May 29, 2022
Read the passage at the bottom of this post: John 17:20-26, The Message or John 17:20-26, The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV).
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Again, we have a small section from a much longer, more complex passage.
These verses re-iterate the central concern of John, the formation of an organic, complete, total, loyal relationship with Jesus / the community of his followers (now and in future generations) / his Father.
This fully devoted relationship is what John means by "love." It is by abiding in this love, sharing God's word and God's glory, and being completely one that outsiders may truly know / understand / realize that indeed Jesus was sent by the Father. And as verse 17:3 says:
And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
And again, I would repeat that while the exclusionary language of John is antithetical to the Good News of Jesus, the vision of the community that abides in the unity of God's love is to be lifted up as a challenge to all followers of Jesus. Will the world indeed see in us the love and glory of God?
Note: Historical background information is primarily from Bruce Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary on the Gospel of John, pages 108-115; and the writings of Amy-Jill Levine, et. al. See link below.
John 17:20-26 (NRSV)
20 "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one. As you, Father, 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. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
25 "Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
John 17:20-26 (The Message)
20 I'm praying not only for them
But also for those who will believe in me
Because of them and their witness about me.
21 The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
22 The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they'll be as unified and together as we are—
23 I in them and you in me.
Then they'll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you've sent me and loved them
In the same way you've loved me.
24 Father, I want those you gave me
To be with me, right where I am,
So they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me,
Having loved me Long before there ever was a world.
25 Righteous Father, the world has never known you,
But I have known you, and these disciples know
That you sent me on this mission.
26 I have made your very being known to them—
Who you are and what you do—
And continue to make it known,
So that your love for me
Might be in them
Exactly as I am in them."
Scripture quotations from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © by Eugene H. Peterson 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.
* Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Bruce J. Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social Science Commentary on ... The Synoptic Gospels; The Gospel of John; The Book of Acts; The Letters of Paul; The Book of Revelation; and others.
+ Link to Amazon.com Bibliography for Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, Jewish Annotated New Testament, The Bible With and Without Jesus, Short Stories by Jesus, Entering the Passion of Jesus, and others.