Today’s reading is John 17:1-26 (NIV):
Jesus Prays to Be Glorified.
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples.
6 “I have revealed you[a] to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 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 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 that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them,for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Jesus Prays for All Believers.
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one,Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “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 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.”
“I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world” (John 17:14).
We are not of this world. This place is not our final home. As Christians, our eyes and hearts are drawn ever upward to our eternal home with Christ himself. And as we reside in the world, Jesus reminds us that we will be hated by the world just as He was hated by the world. It is easy to forget the gravity and the implication of these words, to convince ourselves that being Christian is a simple and lighthearted calling. We, as Christians, are called to love everyone, which can’t be so hard, right? Jesus reminds us that yes – yes indeed – it will be hard. To be hated as He was hated means to die to this world. It means to suffer immeasurably for the sake of those who scoff and spit at you. It means that if we truly desire to follow Jesus, then we must follow him all the way to the Cross.
But the Cross becomes much less daunting when we remember that it has no power over us. The story does not end on Calvary. And all that we suffer in this life is minuscule in comparison to the glory of our true home in Heaven. If we truly believe that “this is eternal life: that [we] know [Him], the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] has sent” (John 17:3), then the Cross is more than something to be endured – it is a means through which we are united to Christ and brought closer to eternal life with Him. Let us not shy away, then, from the crosses in our lives or from the hatred of the world, because these sufferings are only temporary, and, if we offer them up to the Lord, they can bring our hearts ever closer to His own. This, after all, is all that our Lord desires.
Jesus speaks the words in this passage just before He is handed over to be crucified. Just before He gives himself over to be the Ultimate Sacrifice, He prays for each and every one of us, that we may be protected and safe in the love of God. “Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23). All that Christ does, he does for love of us. He came into the world so that we may know we are loved. He died on the Cross and wiped away our iniquities so that we may know we are loved. He heals and forgives sins so that we may know we are loved. All that He does, He does to bring us closer to God the Father and our true home with Him in Heaven.
During these next few days, as we continue to prepare our hearts for the celebration of the Resurrection, let us strive to emulate the Lord in all things. Let us embrace the Cross with Him, knowing full well the splendor on the other side. Let us love God and each other with reckless abandon so that we may come closer to eternal life and bring others along with us. The whole world does not know God, but let us show His face to the world through our steadfast joy and love, even in the face of the Cross, because we know that there is no Christianity without the Cross. We know that death on the Cross leads to Resurrection that transcends this world. And we know that there can be no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.
Eliza DeCubellis ’17 is a Senior in Kirkland House studying Government.