“Six Things”

John 17:1-11

June 1, 2014

the Rev. Todd R. Goddard, pastor

East Rochester & Zion West Walworth United Methodist Churches


John 17:1-11

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.


”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.




Our text for today is a hugely complicated construction

of Jesus’ prayer for his disciples.

It took place while he was with them in the upper room,

the place of foot washing

and covenant making over bread and wine.

Some scholars suggest this was Christ’s prayer of consecration.

He was consecrating his disciples

to take over after he was gone.


It is a prayer that must be appreciated slowly,

a word or two at a time.

This prayer tells us a number of things about Jesus.

And as a result, as modern day disciples of Jesus,

it tells us a lot about ourselves,

and our relationship to God.


First, Jesus glorifies the Father. (17:1,4)

The works of Jesus,

the teaching of Jesus,

the sacraments Jesus gave us-

all give glory to God.

All who Jesus was, is, and is to come,

points us in the direction of giving glory

to the God of our creation,

the God of Israel,

the God of the prophets,

the God known to us through Trinity.

Jesus, God, Father, and Holy Spirit

can and should be used interchangeably.

God’s glory is still creating.

God’s glory is still working through history.

And God’s glory is still sustaining us through these trying times.

In all that we say and do,

let us likewise give glory to God!


Secondly, Jesus wants his disciples to have eternal life. (17:2)

Jesus talks about eternal life a lot.

And he really wants us to have it.

Here he describes eternal life

as his disciples knowing God

as “the only true God.”

Therefore, if you know God,

eternal life has already been granted to you.

Eternal life is not the same as immortality-

it does not mean you never die.

Eternal life means we experience death;

and just as Jesus died,

so too will we die.

But it also means that we shall rise again from the dead,

just as Jesus did,

and spend eternity knowing God

in God’s heavenly kingdom.

Jesus longs for you,

invites you to accept,

eternal life for yourself

by knowing God as the only true God.


The work of Jesus began before the beginning of the world.

Jesus has been giving glory to God

since “before the world existed.” (17:5)

And, likewise, he will be giving glory to God

after time is comes to an end.

“What about those who lived before Jesus?

Did Christ come for them?” you ask.

Yes, Jesus affirms in our Gospel today,

Christ came for them.

“What about all those who never met Christ?

Buddhists, Islamic people, people of no faith?”

Yes, Jesus affirms, Christ came for them.

“How about those who have already died?”

Yes, Jesus affirms, Christ came for them.

“How about you and me?”

Yes, Jesus affirms, Christ came for you and for me.


Fourthly, God makes disciples. (17:6)

We may say “yes” to God’s invitation.

But we are a chosen people.

If your heart has been warmed

such that you have a desire to come to church,

you are chosen.

God chose you.

It has nothing to do with the will,

your will or mine.

There is nothing you or I can do

to make our selves disciples of God or Jesus.

It comes from God,

and God alone.

All we can do is accept God’s invitation

to become a disciple of Christ.

A life of faith means we surrender our will.

We submit our lives to God.

We accept God’s invitation.

We allow God to change our hearts.

We are open to God changing the hearts of others.


Jesus desires our safety. (17:11)

He doesn’t want his disciples to suffer,

to be divided,

or to be hurt.

He doesn’t want disease or illness

to limit our witness. 

Jesus desires our protection,

so that, we may be one.

Divine protection brings unity.

God broods over us like a loving parent;

constantly returning strays to the nest,

nourishing us,

filling us with all we need.

Too often I see us putting our own safety at risk,

which is contrary to God’s will.

We don’t lead lifestyles that are healthy-

we over eat, smoke, and misuse alcohol or drugs.

We don’t listen to the doctor,

we fail to exercise,

we engage in dangerous activities.

Then, so often, we lay blame at God’s feet-

We feel like we’re being punished.

This isn’t the case.

Know that Jesus desires our safety.


Jesus wants us to be united. (17:11)

It is more important for us to be united,

than for any one of us to exert our will.

There are many times in life

where our will is not that of the church,

our family,

our job,

our neighborhood,

or our society.

The unity Jesus desires

is one that requires us to give up our own will,

take upon ourselves the will of God.

Doing God’s will unites us with God and each other.

When we all live by God’s will,

we are united.

We acknowledge the fact that God is working through others.

We cleanse ourselves of all divisions, brokenness, and pain.


Today, Jesus is praying for you!

He is praying for you, and in doing so,

he gives glory to the Father.

He is praying for you, and in doing so,

 invites you to accept eternal life with the Father.

He is praying for you, and in doing so,

will pray for you throughout eternity.

He is praying for you, and in doing so,

invites you to claim God’s invitation to become a disciple.

Jesus is praying for you, and in doing so,

He prays for your safety.

Jesus is praying for you, and in doing so,

He wants us to be united- with himself and with one another.


Today, Jesus is praying for you!

So, what are you going to do about it?