John Chapter 17
It’s Saturday, and Christmas is only 6 days away! My heart is in the best place it’s ever been this season, thanks to the daily Bible study that I’ve devoted myself to with you guys. Today we are in John chapter 17.
Jesus is hours away from arrest, and has been speaking to his disciples before their separation. In this chapter, everything we read will be his prayers to God before heading to the cross. First he prays for God’s glory, then for his disciples, and finally for all believers.
As always, the chapter and it’s headings below was taken from the New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Jesus’ words are in red and my commentary/teaching is blue.
Let’s get into it!
Jesus Prays to Be Glorified
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
When Jesus asks the Father to glorify him, he is asking for the cross. To the world, crucifixion was shame and humiliation, but to God it was glory and victory. Jesus must be the only one in history that would ever ask for such a thing and we all are eternally blessed for it.
Eternal life is to know God the Father and His son. God bent down to Earth to offer us eternity, and it’s given freely. But it’s crucial that we don’t miss the half of the equation that is Jesus.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
Jesus revealed God to his believers. He didn’t merely tell them of who God was; He showed them.
“Protect” in verses 11 and 12 is better translated “keep”. Jesus prays that God would “keep” his disciples; that they would remain in faith through the hardship and trial they are sure to face.
In verse 12, a better translation would be “kept them faithful to” his name. He continuously pointed and directed them back to God. It was because of Jesus’ efforts to shepherd them, that they remained faithful. The only lost disciple was Judas, the one who will betray Jesus and turn him over to be killed. This was not out of God’s hands; it was all part of the prophecy to be fulfilled.
13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Here’s an idea that seems to oppose popular belief: God desires for us to be full of joy. He doesn’t want unhappy robot followers, but satisfied and joyous believers who delight in his goodness. And it’s an intimate relationship with God through grace that yields this unparalleled joy. It’s greater than the best feelings that this world can offer and its lasting.
Jesus says his disciples aren’t of this world. When we choose to follow Jesus, we become adopted children of God, and our home is His. The world becomes nothing more than a place we are passing through on our way home.
He uses this word “sanctify” which means to set apart as holy. His disciples will be sanctified by the word of God, while Jesus’ sanctification will be completed in his death and resurrection.
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you 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. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
Jesus’ desires for his followers are unity, residence in heaven, and relationship with God in love. And he asked the Father for these things on our behalf.
What an incredible chapter. To get to hear a prayer from Jesus to the Father is such an incredible thing. And it helps us shape the way we come to God in prayer as well.
I hope you’re all having an amazing weekend. Thanks for coming back around. I’ll see you tomorrow for chapter 18!