Jesus, the individual, and the world

This week’s gospel text is from the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus, the bridge between Jesus’ ministry and His Passion in John. I must admit I find the whole of John 17 a little confusing. But I think it does follow the texts the lectionary has given us for the last three weeks. It is a summary of what it means to “abide in Jesus”.

Jesus said:
“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

John 19:6-19

I am always struck by the distinction Jesus makes between the individual believer, who receives Jesus and the One who sent Him, and the world that stands against Jesus and His mission from the Father. In fact Jesus uses pretty tough language, “the world has hated them”.

Paul picks up some of the themes when he write to the people at Ephesus:

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone.

Ephesians 2:19-20

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