Our text for Sunday is the middle section of John 17, a chapter known as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer. Jesus has been teaching and this chapter is the prayer following that teaching. It’s almost as if we are eavesdropping on Jesus.
This is a tough piece of Scripture to read and understand because of the theological constructs permeating it. Jesus is praying for his disciples aloud. He is commending their further care and nurturing to God’s hands; his work with and among them is done. In a matter of hours, Jesus is to die on the cross. In this passage, we get several instances of sharing. God shared these followers with Jesus. Jesus shared these followers with God. Jesus shares these followers with us. We share these followers with others. Oh, wait! We are those followers!
How many times have we been encouraged to see ourselves in the Bible stories we read? It is easy to see that Jesus is praying for the Twelve. It is harder to see that Jesus is praying for you and me. It may sound heretical, but Jesus is asking that we be protected from the evil one. Jesus is praying that we be made holy (remember learning about sanctification in confirmation?) so that we may be sent into the world. Jesus shared his life with twelve followers, who shared their lives with many others, who shared their lives with a host of others until you and I are caught up into the story. Now it is our turn to share the story with myriad others.
Every move, every action, every kind and unkind word we say preaches a sermon to those around us. We lift our voices with Jesus as we ask to be sanctified in the truth because God’s word is truth. So, how’s your sermon writing going???