Walter Brueggeman20”I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21that 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. 22The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23I 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.
24Father, 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. 25“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26I 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.”
A Little Bit for Everyone
Oremus online text: http://bible.oremus.org/?passage=John+17:20-26&vnum=yes&version=nrsv
Textweek general resources: http://www.textweek.com/yearc/easterc7.htm
Textweek resources for John’s Gospel this Sunday: http://www.textweek.com/mkjnacts/jn17c.htm
Chris Haslam’s commentary: http://montreal.anglican.org/comments/ceas7l.shtml
Some interesting articles on this passage:
Facebook page, have you seen this? http://www.facebook.com/textweek
Lectionary at Lunch site: http://www.csl.edu/Resources_AudioVideo_LectionaryatLunch.aspx
Suzanne Guthrie: http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2122
Walter Brueggemann: http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj1005&article=refusing-the-deathly-world-of-anxiety
Righteous Father, before the foundation of the world, your glory was with Christ the root and descendant of David, the bright morning star. Fulfill the prayer of Jesus: that the world which does not know you may come to believe. We ask this through the Lord Jesus, our Passover and our peace, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.
Jesus is in the midst of praying to God. We are actually in the third section of the prayer. The prayer itself is transitioning from the present to those who believe in Jesus and will come to be disciples in the future. The reading also marks the movement in our liturgical year from the time of Easter to the time of Pentecost so Jesus’ words are timely too as we move from pondering in our regular worship the Easter event to the Pentecost event.
He is asking God to make those who have followed him one. He is also asking that those who come to know Jesus and the Father through their witness may be one. He is praying that they may be one with one another, and one with the Father through Jesus.
This oneness we are to aspire to is to be as is the oneness of Jesus and the Father - to be together one in another. To be so closely united that one is inseparable. We proclaim by faith there is never a time with Jesus is not one with the Father. What would the world be like if we could claim to be so united with one another that we were constantly making decisions and determining our future based upon the intermingled relationship of one with another?
Jesus is praying that those who follow will be apart of the Godly community. And, his prayer implies that if his followers are not apart of the Godly community then it will be difficult for people to believe in Jesus and in God. Our witness to the world is damaged when we are not living in God AND one another!
Jesus then tells God that he has given to his followers his glory. This focus upon God’s given work, this act of worship through living, is an essential ingredient to our unity. When we are focused on the things that do not glorify God we are more likely to be divided.
Oneness depends upon this focus of ministry, this focus of life. This glory which is given, this vision of life only comes from Jesus Christ. So when one sees a Christian living in oneness with other Christians focused on living a life and undertaking a ministry which glorifies God one sees and witnesses God and God’s love for them. As we spoke in previous conversations on John’s Gospel we know that this vision of glorifying God and the life of unity with Jesus and God and one another brings with it the gift of love. We may indeed have love for one another, but the love which comes from Jesus Christ is one born out of his love for God and is able to be enjoyed in the glorious “fellowship of the saints of God.”
Jesus then prays that his friends, his follower, those whom were given to him may be with him and see his own glory. He gives thanks that God loved him from before the foundation of the world. And, that such love birthed the ministry of glorifying, and being one with those who he has come to know. He sees the people he is one with as gifts from God.
If we were so focused on God’s Glory and its work, if we were one as the Father and the Son are one, if we received the gift of love, would we see our neighbors, families, and friends as gifts from God.
It is in this way that the world will know God. It is in this manner of life that the world will come to know Jesus. And, that the world will be able to participate in the life of the Trinity – the community of God.
Question that this Gospel introduces: The nature of ecumenical and inter-church unity and structure is an area of conversation around this text. It is not about that, but the text is used in many of these discussions. It seems clear that the context is a much more organic one than ecumenical dialogues might lead one to believe. Certainly though the dialogues are rooted in this question of unity though.
Truly this last portion of Jesus’ prayer is essential to the life of a community lived within the new covenant. Raymond Brown writes the following words which seem the correct ones to use here as we leave this passage:
It is fitting that th is beautiful prayer, which is the majestic conclusion of the Last Discourse, is itself terminated on the note of the indwelling of Jesus in the believers – a theme bolstered by Jesus’ claim to have given glory to the believers and to have made known to them God’s name. We have contended that he motif of the new covenant runs through the Johannine account of the Last Supper even though there is no explicit mention of the Eucharistic body and blood of Christ. We saw above that the commandment of love, mentioned in the first lines of the Last Discourse, is “new“ because it is the essential stipulation of the new covenant. So also the closing note of indwelling is an echo of covenant theology. After the Sinai covenant the glory of God that dwelt on the mountain came to dwell in the Tabernacle in the midst of Israel. In Johannine through Jesus during his lifetime was the tabernacle of God embodying divine glory, and now in a covenantal setting he promises to give to his followers the glory that God gave to him. In the language of Deuteronomy the Tabernacle (or the site that housed the Ark) was the place where the God of the covenant has set His name. So now the name of God given to Jesus has been entrusted to his followers. The Lord God who spoke on Sinai assured His people that He was in their midst. Jesus, who will be acclaimed by his followers as Lord and God, in the last words that he speaks to them during his mortal life prays that after death he may be in them. (RB, John, vol 2, 781)
The Lambeth Bible Study Method
This Bible study method was introduced by the African Delegation to the Lambeth Conference of the Anglican Church. It is known by both names: "Lambeth" and "African." This method is derived from the practice of Lectio Divina. The entire process should take about 30 minutes.
Question #5: "Briefly identify where this passage touches their life today," can change based upon the lesson. Find lesson oriented questions at this website: http://www.dcdiocese.org/word-working-second-question
Opening Prayer: O Blessed Lord, who caused all Holy Scripture to be written for our learning. Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them that we may embrace and hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
1. One person reads passage. This person then invites a member of the group to begin the process.
2. Each person briefly identifies the word or phrase that catches their attention then invites another person to share.
3. Each shares the word or phrase until all have shared or passed using the same invitation method.
4. The passage is read a second time, preferably from a different translation. The reader then invites a person in the group to begin the process.
5. Each person briefly identifies where this passage touches their life today, and then invites someone who has not shared yet.
6. The passage is read a third time, also from another translation, and the reader invites a person to start the process.
7. Each person responds to the questions, "What does God want me to do, to be or to change?"
8. The group stands up in a circle and holds hands. One person initiates the prayer “I thank God today for …” and “I ask God today for…” The prayer goes around the circle by squeezing the hand to your right.
9. When the circle is fulfilled, the person who initiated the prayer starts the Lord’s Prayer, “Our father…”