In today’s (chronological) Bible reading… John 14-17… we see that Thursday night before the cross from the apostle John’s unique perspective.
John records those words we hear so often at funerals in 14:1-14.
John records Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit in 14:15-31.
John describes Jesus describe Himself as the True Vine in 15:1-17.
John describes what Jesus had to say about the hatred of the world toward those who follow Him in 15:18–16:4a.
John records what Jesus had to say about the work of the Holy Spirit in 16:4b-15.
John records Jesus’ promise concerning the fact that sorrow will turn to joy in Him in 16:16-24.
John records Jesus’ incredible statement that – even though the cross was less than 24hours away – He had overcome the world in 16:25-33.
But, it is in ch.17, John records Jesus’ High Priestly prayer.
Imagine, so close to the cross and His death, yet His concern was for His followers and friends… and for us!
Jesus always looked out for His band of brothers. In these final hours before He would be arrested and sentenced to death on a cross, Jesus allowed the apostles – at least John – to overhear His prayer to His Father and His most personal and intimate thoughts. In these last moments, Jesus was talking and thinking about what matters most.
His words would encourage and inspire the apostles for the rest of their lives. he asked God the Father to protect the 11 apostles, but also all of His current and future followers from Satan’s followers from Satan’s harm and to continue to instill them with His truth.
Jesus’ knew things would only get tougher for Christians after He was gone. He knew their teaching and the growth of Christianity would go against the norm. He knew they would face opposition for standing up for their faith. And He knew they would need God’s help.
People who follow Jesus today still benefit from Jesus’ prayer as they face opposition… and, in some cases, persecution.
Faith is not a popularity contest. And, in times when our faith might make us unpopular, we can thank God for the strength and hope provided in this prayer.