Jesus’ Prayer for his Disciples (chapter 17) – Joe G. Comments

1. What is the author’s main point in this passage? (MAIN POINT)

The underlying point of this passage is the divinity of Jesus. Historically, the Church has used such verses to testify to Jesus’ divine nature. As to what it means that Jesus is divine – that he is God incarnate or a divine being lesser status than God, for example, is another issue that I don’t believe it completely clarified here.

But, the point is that in this prayer Jesus explains that he was with God, the Father at creation. Because of this unique position that Jesus has with the Father, he intercedes for his followers and all those who follow in subsequent generations to understand that they are one with God just as Jesus is one with Him (God, the Father).

2. What new light do I find in this particular reading of this passage of the text? (NEW LIGHT)

The interconnectedness of the relationships: Jesus in one with the God, Jesus is one with his followers (including those who follow him after he is gone from the earth), and these followers are therefore one with God. Thus, although the relationship with Jesus and his Father is unique (at least before the time of creation), it now no longer is because of Jesus’ mission on earth. That was the whole point of the “mission”: the intimacy that Jesus claimed between himself and God was now available to all those who follow after.

3. Is this passage true to my experience? (TRUTH)

Hmm. I do experience an intimacy between God and myself. When I think of the Divine as a being in human form, I definitely think of Jesus. It’s almost automatic.

And now that I ponder it more, this intimacy, this direct contact with God is what early Friends espoused the most. I think, too, Christians in other denominations use ritual (I’m thinking of Communion here) to represent and help with this direct interaction or awareness of God in our lives.

Of course, there are many other ways to experience this, too: sometimes people experience this in the middle of the day while reflecting on God or while surrounded by the beauty of nature, etc.

4. What are the implications of this passage for my life? (IMPLICATIONS)

I never thought of Meeting for Worship as a form of Communion. I recently read a statement at Friends United Meeting that Communion for Friends was the waiting on God in silence.

Communion – a few definitions:

1. The act or an instance of sharing, as of thoughts or feelings.
2. Religious or spiritual fellowship.
3. A body of Christians with a common religious faith who practice the same rites; a denomination.
4. Communion Ecclesiastical.
a. The sacrament of the Eucharist received by a congregation.
b. The consecrated elements of the Eucharist.
c. The part of the Mass or a liturgy in which the Eucharist is received.

Now I wonder if that’s why the ritual of Communion is called Communion because of what the word “Communion” means – it’s an act of sharing, as in thoughts and feelings, with God and with each other.

5. What problems do I have with this passage? (PROBLEMS)

I realize that for some Christians, the only way, the exclusive way to God is via Jesus. But, I don’t believe this. And frankly, I don’t think one has to interpret this prayer by Jesus as implying or affirming this exclusivity.

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4 responses

  1. Good stuff. Especially the communion bit. I’m reminded of an Anglica priest and teacher I had once who remarked she thought as a Quaker I may not appreciate the Anglican liturgy. I todl her I tended to see M4W eucharistically. It seems paradoxical but as a Quake I find myself much closer to the high church understandings of worship than the low church ones.

  2. Hi Joe. Intersting stuff :-). I have a lot of interest in communion … can’t say I really understnad what it is supposed to mean for sure, but it’s about “the true presence” …Catholics believe that, at their deepest reality, but not in physical characteristics, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ when they are consecrated at Eucharist. After consecration, they are no longer bread and wine: They are the Body and Blood of Jesus. “As St. Thomas Aquinas observed, Christ is not quoted as saying, ‘This bread is my body,’ but ‘This is my body.'”

  3. Joe,I love your comments to this scripture. Two words in particular that you use that speak directly to my heart are intimacy and communion. Great words in the spritual sense, yes?I had to ask myself, do I feel a sense of communion in Meeting for Worship? Did I feel it when I used to partake The sacrament of the Eucharist? And my answer is no, I don’t – but I wish I did. Communion to me means that deeply intimate and personal sharing in which the feeling of being near or within God is so present, it is almost tangible.I feel the greatest sense of communion when conversing with my spiritual friends – sharing insights, reflections, questions, experience. In the silence between the words, between the times of sharing, I feel it then, too. But with my Meeting for Worship, we unfortunately just don’t go that deep. At least I don’t feel it there. Indeed, I feel more intimacy with my friends here, including you, than I do with Friends I meet with weekly. This form of worship sharing that we do here is a form of sweet intimacy – communion in which we speak honestly from the heart on matters that really touch our souls. God is everpresent to these conversations. Thank you Joe. I honor your presence here.

  4. Re communion unlike David I journeyed into Quakerism after many years in a liturgical church including serving “communion” weekly in several churches.That sort of thing has become less and less meaningful to me through the years. As of today, repeating what the longer time members of this group have read often, I call the Quaker sacrament:”Throughout Eternity I forgive you; you forgive me.As the dear Lord said, this the wine and this the bread.”I have taken part in Quaker “communions” where the bread was broken and passed around, each communicant acting as priest for the successive one. I find that much more meaningful than the performance of a professional priest.

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