Thoughts for the Day

Sunday, 12th May 2024: Ascension Sunday 2024

High Priest John 17 Ascension Jesus Christ

Reading : Verses from John, Chapter 17

Jesus Ascension

Jesus said, ‘Father, I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost,so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.'

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


Today's passage from St John's Gospel is often called the High Priestly Prayer, because Jesus intercedes with God for his disciples. God instituted the office of High Priest when He gave the Law to Moses on Mount Sinai, and Aaron and his descendants were chosen to be priests. Their responsibility was to intercede with God for the people through prayer and incense. Thousands of years later Christians consider Jesus as their High Priest, who interceded for us by offering his life as a sacrifice for our sins, once for all time. He is the ultimate High Priest who continues today to pray for each one of us.

As we can see, Jesus has been trying to prepare his disciples for his coming death and resurrection, but they have spectacularly failed to understand him. He must now ascend to the Father to leave his work to be completed by eleven ordinary men. We might wonder if, as they have achieved little with him present, what could they possibly do without him? However, there are two things that will make a difference: Firstly, Jesus is leaving the future in God's hands; and secondly He will send the Holy Spirit to strengthen and guide his disciples!

Jesus prays, "that they may all be one.....that the world may believe that you sent me", and for those who will believe in him because of the disciples' teaching. Two thousand years ago God's Son prayed for the unity of all Christians. Perhaps today might be a good time to pray for our congregation and for the whole Church, that it might be one!


Lord Jesus Christ,
we pray today for our Church,
for congregations large and small,
and for all with whom we worship each week.
We pray for our ministers and clergy,
and for lay readers and pastors.
May we learn to grow stronger together,
through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look up this reading concerning Jesus as the Great High Priest:

Or this article:

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