Pastor Chris Tweitmann
One of the things we learn from the gospels is Jesus had a very consistent and vibrant prayer life. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John offer us several glimpses of Jesus’ ongoing and regular conversations with the Father. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus even teaches us how to pray. However, we never really get to hear the specific content of Jesus’ own prayers.
That is until we come to John, chapter 17. This single chapter in all of gospels is unique and precious for us because here we are privileged to listen in as Jesus, the Son, speaks to the Father. As he arrives at the Garden of Gethsemane, this conversation is the conclusion of Jesus’ final words moments before he is betrayed and arrested to be handed over to his death.
The Lord’s prayer, these words lifted up to heaven by Jesus, has three parts. Last Sunday, we reflected upon the first part in which Jesus prays for himself – for the Father’s glory to be revealed through him and for the glory of God to be revealed through us. This weekend, we conclude our reflection by considering the remaining two sections of this prayer.
First, Jesus seeks to support and fortify his original disciples. He will pray for them in terms of what they are about to face with his crucifixion and what they will later endure in the aftermath of sharing the news of his resurrection. Then, Jesus is going to do something remarkable – something very encouraging. Jesus will look towards the future and pray for his followers who are yet to come. While you and I are not stated by name, Jesus prays for each of us.
The longest prayer recorded in the Bible, John 17 is often referred to as the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus. From the story of the Old Testament, we might recall a priest is someone who represents the people before God. The priests who represented Israel stood before the presence of the Lord in the Temple and gave praise, provided offerings, and served as intercessors in terms of both the sins and the needs of the community.
Beloved, we are about to witness Jesus live into a role later ascribed to him in the letter to the Hebrews, chapter 4. Let us prepare to enter with our great high priest in the holiest of all sanctuaries, the sacred communion of the Trinity – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Let us listen in silence as the One who is full of grace and truth appeals to our Heavenly Father on our behalf. Let us ponder together, Jesus’ hope and vision – the very picture of what we, his followers, are to look like and how we are to live our lives together as his Body.
Grace to you!