John 17:1-11 (NRSV)
Chapter 17After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, Verse 2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. Verse 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Verse 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. Verse 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
Verse 6"I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Verse 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; Verse 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. Verse 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. Verse 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
Verse 11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
John’s gospel begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (1:1). We are people of the word who confess the Word and believe God is present in that word! In John 17 Jesus’ prayer before his crucifixion foreshadows his return to heaven with God, and anticipates already his resurrection promise: “The words that you [God] gave to me I have given to them.” We have that word, gifted by God, made known in Christ, and alive among us through the Holy Spirit. It is a word available to us at the beginning, in the life and ministry of Jesus, on his cross, at his tomb, in the Easter garden, grasping at Jesus’ ascending feet, in Pentecost flames, in our church gatherings (virtual and physical), through the whole of creation, and in the face of our neighbor. This word is written upon you as a holy claim by Jesus to God: “All mine are yours, and yours are mine.” What a prayer!
This is our prayer, O Spirit of truth: that we may know you, the only true God, and your Word, Jesus Christ, whom you sent to claim us all. Amen.