“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.” (Jn 17:6-8)
“And they have kept your word” The prayers of Jesus are rich. Sometimes even long. Some days I kind of think there might be a disconnect or something between how Jesus actually prays, and the way he tells others to pray, “keep them short” Matthew 6. But there isn’t. Jesus doesn’t says keep them short. He tells us not to think we will be heard for our many words. It doesn’t mean that our many words won’t be heard, but they will be heard by our Father in heaven for other reasons. They are heard because of this man praying for us right now in John chapter 17. They are heard because we have kept his word, that is we have received it, grabbed hold of it, let it sink into our hearts and capture our imagination, our thoughts and our souls. Jesus manifested the name of God to us, and so we kept his word, his logos. Name and Word, onama and logon (the genitive of Logos) are parallels here. Logos is to be distinguished from Raema. (Seriously, I was decidedly absent minded the day they taught us proper transliteration in Greek.) Raema would mean utterance or word, perhaps even proverb. Jesus uses this when he speaks of the words his father has given him. It was through these words that Jesus manifested the name and gave us the logos, the Word which we have kept. Like I said, name and word here are parallels. What Jesus means by logos here is something far different than just a proverb or a set of rules for proper living. To be sure those were given also. But that isn’t what he is speaking of here, because those don’t give life. His name and logos are life. To get an idea of this word that is kept we must go to John 1 again, and understand the Word that was with God and was God, and therefore is God. Same with the name of the Father. It isn’t merely a moniker that was made manifest, but the very being of God that lives in with and through Jesus the temple that was destroyed and built again in three days, and now dwells amongst us his people. As the name dwelt, that is lived and abided in the temple of Israel that Solomon built, now it lives, dwells and abides in us who are the body of Christ. This is the name that Jesus has made manifest among his disciples, and so makes manifest to us, and we receive this logos and keep it. Today this name is given to us in the waters of holy baptism. It becomes a part of us, we become a part of it as faith is given to us and through the daily use of his word and sacraments our faith grows and is share in love for one another.