After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
6”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. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for 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. 9I 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. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
11And 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.
There in the darkness of that last night, Jesus looks to heaven and he prays. Scripture often tells us that Jesus prays, but John (the author) here tells us what he said when he prayed. Of course, he is speaking aloud for the sake of the disciples gathered around, for he often prayed – communicated with the Father – without words. Here, he first acknowledges that the time has come – the time for him to be “glorified”. Now, what does it mean to “glorify”? We think of it as being like bringing out the winner of American Idol and everyone cheering and applauding, but that is not the idea. When Jesus speaks of being glorified, he is referring to revealing the presence of God. Jesus has revealed God’s presence already in the work he has done during his time on earth, in the word he has spoken and the signs he has performed. And now, in the trials to come, and in his return to the Father, to the glory he had with the Father in the beginning (look back to John 1), he will even more fully reveal God.
For those who can see the glory, who can see God in Christ, those who believe and follow him, Jesus has been given the authority to grant eternal life. And he explains here, eternal life is not the same as saying someone lives forever; eternal life means Knowing God, the Father, the only true God, and Jesus whom he has sent. That is a love that goes on forever. There are those whom Jesus loves, his disciples there with him now, and who love him; these are those whom Jesus says the Father has given him. They have received his words and know the truth, that Jesus came from the Father.
And then Jesus prays on behalf of those who love him – they are God’s, because all that is Jesus’ is also God’s. The relationship is close, intimate. And now, Jesus welcomes those who have loved him into this intimate relationship with God. The circle of relationship opens wide. Jesus is coming to the Father; he will no longer be in the world, but those whom he leaves behind will need the protection and help of the Father. They will need to be one – with each other, with Jesus, and with the Father.