You gave him authority . . . so that your son may give eternal life.

As the Easter season draws to its conclusion and we prepare for Pentecost, we hear Jesus’ prayer to his Father on the night before he died. It’s a fitting end to the season, as it reveals Jesus’ concern not only for his disciples but for all of us. He knew he would no longer be with us in the flesh, so he prayed that God would protect us until we received the indwelling Holy Spirit. So for Jesus, and for us, this is not the end of the story but the beginning of a marvelous new chapter.

There is a beautiful and striking line in today’s passage that tells us about this new chapter. Speaking about himself, Jesus prays to his Father, “You gave him authority over all people, so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him” (John 17:2). Here, in one sentence, is Jesus’ entire purpose in becoming a man: all the authority God had given him was so that he could bring us to eternal life. This same mission, in fact, lies behind the gift of the Holy Spirit. Just as God sent his Son to give us eternal life, the Holy Spirit empowers the apostles and all believers to receive that gift of eternal life and to share it with the whole world.

You are part of Jesus’ story. A little further in his prayer, Jesus told his Father, “They accepted [the words you gave to me] and . . . have believed that you sent me” (John 17:8). That’s you! You have heard the word of God, and the Holy Spirit has ignited the flame of faith in your heart. Along with the apostles, as well as every saint who has come before us, you can proclaim, I believe in you, Jesus! I believe that you have come from the Father.

As you prepare for Pentecost, invite the Holy Spirit to come into your life more fully. Ask him to strengthen your faith. Ask him to help you take hold of the gift of eternal life. Finally, ask him to empower you to share that gift with the people around you. You are part of Jesus’ story, and that means his mission is your mission!

“Jesus, I believe in you and your authority. Holy Spirit, help me share my faith with someone I meet today.”

Acts 20:17-27
Psalm 68:10-11, 20-21
John 17:1-11


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