It was the last night before Jesus’ death. By noon the next day he will be dying on a cross, the sins of the world weighing him down. He has been eating with his closest friends and students. Jesus uses this moment to pray one more prayer in front of his community, a prayer that no doubt taught them volumes. John 17 is that prayer.
What would your last public prayer be about?
When remembered in this context, I am always struck by how focused Jesus’ last prayer is on his disciples. When many of us might pray for ourselves — and for good reason; Jesus was about to be beaten, humiliated and murdered; wouldn’t it be normal to prayer for yourself? — Jesus is focused on his friends. This man filled with love is exuding that love even down to the end.
I’m praying for them. . . . I’m not in the world any longer, but they’re still in the world; I’m coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name. (17:9a, 11)