Jesus' High Priestly Prayer on the Eve of His Passion Reveals the Holy Trinity's Passionate Desire for the Salvation of Man.
During the Season of Lent Concordia will be meditating on Jesus' High Priestly Prayer on the Eve of His Passion. In Jesus' High Priestly Prayer on the Eve of His Passion we are admitted to the Heights of Heaven and the very Heart of the Holy Trinity. God the Son Incarnate prays to His Father concerning His Passion and its Blessing to men. Luther writes:
Among all the works of our Lord Christ, we should especially desire to know how He conducted Himself when He prayed and spoke with His dear Father. ... And, truly, it is an extraordinarily fervent and heartfelt prayer, in which He opens and pours forth all the depths of His heart to us and to His Father. ... If we could but see and ponder the man who is praying and the One who is being prayed to, and how great the matter is for which He prays, we would not esteem it as so worthless and insignificant, but mark and feel the super-abundance of power and comfort ... contained and conveyed in these simple words. (Martin Luther, Luther's Works, Vol. 69, pp. 14, 15.)
This Work of the Holy Trinity in Christ's Passion restores to men the Image of God and eternal life. Man lost the Image of God and perished when He rejected God in the Garden of Eden. God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who took counsel in the beginning to create man in His Image saying "Let us make man in Our Image", now takes counsel again in the Gospel to restore in fallen man the Image of God and give life eternal. Luther writes of the Gospel restoring in man the Image of God and, thereby, restoring to man eternal life:
In these words [St. John 17:3] He expresses the form and formation of eternal life. ... For since He has said that He has the power to grant eternal life, someone now might ask, ‘In what does eternal life consist, or how does it happen that we receive it?’ he answers that by saying, “It happens in this way, and by this means or in this manner they shall receive it: that ye know You, who alone are the true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” ... Concerning this knowledge and its power the prophets have spoken gloriously and clearly prophesied, as in Isaiah 53[:11]: “By knowledge of Him shall He (My Servant, the Righteous One) make many just or righteous.” This means: “He will redeem them from sins and snatch them from the devil’s jaws solely through this; that they know Him and who He is.” ... Likewise, Jeremiah 9[:23-24] says: “Let no one boast of his wisdom nor of his might nor of his riches” – in short, let no one boast at all – “but if anyone wants to boast, let him boast in this, that he knows Me and knows who I am: the Lord, who does good and establishes righteousness and justice on earth.” (Martin Luther, Luther's Works, Vol. 69, pp. 29, 35, 36, amplification in brackets added.)