I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy…. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. John 16:20 & 22.
Whereas the Gospel of Matthew dwells on the disciples inability to stay awake and watch while Jesus prayed, John gives us Jesus’ words. I feel like I’m reading them for the first time. He knew what was coming, but he put his trust in his Father and prayed even more fervently.
He prays for himself, no longer teaching to crowds, but asking for the courage to continue on his path.
I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. John 17:4-5
He prays for his disciples, those he knows personally.
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name you gave me – so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me…. I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them you word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. John 17:11-15
He prays for all believers, those who will hear but not see.
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me…. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 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. John 17:20-21, 25-26
It’s an incomprehensible love. A love that is made more acute in the face of a cross, a circlet of thorns piercing the skin, and the mocking by those he came to save. It’s impossible to return, but I want to ever more so. He understands the jeers we face, ostracism, physical pain. He also takes joy in small steps of faith and understanding, encouraging us to boldness. It’s a hard path to follow, but Easter can bring you back, especially after facing Good Friday.