Gospel of John 17:6-19 Easter 7B 2018
May 13, 2018
”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. Now they know that everything you have
given me is from you; for 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. I 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. All
mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in
them.
And 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. While
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. But
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. I have
given them your word, and the world has hated them because they
do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I
am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to
protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world,
just as I do not belong to the world.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me
into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their
sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

If you had to say goodbye to your loved ones, what gift would you want to leave
with them?
Immediately prior to Jesus’ arrest, trial, conviction and execution, Jesus leaves
behind a gift.

Jesus gives his loved ones the gift of his prayer.
In the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus teaches his friends to pray, saying, Our
Father, who art in heaven, hallowed by thy Name…
But in the Gospel of John, the Lord’s Prayer is a personal, vulnerable appeal for
Jesus’ loved ones he will soon leave behind.
In this gospel, the Son imitates the characteristics of God the Father. The idea of
God the Father and the Son being extravagant givers permeates the Gospel of John.
Lutheran Seminary Professor James Boyce calls attention to the prominent
language of ‘giving’ and the 9 occurrences within our text characterizing this
theological perspective. In fact, the theology of giving runs throughout the Gospel
of John. This awareness of God is highlighted not less than 75 times in John’s
Gospel.
Jesus prays for those he loves, and intends they hear his prayer.
Prayer is intimate communication with God revealing our vulnerabilities, our
wounds, our heartaches, our priorities, our deepest longing, and our most precious
joy. Prayer is an action of confidence in God’s compassionate and loving nature.
Jesus’ loved ones are those who have been given to him, from the world, by God
the Father, and believe that Jesus was sent by God.
Jesus’ loved ones have the privilege, we have the privilege, of listening to Jesus
pray for us.
While there are themes woven into Jesus’ prayer, I’d like to focus on only one of
those themes.
Jesus claims his friends as loved ones, precious carried in his heart. They belong
to him.
Jesus is praying for those he loves and belongs to him. They are those given to
Jesus and have the capability of furthering his mission.

Jesus is most certainly aware that his fate will be the fate of many of his loved
ones. That awareness is not at all comforting to his friends then and now. But this
is reality because Jesus’ friends are in the world, not of the world, and purposefully
sent into the world. The world is that which God so loved that Jesus was sent to
save it.
Jesus’ prayer is intended to encourage his loved ones so they will trust that they
belong to him, and if to him, they belong to the One who sent Jesus to save the
world. As Jesus’ friends are sent into the world, they carry on the miraculous work
of Jesus and the One who sent him into the world.
Their belonging to both God the Father and Jesus the Son will protect them from
the evil one. Their belonging to both God the Father and Jesus the Son will
provide assurance and anticipation of God’s blessings and God’s purpose coming
to reality through them.
Christians throughout the centuries believe that Jesus continues praying for his
dear loved ones. Jesus cares. Jesus loves. Jesus pray for us that we might know
how very much loved we really are.
Monica lived in northern Africa. She was given in marriage by her Christian
parents to Patricius, a pagan – both violent and immoral.
Not only was Monica’s heart broken many times by her husband, Monica’s
difficult mother-in- law lived with them. She is described by her own Grandson
as cantankerous.
Yet, after much patience and prayer from Monica, both Patricius and his Mother
were baptized as Christians.
Monica’s eldest son was a rebel-rouser and became influenced by contemporary
heretical teaching. Monica fasted and prayed for her son. She followed him to
Rome and then to Milan. Monica kept praying for her son, and on Easter in the
year 387, Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, baptized Augustine.
A Mother’s never-ceasing prayers for her son were blessed by God, giving
Augustine new direction and purpose for living. St. Augustine of Hippo became
one of the most prolific Christian writers and theologians of the 4 th and 5 th
centuries.

I know how it feels to be a recipient of a Mother’s prayer for her children.
I carry with me the snapshot of my Momma kneeling at her bedside praying for
those she loves. I cherish the image of my Momma praying with my Daddy at the
kitchen table.
I belong to my Momma. I carry her in my heart, as she carries me in her heart.
What love she has for me!
Like my Mom and so many other Moms, Jesus prays for his loved ones still. You
and I belong to Jesus. Jesus carries us in his heart, and we welcome Jesus living in
our hearts. What love God the Father and Jesus the Son has for us!
Oh, the work of ministry you and I can accomplish all because we belong to Jesus,
he prays for us, and we are so very, very loved.