80. The Last Supper (4 of 5)
The Last Supper (4 of 5)…….THESE words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven,
Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition: that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them: that they may be one, even as we are one; I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.
Arise, let us go hence.
Scripture: John 17:1-11
Meditation 1 of 3:
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)
Scripture: John 17:12-19
Meditation 2 of 3:
Do you know what your aim or mission in life is? Jesus’ aim and mission was to glorify his heavenly Father. All he said and did gave glory to his Father. On the eve of his sacrifice and in the presence of his disciples, Jesus made his high priestly prayer: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that they may be one as we are one”. Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples. Jesus’ prayer for his people is that we be united with God the Father in his Son and through his Holy Spirit and be joined together, in unity with all who are members of Christ’s body. Jesus saw glory in the cross rather than shame. Obedience to his Father’s will was his glory. Jesus kept his Father’s word even when tempted to forgo the cross. His strength was not in himself but in his Father who kept him. We, too, must take up our cross and follow the Lord Jesus wherever he may call us. He will give us the strength and power of the Holy Spirit to live as his disciples. John Henry Newman wrote: “God has created me, to do him some definite service; he has committed some work to me which he has not committed to another. I have my mission– I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for nothing. Therefore, I will trust him. Whatever, wherever I am. I cannot be thrown away.” Do you trust in God and in his call for your life?
Jesus prayed that his disciples would be sanctified and consecrated in God’s truth and holiness. The scriptural word for consecration comes from the same Hebrew word which means holy or set apart for God. This word also means to be equipped with the qualities of mind and heart and character for such a task or service. Just as Jesus was called by the Father to serve in holiness and truth, so we, too, are called and equipped for the task of serving God in the world as his ambassadors. God’s truth frees us from ignorance and the deception of sin. It reveals to us God’s goodness, love, and wisdom. And it gives us a thirst for God’s holiness. The Holy Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, he transforms us by his purifying fire and changes us in the likeness of Christ. Is your life consecrated toGod?
“Lord, take my life and make it wholly pleasing to you. Sanctify me in your truth and guide me by your Holy Spirit that I may follow you faithfully wherever you lead.”
Scripture: John 17:20-26
Meditation 3 of 3:
Who is your brother and sister in Christ? On the eve of his sacrifice, when Jesus celebrated his last supper with his apostles, he prayed for their unity and for the unity of all who would believe in him and become his disciples. God desires unity for all of his people, for married couples, families, communities, and churches across every land and nation. Sadly division and strife is often the result of personal pride, sin, prejudice, and the failure to love, forgive, and reconcile. That is why prayer is so necessary, both for safeguarding unity and for healing and restoration wherever unity has been broken.
Jesus knew the weakness of his disciples, their competitive spirit to see who would rank first, their dislike for Samaritans and others who were not of their own company, and the fear that would scatter them and make them deny their Lord when Jesus’ enemies arrested him in the Garden of Gethsemani and nailed him to the cross on Calvary. John tells us that Jesus loved his own to the very end (John 13:1). Nothing could break nor diminish the love he had for them, not even betrayal and rejection. As disciples of Jesus we are called to love and lay down our lives for all who believe in him. If we are willing to die for our brothers and sisters in Christ, how much more should we strive to live in harmony, love, and unity with one another.
Jesus’ high priestly prayer at the last supper is directed towards all who will come after him and follow him as his disciples. In a special way Jesus prays here for us that as members of his body the church we would be united in one heart and mind as he and his Father are one. The unity of Jesus and his Father is a unity of mind and heart, mutual love and trust, honor and respect. Because Jesus loved us first and united us in baptism we are called to live in a unity of love. Jesus’ prayer on the eve of his sacrifice shows the great love and trust he has in his beloved disciples. He knows they would abandon him in his hour of trial, yet he entrusted to them the great task of spreading his name throughout the world and to the end of the ages. The Lord entrust us with the same mission – to make him known and loved by all. Jesus died and rose again that all might be one as he and the Father are one. Do you love and accept all baptized Christians as your brothers and sisters in Christ?
“Lord God, have mercy on your people and heal the divisions in the body of Christ. May all Christian people throughout the world attain the unity for which Jesus prayed on the eve of his sacrifice. Renew in us the power of the Spirit that we may be a sign of that unity and a means of its growth. Increase in us a fervent love for all our brothers and sisters in Christ.”