But unlike the others, John includes the beautiful words Jesus prays to God, with his friends, one last time before he is seized by the high officials. It was the last moment they had to pray together. Jesus used this final moment with them talking to his Father, praying for Himself, for his disciples and for future believers. What an intimate moment.
In this great prayer, Jesus returns repeatedly to the request for the community of believers to be unified with him and each other. He is being vulnerable and exposing his heart’s deep desires.
“Father, I long for the time when those You have given Me can join Me in My place so they may witness My glory, which comes from You. You have loved me before the foundation of the cosmos were laid.” (John 17:24).
Did you catch that? Jesus longs to be with “those you have given Me.” Those = you and me. You are a gift God gives to Jesus.
Jesus deeply loved the people he interacted with and taught and he longed to be with them again soon because he loved them so much. He has that same love for the coming generations of believers, too…which includes us.
Jesus also prayed for his disciples. He asks for them to have the same full measure of joy that he has. He asks for them to be immersed in the same truth His voice speaks. He says his prayer is not to take them out of the world, but that He will protect them from the evil one. And he prays for their protection: “protect them by the power of Your Name.” His Name. In Exodus 3:14 God says His name is “I AM”. “I AM WHO I AM” He is saying, “I AM EVERYTHING YOU NEED” During his time on earth, Jesus said his name I AM over and over.
I AM the Way
I AM the Truth
I AM the Life
I AM the Vine
I AM the Living Water
I AM the Light
I AM the Good Shepherd
I AM the Living Bread
I AM the Lamb of God
I AM your Sacrifice
He is the sacrifice for our sins and tomorrow, Good Friday, sacrifice will have a whole new meaning. It was the moment in time that changes everything. It was the moment that will never be forgotten.
(And I know this is kind of a random question, but did Jesus give each of his disciples one last hug before they left that upper room? I want to think so…considering how much he loved them. I can’t imagine the emotions he must have been feeling that moment.)
Today, let us remember that God had this all worked out from before time. Let us remember how He shows us the necessity it is to share our deepest longings with Him and people close to us that we trust.
Let us remember that He is everything that we need.
(I recommend reading all of Jesus’ prayer in John 17.)