I can’t help but see a man with his heart on fire with love, truly communicating, truly one with his Father in heaven from whom he came and to whom he will return. He understood he was physically leaving his friends, both the Apostles and us, soon. He knew how difficult this world was to live in; he knew the challenges, frustrations, and persecutions firsthand, and he didn’t want to leave us alone. So he prayed. In His prayer, our crosses of life are joined with His.
The beauty of the Gospel is that every suffering we endure, every cross we carry, is an opportunity to manifest the Cross of Christ. We are called, by Him, to constantly give Him glory by living His suffering and death in our lives. Reflect, today, upon the hardships you endure. And know that, in Christ, those hardships can share in His redeeming love if you let Him.
I read. I reflected. I embraced. I wept as I finished writing this.
Prayer of The Day
” Jesus, it is hard to keep fighting. Sometimes it seems I make little progress. I have the same struggles and difficulties every day. I’m overwhelmed by the evil I see in the world, and it can be hard to see your victory in many places, in many families and homes. Give me the hope that I need to keep seeking your will in all things.”
Jesus gave his Father the supreme honor and glory through his obedience and willingness to go to the cross. The greatest honor, trust, and love any person can give one’s leader is through his obedience even to the point of sacrificing his own life. In warfare the greatest honor belongs not to those who survive but to those who give the supreme sacrifice of their own lives for their fellow countrymen. Jesus also speaks of the Father bringing glory to the Son through the great mystery of the Incarnation and Cross of Christ. God the Father gave us his only begotten Son for our redemption and deliverance from slavery to sin and death. There is no greater proof of God’s love for each and every person on the face of the earth than the Cross of Jesus Christ. In the cross we see a new way of love — a love that is unconditional, sacrificial and generous beyond comprehension.