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Sermon by the Rev. Dr. George Hermanson, "."
Chapter 17 concludes the long, final speech of Jesus to his followers that began way back in Chapter 13:
- Verses 1-8 constitute the beginning of a prayer in which Jesus reiterates his relationship with, authority received from, and activities for God.
- Verses 9-19 are prayers on behalf of Jesus' followers.
- Verses 20-26 are prayers on behalf of those who will become followers.
As always with John, we must allow the circling repetition and non-sequiturs to be like the swirling eddies of a whirl pool. We don't try to manage them; try to make them line up; make them be sequential and logical. We relax in them; let them swirl around us; we soak in them; we let them become an environment in which we experience the true life that comes from Jesus.
John wants us the SEE Jesus, and to see Jesus is to see the one who sent him; is to see the glory of the one who sent him; is to see the honour / majesty / purpose / worth of the one who sent him; and not just sent him; but who is IN him.
This is eternal life. To see in Jesus the source of true life; the only true God. This revelation of glory, of the presence of God, is the work of Jesus.
Verse 6. Notice that those who belong to Jesus were NOT "converted" by him. They already belonged to God and God gave them to Jesus. The relationship is not created by Jesus. The relationship may be realized; may be enhanced; may grow; but it is not created - it is a given.
This is good news. It is the news that our relationship with God is given by God as the starting point, not an end point.
It is also hard news, because it means that WE do not get to choose who God is in relationship with; and that means that if we want to be in relationship with God, we must also be in relationship with those whom God has already chosen to be in relationship with - whether we like them or not; whether we agree with God's choices or not.