John 17:1-11 

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

17 After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.

“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you, for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.

Glory!  What a word!  I would have to say that the music today has brought glory on each face as we sang earlier.  There is something about music that brings out glory, isn’t there?  Looking it up in the dictionary, gave me this as a definition of glory:

glo· ry 

: praise, honor, or distinction extended by common consent

: worshipful praise, honor, and thanksgiving

: something that secures praise or renown

: a distinguished quality or asset

: a state of great gratification or exaltation

: a height of prosperity or achievement

: something marked by beauty or resplendence

: the splendor and beatific happiness of heaven

We find this word in this morning’s passage.  Jesus is praying for himself and for his disciples.  This comes at the end of the “Farewell Discourse” that we have been talking about the past few Sundays.  Jesus has been encouraging his followers, his disciples that he now calls “friends” and family even as evidenced in previous Gospel stories.  

After this last supper, this remembrance and encouragement, Jesus goes to a place away from everyone to pray.  A quiet place, a place without distractions.

As we talked about in Bible Study this past week, God, the divine presence within and all around us, invites us to move into places alone.  The word in our bible study this past week was from Hosea 2 where God is seen as “alluring” us into the desert.

Jesus is in a season of consolation and desolation.  This is part of all of our journeys, as well as Jesus’.

St. Ignatius defined these as:  “(consolation is) every increase in hope, faith,  and charity, and all interior joy which calls and attracts to heavenly things and to the salvation of one’s soul, quieting it and giving it peace in its Creator and Lord.” And “(desolation as) the contrary of [the above], such as darkness of soul, disturbance in it, movement to things low and earthly, the unquiet of different agitations and temptations, moving to want of confidence, without hope, without love, when one finds oneself all lazy, tepid, said, and as if separated from his Creator and Lord.”

We sometimes want to separate Jesus from his humanity, but he was human in every way and had to go through all things and emotions as every human does.  In many ways, we are reminded or shown that God does not cause evil, but lives through it with us, experiencing all that we experience.  This is true of Jesus as well.  He is pleading with his followers to be one and stick together as they grow through life.  To love one another.  He knows that they are about to be in a season of desolation.

He is now praying for himself to remember who he is and that he is connected to God and to others.

When one goes through the desert where everything is stripped away, when one is “allured”, one can move through desolation to consolation, to knowing their truest selves as found in the Truest Self, the self of all selves, their lover and their belovedness.  

As we go through desolation, if we allow ourselves to be in places of lament and growth, we can move towards consolation where we find ourselves living into eternity.  Jesus talks about eternal life in his prayer, remember, eternity in the original sense of the word, is not about quantity of life, but quality of life.  It is about being glorified.  Jesus is praying this for himself, and consequently for all of us.

This is a theme in scripture, the writer of Colossians says this in 1:27:

To them God chose to make known how great among the gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. – Colossians 1:27

This mystery is that Jesus, the Christ, through Christ’s Presence, represents you and Christ lives in you.  As you live into glory of who you are, not your ego, but your true self, you live in glory, in splendor, in beauty…even as you go through the process of desolation and consolation, or the cycle of death and resurrection. In this cycle, your ego becomes subservient to your true self.  In other words, you die to your ego and are resurrected into the person you were created to be…the very image of God.

Jesus understood this, Jesus knew that something was about to happen.  He leaned into it as he prayed that night and into the next day.  It was not easy, and we all know that life is not easy.  Yet, if we live it authentically, that is in vulnerability and adventurous, we can move towards glory.

Our reformed background gives us a series of questions and answers.  Back in the day, when you were confirmed into the Christian faith, you had to memorize these.  The very first question in the Shorter Catechism (there was a longer catechism that had 10x more questions, imagine having to memorize that!), is this:  

“What is the chief aim of humanity?  To enjoy God and glorify God forever.”  

Live in Christ, live in glory…and be who you were created to be, made in the glorious image of God!

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