John 17 — Jesus at Prayer: A Divine Model
A Hebrew Catholic Perspective
One of the greatest privileges for the followers of Jesus Messiah is to read St John’s Gospel, chapter 17 slowly, pausing to reflect on the many images and phrases our Lord uses. It is usually referred to as his “high-priestly prayer”.
The entire Chapter is made up of the prayer of our Lord at the last Supper. It is the longest of his prayers ever recorded, and is sublime beyond description.
We recommend you read it often, and certainly at least once before proceeding on this web-pathway. Among the many things you will observe, it is worth noting that the structure corresponds to Leviticus 16: 17 according to which Aaron performed the ritual for himself, his family, and the whole community. Remember our Lord’s own words,
“Do not think I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets.
I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.” [Matthew 5: 17]
This is a very special moment which epitomises the fulfilment Jesus Messiah faithfully carried out. Let us note that this is a “prayer still in progress”. We await the Return of our Messiah to bring to completion the fulfilment He so earnestly desires.
For now let us observe the following:
1. Jesus affirms the Father as source and end of all glory, holiness and life.
2. Jesus presents himself as having honoured completely His Father’s will and thus achieved what he was sent to do, and seeks leave, as it were, to resume the position he had before the creation of the world.
3. Jesus also affirms his disciples to his Father, and presents them as worthy of God’s greatest gifts. He goes further of course, and extends his request to include all his followers down through the millennia so that all in due time may reflect the oneness and glory of God.
4. In his prayer, special prominence is given to the act of listening to both His words and His Father’s words and believing them that through their living faith, and obedience that the world may believe.
Remember, this prayer comes at the closing moments of our Lord’s teaching ministry. He has constantly throughout his ministry, taught his followers how to hear and understand what his Father gave him to say.
The infant Church, from its very beginning treasured the Lord’s spoken word and repeated and reflected on his teaching at every meeting. Always it relied on the promise of the Lord to send the Gift of the Holy Spirit upon the Church to enable it to understand what he had taught. The Church has ALWAYS interpreted our Lord’s teaching in His final discourses (John 14 — 17) as his great testimony to and affirmation of the Holy Spirit in the on-going life of the Church in the world.
Our Hebrew Catholic web-site attempts to present the unbroken tradition of The Church, Christ’s Body. This is our treasured heritage.
— our “pearl of great value”
— to listen to the words of Jesus Christ our Head, reflecting on their meaning, obeying as best we can. In this way we place our hope in our Lord’s closing words:
“I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Come Lord Jesus.