What does it say?
The conversation between Jesus and his disciples we saw begin in John 13 continues. Most of this material is unique to John and the emphasis is on this very personal interaction between Jesus and his twelve shortly before his crucifixion. Knowing that the recent events were troubling for his followers, Jesus reassures them that he is preparing a place for them and will come again for them (John 14:1-3). This occasions questions from the disciples, and the rest of John 14-16 contains very specific instruction from Jesus to The Twelve, especially regarding the indwelling Holy Spirit of God, the other Comforter to them in all that will follow. This is how he will leave them, yet still be with them.
In John 14:31 Jesus leads the disciples from the Upper Room and toward the Garden of Gethsemane. The teaching and conversation in chapters 15 and 16 takes places as they make they way toward the garden. John 17 is an amazing treasure in that it allows us to listen in on a prayer between Jesus and the Heavenly Father. Not only is this prayer intimate between Father and Son, he also prayers for his disciples, including us today!
What does it mean?
One of the great values of these chapters is that it gives us a glimpse of how Jesus trains his twelve. In the other, or synoptic, gospels we usually see Jesus working with his disciples in a public setting. Here, we are allowed to go behind the door as Jesus lovingly instructs them and prepares them to carry on without his physical presence.
Another feature of this passage is its emphasis on love. We see that love for one another is the distinguishing mark of the disciple of Jesus Christ (John 13:35). We also see the amazing love relationship among the Persons of the Trinity, Father, Son and Spirit. And we see the reality of God’s great love for the world (John 3:16) in actually allowing his Son to be crucified in our place.
Finally, Jesus’ prayer to his Father in John 17 should be the focus of serious meditation. Here we can learn much about prayer, about God, about our mission and ourselves.
How will I respond?
Reflecting prayerfully on John 17, what is the most important lesson that I can apply to my life today from what I have seen here in Jesus’ prayer?