The apostle John closes his gospel account by recording the very last discourse Jesus had with his disciples. John recounts the prayer Jesus prayed to the Father after revealing intimate insights to the disciples about sharing the life of God. He prays that they (and we) will know in fullness the joy of sharing his very life. Jesus relates that he has made known to them how he was sent from the Father, how he revealed the true nature of the Father, and how he has kept them in the Father’s name. He asks the Father to continue to keep them in his name as they embrace the full meaning of being loved completely as humans who share eternal life. It is noteworthy that his prayer is not about them behav- ing better or being more religious. He wants them to know what it’s like to be “loved humans.” The human experience proves that a focus on simply behaving better, though perhaps temporarily satisfying, does not transform anyone.
Jesus’ whole mission was not to make nice religious people out of his disciples, but to love them with the same love the Father has for him. Those who receive that love are radically transformed by it. Their very names are changed. The nature of the name he gives is that of a fully loved person—loved by God, sent by God, and given all things by God to do what God does on earth. The story of Peter is a prime example: the transformational love of Jesus transformed Simon, a coward focused on self-preservation, to Peter, a radical evangelist willing to suffer and die for the sake of the Gospel.