17:26 "And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Jesus declared the essence, the character, the person of God by His life. He is quickly heading toward His final declaration. Notice why He is doing it. "...that the love with which You loved Me may be in them..."
The life Jesus lived made it possible for the love of God to be experienced by the disciples. What kind of love was it? It certainly wasn't the kind that bubbles wrapped Jesus from all harm and trouble. One of the biggest criticisms leveled at God is that if He is so powerful and so loving why is there so much pain and suffering in the world?
The life of Jesus answers that question. The love and power of God were not used to shield Him from pain and suffering but rather to send Him headfirst into it. Think about it: Born under a death threat that lead to an indiscriminate killing spree. Forced to become a refugee in Egypt. Returns home after a regime change. All the while his father Joseph isn't really His father and everyone knows it. His mother is an assumed adulteress and He is a presumed bastard. He has siblings. We are not certain if they are older or younger but we do know they appear to be against Him. He is raised in Nazareth which by all accounts is the armpit (or worse) of the nation. His family is poor as evidenced by the meager offering of doves by his parents in the temple. This was the least amount that could be given as an offering and signified poverty.
That's just His childhood and growing up years. As an adult coming into the public spotlight He was railed against and literally followed by the religious leaders. They repeatedly tried to trick Him and twist His words and misrepresent Him, much like a political campaign these days only far worse. When those tactics failed they attempted to kill Him on several occasions. He was laughed at, argued with, and doubted by His own family, even His mother. They even tried to kill Him in His own home town. He never owned anything of significance and spent His three and a half years in ministry homeless.
All of this was the reward for being true and honest with everyone always. He had no skeletons to hide in His closet. There were no scandals to smear across the headlines. Every day He served, helped, healed, taught, and/or traveled to where He was needed next. His own 'loyal' disciples often questioned Him and sometimes flat out argued with Him. And we haven't even arrived at the cross yet...
Then Jesus prays "I have declared Your name and will declare it so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them..."
Excuse me? At first glance I would say that if the love of God in a person's life leads to that I'd rather go without...
All through John we have been talking about blindness, about not being able to see even when our eyes are open and looking. Love is perhaps our greatest blind spot. We see love as getting, as receiving, as happiness and roses. Our love stories always end with everyone happily riding off into a blissful life presumably filled with only good things.
Then we come to Remembrance Day/Memorial day and we pause to honour and remember heroes - men who crawled around in the mud in foreign countries on their bellies while bullets and bombs flew around like sparklers on a birthday cake. We honour them as heroes because they were willing to endure and in many cases die so that others could have what an enemy would love to steal from them.
You see human war is but a tiny representation of a much larger reality. There is a cosmic madman who has this world hostage. The constant turmoil we see and blame on God is only a result of our being in the clutches of an unseen enemy. We're in the darkness and don't even know it and fighting against the One who loves us enough to do something about it.
Jesus prayer ends with the plea of a dying Man seeking back up. Until now He has fought alone. The Twelve were with Him physically and certainly they loved Him but they were clueless as to His real mission. He had fought alone and His fight was soon over. He was praying that His last declaration of the love of His Father would ignite in them the desire to be last instead of first. That the flip would switch in their hearts and the love that lays everything down for the sake of others would grip them as it had gripped Him.
Greater love has no man than this, but to lay his life down for his friends.
All this time we thought love was getting when really it's giving. All this time we have kicked and screamed at an apparently absent and indifferent God because we aren't getting enough when the truth is that He has already given Everything. His prayer now is that we'll see and follow.
I would rather suffer than watch my children suffer so really in all of this Who is suffering the most? War is ugly but Love Wins!!!