It is Thursday evening, and the crucifixion will happen on Friday. Jesus is meeting with his disciples in the last meal, and in it, giving them instructions and assurances, and again predicting his death. Much of this did not register with the disciples, as indicated by their responses upon his arrest and desertion after the sham trial. But Jesus has some final lessons for his disciples, which will shape them and the early church after his resurrection and departure to heaven. We now see the heart of God in Jesus to the Father, and for His disciples.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you[a] known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:24-26.
- Understanding the Bible Starts and Finishes with the Revelation of God. From the participation of the Persons of God in the creation of Adam in the Garden – Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” Genesis 1;26 – to the prayer of God the Son to the Father here, we see the whole participation of God in the plan of the creation of man made in the image of God – imago dei – to the redemption of mankind by Jesus’ finishing the work at the cross and in His resurrection. In other words, we are seeing the fullness of God gathered together in this final hour, to complete the redemptive plan first promised back in the garden of Eden. And in that, the glory of God the Father is preeminent. And as to the purpose of life, for us, or for Jesus, the finishing work is to reflect back to the Father. Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son that your Son may glorify you. John 17:1.
- The Christian Life Includes Opposition and Danger. Jesus’ departure from the world is imminent, but he is leaving his disciples in the world, with its risks and danger. Thus, Jesus’ intercedes for them as well. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of[a] your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by[b] that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. John 17:11-12.
- But the Christian Life has power and a promise. Along with the acknowledgement of the dangers of a life of discipleship. Jesus draws on His relationship with His heavenly Father to request the application of godly living in setting these disciples apart – sanctifying them in their holy work. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. John 17:15-19.
In this final scene from the Last Supper, Jesus prayers while among his disciples, to His heavenly Father, asking not only that the redemptive work be finished in this hour – the time has come – but that the spiritual work of Jesus would be passed to the disciples with the same message and power to lift the message of redemption from earth to heaven as they form the foundation for the early church. This is a very powerful section of Jesus life – from an intimate glimpse into the Godhead, to the passion and love Jesus had for his disciples, affirming what was true for them, and is true for us – sanctify them by the truth – your work is truth.
Next week we see even more of the prayer and struggle of Jesus, as he privately travels to the Garden of Gethsemane, and make a final impossible request and prayer of the Father, and then bows his knee to the shadow of the cross.