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The prayer of Jesus in John 17
The prayer of Jesus in John 17

This morning we are going to take a look at a very special prayer that Jesus offered up to the Father several hours before his arrest.

-During his time here on earth Jesus prayed a lot, constantly speaking with His Father, God the Father. Such is a reminder to us of the importance of regular prayer in our lives! We are to take everything on our minds to God in prayer.
-While the details of most of Jesus' prayers are not recorded for us (and when they are, his recorded prayers are rather short), the prayer of Jesus in John 17 is a standout

In John 17, which is a long prayer, Jesus prays for Himself, for the Disciples, and for those who would believe in him (that's us)

The lynchpin to Jesus' prayer in John 17 is his disciples finally getting who Jesus was - as recorded in John 16

In John 16 Jesus tells his disciples that he is about to return to the Father -and then after a little while he will return. As for His going the disciples ought not to be upset, for it was for their benefit-- for in going, Jesus would then send the Holy Spirit to indwell, teach, empower, and help them. Jesus' words confused some of his disciples and so He explains some more what he means as it regards his leaving them and then one day returning. Finally the proverbial lights go on for the disciples, leading them to say in v.29ff "Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone to ask you questions. This makes us believes that you came from God!" In response to this Jesus says "You believe at last!" v.31 About 30 seconds after this Jesus begins to pray the prayer of John 17.

Please turn with me to John 17 and let's read it together

A LOOK AT JESUS' PRAYER

A. JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF v.1-5

Note the intimacy of Jesus' praye
r-- "He lifted up his eyes to Heaven".

-This is not the posture we generally take when it comes to pray, and yet for Jesus, who said "If you've seen me, you've seen the Father", he lifts up his eyes to Heaven and speaks to the Father with boldness and confidence.

At the heart of Jesus' prayer GLORY IS ON JESUS' MIND-- THE FATHER'S GLORY, HIS GLORY

Consider Jesus' words in v.1 "Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you" v.1 See also v.5 wherein Jesus says; "and now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."

By these words we are reminded yet again that Jesus is God and that in coming to earth He had temporarily set aside His radiant and heavenly glory. (This glory that He revealed on the Mount of Transfiguration and of which Philippians 2 expounds).

By these words we are also taken back to how the Gospel of John begins. In John 1:14 it says "The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth."


On the theme of GLORY note how in v.4 Jesus says "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do"

Note what Jesus is saying: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! I'm ready to come home!

How did Jesus bring glory, praise, and honor to the Father?

-Jesus brought glory to the Father by His perfect obedience - "I have come not to do my will but the will of the one who sent me"
-Jesus brought glory to the Father by revealing the Father to those to whom the Father had given him (the Disciples) "If seen me, you've seen the Father." "I and the Father are one"
-Jesus brought glory to the Father by revealing the Father's holiness and perfect character
-Jesus brought glory to the Father by displaying the Father's love, tenderness, care, and grace
-Jesus brought glory to the Father by showing forth the power and authority of the Father (power of sickness, sin, nature, evil spirits, death)
-Jesus brought glory to the Father by teaching and speaking everything the Father commanded him to say
-Jesus brought glory to the Father by perfectly keeping and fulfilling the LAW "I have not come to abolish the Law but to fulfill it" Matthew 5:17
-Jesus brought glory to the Father by calling the disciples to himself, giving eternal life to them, and convincing them that He had come down from Heaven and was the Messiah and promised Savior. Note how eternal life is defined in v.3

Application: GOD'S GLORY is to be the focus of our life as the followers of Christ.

We bring glory to God when we obey Him, when we forgive, when we serve in His name, when we tell others about Christ, when we give Him the praise and thanks He deserves, in our worship, when we walk together in unity, when we persevere and hold on to our faith in good and tough times.

Colossians 3:17 says; "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."

B. JESUS PRAYS FOR HIS DISCIPLES v.6-20

When Jesus prayed for himself, He had His and the Father's glory in mind. In the second part of his prayer, he prays for his current disciples - who he speaks of knowing with certainty that he had come down from Heaven from the Father; here's what was on his mind....

1. There preservation in the faith--that they would stand firm in it
2. There protection from Satan's attacks
3. There sticking together in unity and love
4. There ongoing sanctification

As for their preservation in the faith, note v.11

"Protect them by the power of your name- the name you gave me" v.11 The name is Jesus which means Savior. Jesus came to save us from our sins-- this is what he does.

"While I was them, I protected them and kept them safe by the name you gave me. None has been lost except...." v.12 (also connects to John 6:39 which says; "And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day."

The promise of Christ is that he will lose none of those the Father has given Him. He who began a good work will carry it on to the day of completion.

Our job: Persevere. Stand firm. Hold fast. Carry on.

