“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.” (John 17:1 – 3)
When I was young, the “proper” prayer posture was to bow your head and close your eyes. Kneeling was even better. So it was a “revolutionary” idea to lift your head in prayer. But I like it! It seemed strange to my young mind to look down to pray, because that was not where God was. God was “up” in heaven! And I was taught to look at a person when you spoke to them. How much more should you look to the Lord when you pray!
“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.” (Verses 4 – 6)
Here is a new thought – the disciples were the Lord’s before they became followers of Christ! We may think that the disciples were just a random group of men culled from the population of Galilee/Nazareth. But apparently before Jesus called them, the Lord God had seen them and identified them as the Divine’s. I wonder, beloved reader, if this explains some of us who seem to grow into faith in the Lord rather than having a decisive conversion experience. That’s not to say that believers who had a “turn around” moment have not also been picked out by the Divine. Each of us who believe have the “Belonging to the Divine” stamp. It’s just that some knew about the stamp from the very beginning. So, I have to wonder if that was the case with the disciples.
“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.” (Verses 7 – 9)
I want to remind you, beloved reader, that this passage comes before the blessing of the Holy Presence. It even comes before Jesus’ death, so it is relatively early on in the disciple’s learning curve. What they have learned up until now is comparatively small to what will come. And yet, Jesus counts it as major learning. And for this “early” reason the disciples are being lifted up by Jesus.
“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. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 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.” (Verses 10 – 11)
The writer of the gospel of John has Jesus already withdrawing, in a sense, from the world. Jesus is also commending the disciples to the Lord God. The bewilderment of Jesus’ arrest, crucifixion, death, and resurrection is still to come. May be the disciples were able to “hold it together” so relatively well because the Divine was looking over them. So just maybe the Divine is watching over us in the same way as we journey through these days. How are you doing beloved reader? Are you looking up in prayer, and looking towards the Source of strength, faith, comfort, and endurance? I encourage you to look up now; and may you be lifted up! Selah!