Today, I am reading and commenting on John 17-18.
I really want to comment on Jesus’ prayer which John recounts here, but every time I start a chain of thought I get distracted and lose my train of thought (which I always take as an indication that God wanted me to go in a different direction). One of the key elements to this prayer is when Jesus states that this prayer is not just for and about the disciples who were there with Him, but for everyone who would believe in Him through their message, which includes us if we truly believe. I am going to touch on two other points among the many which Jesus makes in this prayer. Jesus prays that the world will hate us because we do not belong to it. Further, He does not pray for us to be taken out of the world, or even for our safety as the world understands it. He prays that we be kept safe from the evil one. This safety will be accomplished by our holding to God’s word. Jesus also prays that we will be one as He and the Father are one. That unity is accomplished by being in the Father and the Spirit being in us. It is worth noting that while Judas was not present when Jesus prayed this, those present would have considered him one of them at this time.
Once again there are a lot of things in this passage which can be explored. Today the only other thing I am going to look at is John’s account of Jesus’ trial before Pilate. One thing I never noticed before in this account is that those who brought Jesus to Pilate for trial never specified charges against Him. Even when Pilate asks them the charge they just say that He is a criminal who must be executed. Pilate assumes, correctly, that the charge is sedition, claiming political power not derived from Rome, but when he asks Jesus about this, Jesus’ response confuses him and he asks why the Jewish leaders brought Him to Pilate. At which point Jesus says that His Kingdom is not of this world, which is why His followers do not fight for political power. Pilate seizes on this to ask Jesus if that means that He is a king. The first sentence of Jesus’ answer contains a double meaning. The first is that He is not challenging Rome’s political or military power. The second meaning to His answer is that “king” is the closest word we have to describing what Jesus is.
However, the rest of Jesus’ answer is why I wanted to go over Jesus’ trial. The most important part of Jesus’ answer here, where he offers Pilate an opportunity to step out of the role which history gave him, is when He says that He came to speak the truth and that those who love the truth will listen to Him. Pilate hears the offer, but rejects it when he asks “What is truth?” When he says that Pilate is rejecting the idea that there is such a thing as truth. I could easily see Pilate saying, “The truth is different for different people.”