High Priest Prayer.
If anyone ask you what is the greatest prayer of Jesus recorded in the gospels, you can tell that it is the High Priest Prayer recorded in the 17th chapter verses 1-26 of the gospel of St. John In this prayer Jesus opened his heart to God the Father. It is known as the High Priest Prayer for two reasons. First, it is similar to the prayers of the priests and leaders of Israel ( Deuteronomy chap. 32&33). Secondly, this includes the nature of intercessory prayers. Jesus prayed for himself in very few words and set aside the rest to intercede for others. The priest is the one who stands between God and man. Here, Jesus, the eternal priest and the only mediater, intercedes for the desciples and the believers (17: 9-26).
The book of Leviticus (16: 1-34) describes the order in which Aaron offered prayers and sacrifices. Verses 17 says ” Thus, he(Aaron) has made atonement for himself and for his house and for all the assembly of Israel”. The same order is seen in Jesus’ prayer. ie, Jesus prayer for himself (17: 1-8) prayer for the desciples (17:9-19) and prayer for the believers (17:20-26).During this new testament era, by the apostolic authority, the priests of Episcopal Churches (Orthodox) also followed this order. Because they stand inplace of Jesus in the church and intercede for all creations.
When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour has come; glorify your son that son may glorify you (17:1) Here we find the purpose and features of Jesus’ prayer. The main features are: First, Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and prayed. Second, He called and prayed, ‘Father’. It signifies the best relatiknship with God the Father. In St. Luke chapt. 11 verse 2, One of his desciples said to Jesus, Lord teach us to pray, as John also taught his desciples. Jesus said to them when you pray, say, Our Father who art in heaven…….. Thirdly, Jesus’ prayer was a prayer that glorified God. He glorified God by doing God’s will.My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work (St. John 4:34). In the last hours of Jesus’ earthly life, he longs for delivarence from sufferings, but entrusts himself into the hands of God, so that the will of God may be accomplished in him. Fourth, Jesus prays that he may be glorified. Jesus was with God before the creation and was in the glory of God (17:5). In the fullness of time, to give back to man the glory he had lost in the garden of Edan, Jesus gave up his glory and became man. Here he prays to God to restore this glory. Jesus knows the glory is restored only through the sufferings, death and resurrection (God’s will) that he went through. This was told to two desciples who were on their way to Emmaus. ” Was it not necessary that the christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory (St. Luke 24:25).
My beloved ones,
Humans are called to endure this sufferings, death, and ressurection with Jesus and to enter into glory. So suffering is a part of the christian life. Those who carry this cross and travel with him to the summit of suffering enter into glory.
May God Bless.