Thursday, April 21, 2011

Jesus' Prayer

Thursday, April 21, 2011 -- Maundy Thursday

To read about our daily commemorations, go to our Holy Women, Holy Men blog:

Today's Readings for the Daily Office
(Book of Common Prayer, p. 956)
Psalms 102 (morning)        142, 143 (evening)
Jeremiah 20:7-11
1 Corinthians 10:14-17; 11:27-32
John 17:1-11(12-26)

NOTE:  Our Maundy Thursday service at St. Paul's will be at 7:00 this evening.

John 17 is sometimes called the "High Priestly Prayer" of Jesus.  The commentary in The Access Bible that I use calls it "Jesus' Great Declaratory Prayer."  It is one of the great compositions of John's gospel and summarizes Jesus' teaching as John presents it.

For John, Jesus' crucifixion is Jesus' glorification.  In John's portrayal, Jesus reigns from the cross, directing each moment with a calm and certain purpose.  Here on the cusp of the climax of his mission, Jesus prays.

First, Jesus prays for himself, for "the hour has come."  "Glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you," Jesus says.  Jesus speaks of the gifts that the Father has given him -- authority, eternal life, glory.  These were the Son's eternal characteristics that he had in God's "presence before the world existed."  Now Jesus has made God's name known -- God's authority, eternal life and glory known -- first to the disciples, and through them, to all humanity.

Jesus prays for his disciples.  Jesus has given them everything.  They have the word that the Father first gave to the Son.  "Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth," Jesus says.  Jesus has protected them; now Jesus commends their protection to the Father.  The disciples enter into the intimate union that is the relationship of oneness between the Father and the Son.  "All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them."  The disciples are given the same gifts that the Father has given the son -- authority, eternal life, glory -- Unity.

Finally Jesus prays for the continued spread of this unity.  Through the disciples and their sharing of the word, "all may be one.  As you, Father, are in me and I in you, may they also be in us...  The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I 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." 

The divine, eternal love that God the Father has for God the Son is the same love that is given to all humanity through the disciples' mission to spread that love throughout the world.  Praying to the Father, Jesus knows, "the world does not know you."  The world does not know the deep love that God has for all humanity.  But Jesus has made God's loving name known.  Then Jesus trusts into the disciples' care the mission of making that divine love known to the whole world.  He says, "I 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."

In union with the Father, Jesus declares his desire that through the disciples all humanity will be given the same gifts that the Father has given the Son -- truth, eternal life, glory -- Unity.  As Jesus has made the love of the Father real and true for the disciples, so the disciples are to make the love of God real and true for all the world.  The mission of Jesus is to continue through the disciples.  Not just the mission, but the very being of Jesus is to continue through them, in the Spirit.

That is our mission.  To receive from Jesus the gift of God's eternal love that creates union, and to give God's gift of love to a world that does not know that it is loved.  "The hour has come" for Jesus to show just how profound that love is.  It is a love willing to die for the beloved.  It is a love so strong that it overcomes death.



Audio podcast:  Listen to an audio podcast of the most recent Morning Reflections from today and the past week.  Click the following link:
Morning Reflection Podcasts

About Morning Reflections
"Morning Reflections" is a brief thought about the scripture readings from the Daily Office of Morning and Evening Prayer according to the practice found in the Book of Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church.

Morning Prayer begins on p. 80 of the Book of Common Prayer.
Evening Prayer begins on p. 117
An online resource for praying the Daily Office is found at -- Click for online Daily Office
Another form of the office from Phyllis Tickle's "Divine Hours" is available on our partner web site at this location -- --  Click for Divine Hours

Discussion Blog:  To comment on today's reflection or readings, go to, or click here for Lowell's blog find today's reading, click "comment" at the bottom of the reading, and post your thoughts.

The Mission of St. Paul's Episcopal Church
is to explore and celebrate
God's infinite grace, acceptance, and love.

See our Web site at

Our Rule of Life: 
We aspire to...
    worship weekly
    pray daily
    learn constantly
    serve joyfully 
    live generously.

Lowell Grisham, Rector
St. Paul's Episcopal Church
Fayetteville, Arkansas


At 8:21 AM, Anonymous janet said...

Hi Lowell,

I have been stepping through John very carefully these several weeks with the writing of a haiku each evening. I've noticed the acceptance Jesus seems to come to. There was a subtle change at one point, from outward mission to inward reflection and acceptance. And the acceptance is to be perfectly weak (at least in the world's eyes). Thank you so much for the time and effort you take to share your understandings with us. Your reflections are now a valued part of my spiritual discipline.

Tonight I think I'll write haiku 38after the Maundy Thursday service.

Yes, we are so loved with such great Love that it is hard to communicate with mere words. Foot washing says more than we ever can.


At 8:53 PM, Anonymous janet said...

Lent thirty-eight

For Jesus washed each
Denier, betrayer too
That we could love all

Be strong and well.


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