Jesus prays to God for strength and unity among his disciples. He
knows that he is about to leave the world to return to the Father, so
he asks that his apostles receive the same gifts he had been given so
that they can continue his mission.
If the reader were to go through the whole chapter, he would notice the repetitiveness of
the message and intentions: “Father, my work is nearly done. Please be
with my friends; protect them and love them as you have loved me.”
It is a heartbreaking prayer for someone who knows his end is near.
And as he also knows what each of his disciples will endure in pursuit
of their vocation, he must have agonized even more. It is very human
to want bad things to happen to one’s self instead of watching loved
ones bear them. This very emphatic prayer gives us a glimpse of how
intimate the bond between Jesus and his apostles is. It is both
painful and beautiful: ultimately, he obeys his Father to be the
world’s Sacrificial Lamb.
In all of his divinity, Jesus could only do as much as suffer and die
for us. He cannot dictate upon our free will to ensure that we all
enter God’s kingdom. Thus, he repeatedly pleaded for God to understand
us, “to be one with us.”