It is possible to hear in Jesus’ high priestly prayer, a prayer he offered shortly before his death, the petitions of the ascended Lord for his own throughout history—to our day—and beyond. Jesus prays for us. In holy baptism we become believers in God, have our robes washed in the flood of Christ’s forgiveness, and receive the gift of life forever with all the saints.
First Reading: Acts 16:16-34
16One day, as we were going to the place of prayer, we met a slave-girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners a great deal of money by fortune-telling. 17While she followed Paul and us, she would cry out, “These men are slaves of the Most High God, who proclaim to you a way of salvation.” 18She kept doing this for many days. But Paul, very much annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I order you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.
19But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities. 20When they had brought them before the magistrates, they said, “These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews 21and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe.” 22The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates had them stripped of their clothing and ordered them to be beaten with rods. 23After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison and ordered the jailer to keep them securely. 24Following these instructions, he put them in the innermost cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was an earthquake, so violent that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were unfastened. 27When the jailer woke up and saw the prison doors wide open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, since he supposed that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted in a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29The jailer called for lights, and rushing in, he fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them outside and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31They answered, “Believe on the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32They spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33At the same hour of the night he took them and washed their wounds; then he and his entire family were baptized without delay. 34He brought them up into the house and set food before them; and he and his entire household rejoiced that he had become a believer in God.
Psalm: Psalm 97
1The Lord reigns; let the earth rejoice;
let the multitude of the isles be glad.
2Clouds and darkness surround the Lord,
righteousness and justice are the foundations of God’s throne.
3Fire goes before the Lord,
burning up enemies on every side.
4Lightnings light up the world;
the earth sees and trembles.
5The mountains melt like wax
before the Lord of all the earth.
6The heavens declare your righteousness, O Lord,
and all the peoples see your glory.
7Confounded be all who worship carved images and delight in false gods!
Bow down before the Lord, all you gods.
8Zion hears and is glad, and the cities of Judah rejoice,
because of your judgments, O Lord.
9For you are the Lord, most high over all the earth;
you are exalted far above all gods.
10You who love the Lord, hate evil!
God guards the lives of the saints and rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
11Light dawns for the righteous,
and joy for the honest of heart.
12Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous,
and give thanks to God’s holy name.
Second Reading: Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
12“See, I am coming soon; my reward is with me, to repay according to everyone’s work. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
14Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they will have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.
16“It is I, Jesus, who sent my angel to you with this testimony for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.”
17The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.”
And let everyone who hears say, “Come.”
And let everyone who is thirsty come.
Let anyone who wishes take the water of life as a gift.
20The one who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen.
Gospel: John 17:20-26
[Jesus prayed:] 20“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
25“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”