After washing the disciples’ feet and sharing in the Passover meal, Jesus prays. He prays for himself, then he prays for his disciples, and lastly prays for all believers. This intercessory prayer is commonly called Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.
The high priest is a descendant of Aaron with the responsibility of interceding for Israel before God. Out of all the priests, only the high priest is allowed to enter to into the holiest place in the Temple (Holy of Holies) on one day of the year to to make sacrifices to temporarily cover the sins of the people. This Holy of Holies was blocked by a thick veil that separated it from the rest of the temple. The reason why we say Jesus is the High Priest is, because Jesus is the one who connects the Israelites (us) to God. He is the one who gets to go into the presence of God and make sacrifices to God. Jesus not only goes into the presence of God, and administers the sacrifice, but he is the ultimate sacrifice.
This prayer is different from the Lord’s prayer where Jesus teaches us how to pray. This is how Jesus himself prays. He is talking with God, and praying on behalf of his people. The first thing that strikes me is that we get a definition of what eternal life is. It’s different from what we thought it is. Eternal life is to know God and to know Jesus Christ. This “knowing” is not just about knowing facts, but experiencing the facts. We can say strawberries are sweet, and know it, but unless we taste it, we can’t truly know how sweet strawberries are. This “knowing” is the same word that is used to say that a husband would know his wife and vice versa. There is intimacy of relationship that encompasses physical and emotional. So eternal life is not just a timeline of living forever, but a state of being with God that is so intimate.
Jesus in this prayer shows over and over that he “knows” his Father. The Father is in the Son and he is in God. They are one. Jesus came to reveal God to us, and to glorify God. God also sends the Son and glorifies the Son. All God has is Jesus’s and vice versa. They were together from eternity and love each other. They are one. Jesus now extends that oneness to us. We can also “know” God and Jesus. We will be in Jesus and Jesus will be in us. That is amazing.
On Jesus’s last day before his death, he is praying for us that we can truly know God and know his love. He is still praying for us that we can be one with him.