Friday of Easter VII – John 17:20-26

20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

I know a colleague who once found himself standing in a room full of important people. He was there at the invitation of one of them whom he knew. But my colleague did not know him well. The man had been to church a few times, usually sat in the back, but it was his wife who was a member of the parish. The man had asked my colleague to offer an opening prayer for a gathering upon the man’s retirement. He was shocked when this man took the podium and started heaping praise on someone who meant a great deal to him and then said, with his hand extended to my colleague, “so let me introduce you to my pastor.” He said he had the urge to turn around and look behind him because this fellow surely was talking about someone else. He hardly knew this man. He had only been in church a couple of times.

What did he did not know was that this fellow had been downloading his sermons for years and had even formed an informal study group with his own colleagues to read and consider those sermons. This man had come to know my colleague rather well through reading his sermons. It was why the man had invited him there that day, to introduce him to all his friends. Jesus says he is praying not only for the dozen disciples who are gathered around him that day, but he is praying for you. That can be hard to grasp, but it is true. He prays for your unity with Him, just as the Father and Jesus have an unfathomable, personal union, Jesus is praying for that with you. He wants you to know that same love which the Father has for Jesus. He wants you to see His eternal glory. You cannot really hide in some faceless mass of humanity here, imagining that this is some platitude which is applied to all but not personally. Jesus is God. He doesn’t traffic in such platitudes. He means this personally, for every human, one at a time. He really is thinking of you, praying for you here.

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