Over the last two weeks my oldest son has started swimming lessons. The last two years he has done a “mommy and me” class at the local YMCA that really is meant to get the kids used to being in the water. But this year, he is taking the big step of being in the water without us.
The place we are doing it is pretty cool. It is an indoor pool with a “viewing gallery” of sorts where parents can watch their kids but not be in the room. We did our research, spent time figuring out which class he would be in, then paid our money. The thing is, we would have never agreed to this if two conditions were not met:
- The pool was ready to teach three year olds to swim
- The three year-old was ready to learn.
The thing is, before we let our firstborn head into the water without us, we wanted to make sure that those in charge knew he was ready and we also knew he would be taken care of.
Because, as Allen said so well yesterday – we need to let our kids go at some points so they can learn and grow.
I am so thankful that John added Jesus’ prayer in chapter 17 to give us a little insight on what kind of communication was going on between Jesus and his father. We get a glimpse of the inmate nature of their relationship as Jesus reflects what is important to him in the waining hours of his life.
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.”
Jesus seems to be straightforward with his father on this –
These are my kids, and I love them. Take care of them because they are precious to me.
These disciples had left everything behind for the sake of his name. They set themselves against the powers of the world by associating with him and he knew they had a really difficult road ahead. And, he knew they had to travel this road without him.
In these final moments, Jesus wanted to be sure that God would protect them and give them strength in his absence. He knew they were ready. But, he also knew they would fail if God wasn’t with them.
Did Jesus really have to pray this prayer for God to be with them? Probably not. I think God would have taken care of these disciples no matter what. In fact, I would argue it sounds a little silly for Jesus to ask God to protect his disciples. Of course he would!
But, it does give you a glimpse into the intense fatherly love Christ had for his followers. He would even look a little foolish praying to God what he already knew would happen to get across how much he wanted his disciples to flourish in his name.
If you read forward in the chapter, he extends his prayers to us. He knew what we would go through and face to follow him. And, I would add that he feels as intensely about us as he did the original 12 disciples.
Let this be an encouragement to you today. You are loved, trusted, and covered. Jesus ascended to heaven because he knew you could handle it. He left us the Holy Spirit to guide so that there would be no doubt who the savior of the world really is.
Peace be with you today.