John 17th, Psalm 17
We know from the other Gospels that Jesus prayed the night before His crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus prayed in agony that the “cup” might pass from Him, but still resolved to do the Father’s will. John 17 conveys, as we learn from John 18:1, a prayer that occurred immediately before Gethsemane. That means Jesus’ prayer in this chapter is still the night before Jesus’ death. In the prayer from today’s reading, Jesus asks that God would be glorified through Jesus’ faithful endurance of suffering. Jesus continues by praying that the first apostles (save Judas) would be protected from doing evil. The prayer ends with requests by our Lord for all believers throughout history; our Lord prayed for you and me along with followers before us, and after us. In John 17, we are able to overhear God’s concern and love for us. In that great love, Jesus prayers for our unity, and that this oneness be based in our union with Father and Son. This is what Jesus wants for our us. The fact that Jesus is praying for this very thing right after asking for strength to endure a brutal crucifixion shows such unity will not come easy. Since Jesus prays for this, we should see such unity will not come of our own strength. We can then take both courage and challenge from this prayer. The challenge comes from the fact Jesus prayed for this, meaning this is what God wants. The encouragement comes from the fact that Jesus prayed for this, and God will answer all Jesus’ requests. May we then be challenged and encouraged as we seek unity with one another within the church.