June 5, 2011
1 Peter 4:12-14 John 17:1-11 ³Glorifying God´Dr. Ted H. Sandberg³After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, µFather, 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.´Since the beginning of Chapter 13 here in John¶s Gospel, Jesus has been sharing with the discipleswhat scholars call his Farewell Discourse. This discourse is meant to ensure that the disciples don¶tthink that this is the end. Jesus wants them to know that even though he¶ll be crucified, he will liveon, and even more, they¶ll not be left alone. God will give them the Paraclete, the Comforter, the HolySpirit.With chapter 17, Jesus begins what¶s known as his high priestly prayer, a prayer that asks God to grantJesus¶ hopes for his disciples. Essentially, Jesus acts here as a high priest, making intercession to Godon humanity¶s behalf. While the image isn¶t exact, the title highlights Jesus¶ offering to God theconcerns of a community faced with remaining in the world after his departure.
³While shaped hereas his prayer, Jesus meant for his disciples ± and arguably for us two millennia later ± to overhear his petitions. Hours from the crucifixion, Jesus focuses precisely on what matters most from his entireministry. This desire to communicate one last time what is at the center of one¶s life and hopes is anenduring human experience. A colleague in ministry tells the story of a young mother dying of cancer in a hospital who finds purpose and energy from the opportunity to construct a videotaped message for her preschool daughters, so that when they¶re older they can listen to what she most hopes will guidetheir lives. It¶s very important to her to make sure her daughters receive her motherly care and love,even though she won¶t be alive to speak to them in person.´
³What¶s central among Jesus¶ concerns? What would you say was the most important thing that Jesuswanted his disciples, which includes us living 2000 years later, what would you say Jesus wants us toremember? I believe that for Jesus, the culmination of his work is that we know God through his lifeand ministry. Jesus¶ final hopes aren¶t a celebration of himself, but the recognition that his life andministry are windows into God¶s love and saving purposes. So Jesus prays that people will come to
God through him. µKnowing¶ describes a powerful, active, confessional, and intimatelyrelational claim on our lives. Knowing God is an experience that draws believers into a new reality inwhich the new order that will be shaped eternally by God¶s vision for love and justice and service canalso be realized in relationships and communities now. Knowing God will be evident in our obedience
1. Adams, Richard Manly Jr. ³John 17:1-11: Exegetical Perspective,´ Feasting on the Word: Preachingthe Revised Common Lectionary ± Year A, Volume 2, David L. Bartlett and Barbara BrownTaylor, general editors, Westminister John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 2010, p. 539.2. Ramsay, Nancy J., ³John 17:1-11: Pastoral Perspective,´ Feasting on the Word: Preaching the RevisedCommon Lectionary ± Year A, Volume 2, David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, generaleditors, Westminister John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, 2010, p. 538.