Today, I want to invite you to read the entire chapter so we don’t miss anything in this closing conversation. Chapter 17 completes the interaction that Jesus had with his disciples in the Upper Room. It is fitting that he chose to close with a deep and intricate prayer. I imagine Jesus lifting his head and casting his gaze toward the sky as he offers this prayer to the God of Creation. It opens with two statements that cause us to think about the time line in the life of Jesus. First, we discover that ‘the time has come’ for God to glorify his Son. Second, we discover that Jesus has completed the work that was assigned to his duty. “I have finished the work you gave me to do.” What was that work and what was the timeline that came to the mind of Jesus? The timeline conversation is easy. The line begins at creation when Jesus was present as the chaos became land and water. The line runs from creation to the manger where the Word became flesh. Go back and read the first fourteen verses of John chapter one to touch base with the timeline. From the manger, the line connects at the temple conversation when Jesus was twelve years old. It links the baptism of John, the calling of the disciples, the three years of earthly ministry, his final entry into Jerusalem all the way to the empty tomb and the witness of the women on that first Easter morning. Ultimately the timeline of Jesus touches our lives as individuals and our congregation as a part of the Body. The work of Jesus becomes more intricate. Is the ‘work’ primarily connected to his teaching? Is it about the breaking of bread or the love he expressed through his death? Yes, all of that is a part of the picture. But at the heart of it all rests two components of his life that highlight all that would qualify as the ‘work he was given’ by the father. Both components have a rich connection to Advent. First is the work of his arrival in Bethlehem where he emptied himself and humbly took on the form of a child. Second would be his resurrection and assentation as he returned to the father after giving life to the rest of the world. Personally, I am deeply thankful for the work of Jesus. How about you?
After 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, 2since you have given him authority over all people,* to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. 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. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 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. 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. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 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. 12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that* you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost,* so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.