Further: There is power in the name of Jesus

-we to pray in the name of Jesus
-the disciples cast out demons in his name
-the demons tremble at his name

Closely connected with Jesus' prayer for his disciples preservation in the faith is his prayer for their protection from Satan's attacks v.15

"Protect them from the evil one"

Comment

Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We are his sheep. He prays for us a hedge of protection. We have an enemy. There is one who wishes to scatter us, divide us, and devour and destroy us-- that is Satan, the Devil. He is our enemy. By a variety of means he works: persecution, hardship, trials and temptations. In all respects, his aim is to destroy, deceive, and kill.

For our protection God has given us His Word, the Holy Spirit (who seals and indwells us, guaranteeing to us that Heaven is our home), His Presence. He also sends His angels. He at times causes those around us to show us His favor. Most often we are unaware of how He has cared for us.
It is impossible for Satan to upend the work of Christ-- for it is Christ's kingdom which is the triumphant one. In Matthew 16:18 Jesus says to Peter; "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.


Jesus and his prayer for the ongoing sanctification of his disciples v.17-19-- a call to holiness

Along with the call of Christ to believe in Him and to come to him for the forgiveness of our sins, comes a call to holiness. This is what sanctification is all about.

Sanctification is complete in Christ (for his holiness is credited to us when we become Christians) but it also involves a process in the here and now-- for all to often we are hearts set on what is wrong and sinful in the sight of God.

The key to growing in holiness is the Word of God.

The Word of God tells us what is right and wrong in the sight of God. As ones who are beneficiaries of the grace and mercy of Christ, we are to have a heart that says "I'm going to say Yes to God and no to my flesh"

If we are to be holy, we must not live as those around us.

Those around us curse, swear, lie, cheat, steal, worship a plethora of false gods, do drugs, get drunk, get high, have sex outside of marriage, think its ok to have an abortion, think its ok for men to be with men and women to be with women, think its ok for doctors to prescribe drugs to end your life if you are suffering, find nothing wrong with steamy movies, magazines and books, etc, etc.

You and I are tempted every day to "lower our standards" and to "join in", "be normal", "not rock the boat". We are tempted every day to give in the lusts of our flesh, the voices of the culture, the temptations of Satan.

We are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The agent: The Word of God and the indwelling Spirit.

The aim of Christ is to fit and prepare us for Heaven. We need to cooperate with God and pursue holiness-- which means saying NO to ourselves, Satan, and the world, and YES to God.

C. JESUS PRAYED FOR US-- HIS FUTURE DISCIPLES AND FOLLOWERS v.20-26

Amongst other things, Jesus prays for what what has always been a big issue for His church: Our UNITY READ V.20-24

When Jesus was on the earth, His disciples didn't always get along-- they squabbled at times about who was the greatest, they jockeyed for position, etc

In order for Jesus' name to be rightly praised, its of the utmost importance that we learn to love one another and stand together in Christ.

As it regards unity Ephesians 4:1-5 says; "As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

Things to be on guard against/things that divide

Our pride, our sinfulness, our selfishness, our emphasis on externals, our judgmental natures, our failure to forgive, our holding grudges, our failure to serve together, our inattention to the Word of God.

Christ's call: Stand together, go into all the world together and preach the Gospel, serve together, forgive, pursue holiness, love one another (They will know we are Christians by our love).

We are to be peacemakers. We are to promote unity (but not at the cost of the truths of God's Word and orthodoxy). Those who divide are to be warned and then if they continue in dividing, they are to be cast out.

Important point: Christian unity is not the same as uniformity.

We are not meant to dress, talk, or always act the same. The body of Christ is a diverse one made up of different skin tones, 2 genders, different levels of education, different styles, some variance in belief (i.e about worship style, and other minor differences as it regards some points of Bible interpretation).

However, we are to love one another. The message we share is to be exactly the same: Salvation is in Jesus alone. It is by grace and not by works. One needs Jesus because their is a judgment day that is coming. In Christ alone there is forgiveness and peace with God. Jesus is God. He rose from the dead. He's alive

APPLICATION: Are you at odds with someone? Are you struggling with forgiveness? Do you have a "long memory" and tend to hold a grudge?

Forgive as you have been forgiven. Confess your sin. Ask Christ to fill you with love and patience. Be reconciled. Walk and serve together. Do so and glory will be brought to Christ-- for the world will see and wonder, why is that-- and the answer is Jesus.


CONCLUSION

This morning we've considered the longest recorded prayer of Jesus-- coming on the heels of his disciples finally understanding who He is.

3 fold prayer

Jesus prayed for himself-- looking forward to going back to Heaven to receive the glory he had before the world was created.

-one day we shall see Christ in all his Divine glory.

Jesus prayed for his disciples-- that they would stand firm in the faith, for their protection from Satan's attacks and that they would grow in holiness

Jesus prayed for us-- those who would believe. His chief concern being that we walk together in love and unity. As it regards this we must be vigilant and be found making every effort to keep the bond of peace.