the Lord’s Prayer | John 17.1-5
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. John 17:1-5 | ESV
End of lesson. Standing now across the valley, Gethsemane looming in the darkness before them, Jesus switched modes, and lifting his eyes to the night sky, he began to pray.
“Abba. The time has come. Put the spotlight on the Son, so the Son may put a spotlight on you, on your beauty. You have given me full sway over all people, everywhere, so that I may place full, unending, vibrant life into the hands and hearts of all you have marked as mine. And what is full, unending, vibrant life but finally, really getting you: the One, the True God – not to mention me, the One you’ve sent: Jesus, Anointed One. It was on You I put the spotlight during my time on earth – simply by carrying out the work you gave me to do. Job done. Now you put the spotlight on me, Abba, right beside you, bathed in that timeless divine beauty we enjoyed together before the world even existed.” MAV (Mike’s Amplified Version)
The meal has been served and eaten;
feet have been washed;
a new commandment has been given;
a vision of future hope in the many rooms of the Father’s house has been cast;
the Helper has been promised;
the vine has been visited;
the future has been forecast.
Now Jesus and his disciples stand on the far side of the Kidron Valley in the gathering darkness, waiting to cross through the valley to the Gethsemane that awaits them on the other side. Perhaps we could say that before Jesus crosses the valley and enters into his sufferings he first pauses to enter the “holy of holies.” Many see that as essentially being what John 17 represents, calling this the “high priestly prayer” of Jesus, the true “Lord’s prayer.”
On a deep, primal level, this speaks volumes to us about how we conduct ourselves in this time “between the now and the not yet.” We tend to rush into the valley of suffering – or we sit and let it rush upon us. On that evening before his sufferings on the last night of his life, Jesus not only spent time with his disciples in that upper room, he also paused to enter the “holy of holies” of prayer – intimate connection and conversation with his Abba.
Prayer generally turns on when the trials have come and we’re in the thick of it. It’s the emergency lever we pull when life falls apart. And while that’s a good lever to pull – and in fact, Jesus very much does just that in the garden only a few hours hence – there’s more waiting for us in this thing we know as “prayer.” Knowing the time and seeing the place before him, Jesus takes the time to thoughtfully lay out his heart before his Abba: a heart focused on the beauty of his Abba – and how he can enhance and put the spotlight on that, even and especially as he crosses over this valley; a heart focused on the company of friends standing around him; focused on new friends over the horizon of time he hadn’t even met yet; a heart consumed with passion for the deepest heart of all reality to flow forth in love and unity.
This week affords us the opportunity to hush ourselves and hear the heart of Jesus in the holy of holies.
Take a few moments to read through the whole prayer of Jesus in John 17. How would you summarize what was on his mind? What do you learn about prayer as you listen to Jesus praying?
Lord, make prayer more than an emergency lever in my life. Lead me into greater intimacy in my prayer journey with you. Teach me to pray! Help me to listen this week. Through Christ.