Reflection on the Gospel of John 17:20-26: Seventh Sunday of Easter May 29, 2022

The Gospel of John 17:20-26

Jesus prayed for his disciples, and then he said. “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, 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. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Let us Pray: Holy God, you have called us to follow in the way of your risen Son, and to care for those who are our companions, not only with words of comfort, but with acts of love. Seeking to be true friends of all, we offer our prayers on behalf of the church and the world. This we pray in the Name of Your Son Jesus our Lord and Savior. Amen

John’s Gospel this week allows us to continue to think about all that occurred that final night in the upper room. Jesus definitely poured His heart out to those with him, those faithful disciples whose world is about to get turned upside down. In this Gospel Jesus is praying to the Father. Jesus has shared a meal with his disciples, washed their feet, given them a new commandment to love as he loves, and told them of his leaving. Now he prays. In today’s gospel we overhear a portion of his prayer to his Father and our Father. He prays for us. The high priestly prayer is directed towards all who will come after him and follow him as his disciples. Three times he asks our Father that we would all become one as he and the Father are one. If Jesus is praying for our oneness, then he is also recognizing and rejecting the boundaries and differences that divide us. There are divisions within us, our families, our churches, our nation. We live in a world full of divisions, male or female; rich or poor; gay or straight; conservative or liberal; educated or uneducated; young or old; heaven or earth; divine or human.  They are not just divisions they have become oppositions. These divisions exist not only out there in the world but primarily and first in the human heart. We project onto the world our fragmented lives. Oneness is not about eliminating differences. It is about accepting there are difference. It is about love. Love is the only thing that can ever overcomes division. Over and over Jesus tells us that. We need to Love God, love your neighbor, love yourself, love your enemy. Our love for God, neighbor, self, and enemy reveals our oneness, and the measure of our oneness, our Godlikeness, is love. In love there may be differences but there is no division. God created us for relationship. In community, we find ourselves and we find God. God reveals himself by coming into the world as Jesus Christ but also through those who make God’s name known. We can only share who and what we know, so as Jesus prays, he emphasizes the unity of the Triune God as a model of knowing. This knowing does not come from memorizing verses of scripture devoid of contextual understanding. This knowing is not enhanced by rigid adherence to a set of rules without connecting that behavior to maintaining communion with the Holy One. Today it is important to recognize the significance of the Gospel. It tells us that Jesus prayed for us with these words: . “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. And by following these words this final statement is so revealing: “I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Let us Pray: Guide us in the path of discipleship, so that, as you have blessed us, we may be a blessing for others, bringing the promise of the kingdom near by our words and deeds. Amen.

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