When university professors are about to retire, they often give a “last lecture” where they answer the question: “What would you say to your students if you had only one last chance to teach them?” A good last lecture reveals the teacher’s deepest hopes for the knowledge they have tried to hand on to others. When the reason for the last lecture is terminal illness, it becomes an outpouring of the teacher’s love for others.
Chapter 14 to 16 of John’s Gospel is Jesus’s last lecture, and today’s passage from chapter 17 is its climax. It is Jesus’s prayer to the Father for his disciples and, later in the chapter, for us “who will believe in [him] through their word” (v. 20).To teach so that others may truly know God is to be drawn into the love of Christ who gave his heart that we all may be united in love with the Father in him. Click To Tweet
What Jesus desires to pour upon us from his heart is eternal life, which the Gospel writer describes as this: “that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ” (v. 3).
Good teachers understand that teaching is more than just giving facts. To teach so that others may truly know God is to be drawn into the love of Christ who gave his heart that we all may be united in love with the Father in him. If we have learned anything from Jesus’s last lecture, it is this: Love always comes first.