Scripture: John 17: 1-26
“Holy Father, guard them as they pursue this life that you conferred as a gift through me, so they can be one heart and mind as we are one heart and mind.” (v 11, The Message)
We enter John 17 with Jesus having essentially just said goodbye to His beloved disciples. We assume their grief and fear (and definite confusion) as Jesus says, “in a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.” But then in John 17, we get a small glimpse into just how much Jesus loves His disciples, present and future, as He petitions God to “protect”, unify, and sanctify them. What a blessing it is to read this final public prayer of Jesus. It is complex and profound and at the same time, simple and obvious - a declaration of the call on His life and ours, as followers of Christ.
Over the last year, I have been reflecting and learning about what it truly means to be a disciple of Jesus.We are called to be followers, to be pupils of Jesus, living how He lived, striving to build as close a relationship with our Heavenly Father as He had. Reading John 17 reminds me so much of this: union with God. Jesus ends His ministry on earth, His example to His disciples, by speaking to God. The perfect display of relationship: communication.
In the midst of Lent and now as we’re nearing the end of Holy Week, it’s easy to get caught up in the sadness and fear of Christ’s death. For me at this time of the church year, it’s often hard to look past the darkness of Good Friday to the joy and glory of the resurrection; but as I read this prayer, I am filled with hope. I read Jesus’ prayer as a blessing and a benediction. It is a constant reminder that Jesus is alive and is continuing His work through His disciples. And it is a reminder that my pursuit of discipleship and communion with God is a gift through Christ Jesus.