The Gospel of John: a commentary & meditation 
"This is eternal life, that they know the Father the only true God"

Scripture: John 17:1-11

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, 2 since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. 4 I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do; 5 and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made. 6 "I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; 8 for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine; 10 all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast  given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

Meditation: In his Last Supper discourse Jesus speaks of his glory and the glory of his Father.  What is this glory?  It is the cross which Jesus speaks of here.  How does the cross reveal his glory?  In the cross God reveals the breadth of his great love for sinners and the power of redemption which cancels the debt of sin and reverses the curse of our condemnation.  Jesus gave his Father the supreme honor and glory through his obedience and willingness to go to the cross.  The greatest honor, trust, and love any person can give one's leader is through his obedience even to the point of sacrificing his own life.  In warfare the greatest honor belongs not to those who survive but to those who give the supreme sacrifice of their own lives for their fellow countrymen.  Jesus also speaks of the Father bringing glory to the Son through the great mystery of the Incarnation and Cross of Christ.  God the Father gave us his only begotten Son for our redemption and deliverance from slavery to sin and death.  There is no greater proof of God's love for each and every person on the face of the earth than the Cross of Jesus Christ.  In the cross we see a new way of love a love that is unconditional, sacrificial and generous beyond comprehension.

Jesus also speaks of eternal life.  What is eternal life?  It is more than simply endless time.  Science today looks for ways to extend the duration of life; but that doesn't necessarily make life better for us here.  Eternal life is qualitative more than quantitative.  To have eternal life is to have the life of God within us.  When we possess eternal life we experience here and now something of God's majesty, his peace, joy and love and the holiness which characterizes the life of God.  Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God. Jesus tells his disciples that they can know the only true God. Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally.  The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father.  Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like.  In Jesus we see the perfect love of God -- a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross.   Jesus is the revelation of God -- a God who loves us completely, unconditionally  and perfectly. Do you seek unity of heart, mind and will with God and unity of love and peace with your neighbor?

"If only I possessed the grace, good Jesus, to be utterly at one with you!  Amidst all the variety of worldly things around me, Lord, the only thing I crave is unity with you.  You are all my soul needs.  Unite, dear friend of my heart, this unique little soul of mine to your perfect goodness.  You are all mine; when shall I be yours?  Lord Jesus, my beloved, be the magnet of my heart; clasp, press, unite me for ever to your sacred heart.  You have made me for yourself; make me one with you.  Absorb this tiny drop of life into the ocean of goodness whence it came."  (Prayer of Francis de Sales, 1567-1622)


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(c) 1999,2001 Don Schwager