Text: John 17
Event(s): Jesus prays for Himself; Jesus prays for His disciples; Jesus prays for all believers
John 17:1 “Father…Glorify Your Son, that Your Son may also glorify You,” Jesus starts out His prayer with “Father” just as He had modeled to the disciples to do in what we now call the Lord’s prayer. In fact, listen closely. You’ll hear much of the Lord’s prayer echoed throughout this prayer in chapter 17.
To “glorify” in this context means to clothe in splendor. The only way this could happen was for Jesus to endure the Cross. Thus this petition—the only personal petition in this prayer—is a testimony to Jesus’ commitment to do the Father’s will, even to the point of dying on the cross. Prayer is not the way to get God to do our will in heaven. Prayer is the way to get man to do God’s will on earth.
John 17:4 “I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” Think of how amazing that will feel, to do and finish the work God gives us to do. This just made me think, before we ask God to add anything else to our plates, it may be a good idea to ask ourselves if we have finished (or at least can be found faithful in doing) what He’s already given us.
John 17:6 “I have manifested Your name” The word manifest here means “to shine forth”. It doesn’t mean to so much declaration as much as it does illustration. We can teach and speak the word, but the real question is, are we modeling it in our everyday lives. In our character, and through our choices. Jesus’ life and ministry was not just marked by what He said (declaration), but also by what He did (illustration).
John 17:8 “I have given to them the words…” There is the written word, logos, and the spoken word, rhema. Here, Jesus is referring to “rhema”. Jesus didn’t just teach, He also gave timely words that were meant for people “in the moment”. His words were Spirit and life (John 6:63).
John 17:20-26 “Jesus prays for all believers.” The oneness that Jesus requests is above all, a spiritual unity, which will be visible and draw people to Christ. This unity rests on adherence to God’s truth, and it reflects the unity that exists between the Father and the Son. The purpose of this unity is “that the world” might “believe” that the Father “sent” the Son, namely: that Jesus was God’s Son. The display of mutual love among Jesus’ disciples shows that we are His disciples. Our love for one another shows that we really do follow His teachings and possess His life.
Today’s Takeaway: Over and over I hear it emphasized in today’s passage: our oneness with each other flows from the oneness we experience with God. Jesus’ prayer in this passage is just beautiful and so moving. To place myself – yourself – in the context and to think He was praying for you and I in verses 20-26 is all the comfort we need. We are in His grip and nothing can separate us from His love.
Additional (optional) reading: 1 Corinthians 13:1-13