September 20, 2021

Jesus Farewell Prayer for his People 16-05-2021

16th May 2021 Seventh Sunday of Easter
Title: Jesus’ Farewell Prayer for His People
(Scripture Readings: Psalm1; John 17:6-19)
By Heeyoung Lim
We live on earth, which is God’s creation and a gift from God, but India COVID-19 crisis, violence by Myanmar coup, serious conflict between the Israeli Army and Palestinian militants, and many kinds of problems and sufferings are continued in the world. For instance, the airstrikes by both sides continued to kill civilians including children, it raised alarm across the world. I expect that we can pray together for our sisters and brothers who are facing violence and conflict in the Middle East, and I hope God of the nations will give to all people the blessings of well-being, peace, freedom, harmony, and unity.
Psalm1 described God-blessed life. The godly does not walk in the counsel of the wicked; the righteous person does not stand in the way of sinners, and the person does not sit in the seat of mockers. In the text, the delight of the godly is in the law of the LORD, the person who knows genuine joy reads and meditates God’s Word day and night. (1-2) The person who delights in God’s law will be like a tree planted by streams of water. The godly are abundantly blessed because they are deeply rooted in God’s Word.
Verse 6 summarizes the two ways in life; the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. The Lord watches over the way of the righteous, which means that the Lord has a personal relationship with the godly and is involved with them to guide, protect, and bless them. Blessed are the righteous who do not participate in the deceptions and defilements of this world and who internalize God’s Word. Psalm 1 invites us into the blessed life through God’s words. I hope we will be satisfied in the Lord and will be like a tree that yields its fruit in season. The joy and transformation through God’s Word are also seen in Jesus’ farewell prayer from the gospel of John.
John 17 verses 6 -19 focuses on Jesus’ concerns for the disciples. This passage is a part of the ‘High Priestly Prayer’ that Jesus offers up in his role as mediator between God and humanity. But Jesus is not portrayed in a priestly role in today’s text, this prayer shows the proximity of the end of Jesus’ ministry. It seems that Jesus is wrapping up his ministry by telling God what will be needed as the disciples move forward.
The first act of the Son was to tell disciples and show them what the Father is like. The disciples heard about God and his plan through the Son. Jesus identified his task in the world to His disciples.
Jesus prayed for His disciples; this prayer focuses on those believers God has given Him. In verse 10 Jesus says that glory has come to me through them. In Jesus’ prayer His disciples and believers represent the glory of the Son of God even though they are sinning human beings. In verse 13 Jesus said, “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world.” Jesus has come from God, and he is returning to God. This is Jesus’ farewell prayer for His disciples and us. In praying for them, Jesus entrusted His people to the Father when Jesus prepares to depart from the world.
God watch over Christ’s people who live in the world though they are not of the world. He wanted us as Jesus’ followers to be kept from evil; Jesus was asking the Father to preserve His people from the tricks and traps of the world. Living in the world does not mean being part of the world. The disciples were able to go into the world because they were not of the world. We are also not of the world; we are God’s people who belong to God the Creator, and through faith in Christ, we have become children of God. We are gifts from the Father to the Son and relate to Him by faith. For Christians who have faith and obedience, infiltration is a better strategy than isolation in the world. I hope we can all be God’s instruments to change the world in accordance with God’s will.
Jesus told his followers that they should be one in this world. Jesus said that they may be one, as we are one. Jesus wanted us to be one in our communities and witnesses to the world. There is no excuse for Christians not to passionately and newly work towards the unity Jesus prayed for, even though unity cannot be forced in any relationships. As we know being the same is not the basis of unity. Unity does not mean uniformity or a single standard, it is based on peace and love. We do not need to wait for someone else to make peace, we can be the first to try for reconciliation with love as a peacemaker. It will be a necessary process for us to be one in Christ.
The Father sent the Son into the world and now the Son was sending the believers into the world. (18) Jesus is praying that God protect for the disciples with the loving care that Jesus himself has received; this is God’s paternal care that will not leave us but prevents us everywhere. Jesus prayed for their protection and sanctification. Jesus wanted us to sanctify by the truth which is God’s word. God gave us the living words and opportunities to sanctify. The meaning of sanctification is that of being set apart for God’s special purpose rather than just doing of good deeds or pretending to be holy. Jesus prays for the disciples to be “set apart” when they live in the world, since they do not belong to the world. It is not a way of being taken out of the world but being sent into it. Jesus prays that his followers will be sanctified so that they may be witnesses of the Lord and bring the good news to the world.
Realistically, true peace and reconciliation are necessary between individuals and nations with conflict and violence. Prayerfully I hope the newly faced COVID risks in India, violence and tragedy in Myanmar coup, and the serious conflict between Israel and Palestine will disappear.
We live in a world where human dignity is tremendously broken, but hopefully the peace of the Lord will be upon all the people and relationships. We are called to love. In our faith we promise to respect the dignity of every human being. We share our love and praise of God with others and invite them to believe in Jesus with us. We are also sent by Jesus to transform this darkness and sadness of the world by being His witnesses and spreading the gospel to the world in faith and life.
How can our church be more faithful to Jesus’ demands? A sense of Christ’s presence that will allow us to live more faithfully in the world will influence us to be transformed and energized by the truth of God’s word. I believe that God will lead us to an act of dedication as Jesus has dedicated himself to God’s work. I hope we can trust God’s protection for our spiritual and physical life all the time and I pray that we can fulfill God’s will for the church by working to keep its unity. I expect that we can be the godly and peacemakers for the kingdom of God and disciples and leaders for the transformation of the world by our prayers, sanctification, and love.
If we are one in Jesus, there can be no reason why we may not be one in our lives and communities. I believe that unity and harmony in the church serve as a witness to the world. I hope that we can try to make a beautiful community and the world that pleases God by love, unity, and sanctification remembering Jesus’ farewell prayer.
Thanks be to God. Amen.
(Ref. Bible, commentaries, theological books, UCA materials)