John 17 is a prayer Jesus is praying to God the Father before he goes to the cross. It is a beautiful prayer expressing his deep love for not only his disciples, but for all believers. Jesus, Son of God, King of kings, Messiah – that Jesus cares enough about me to pray for me. I don’t even have words. I’m overwhelmed.
I got a text this morning sharing that a friend of a friend’s teenage son died last night in the hands of heroin. My reaction to typing those words is the same as it was when I read the text for the first time – instant tears. Then prayer. My heart broke for this family where the dad is a pastor of a local church. Tragedy can happen to anyone. I realized it could be my family. My heart went out to this family I have never met and I pleaded with God to comfort them, strengthen them and meet them in this terrible time of need.
It is a privilege to carry anothers burdens. When I’m facing a challenge I know I can call my husband, my mom or a close friend who will stop everything and pray with me on the phone right then. I love that at any moment we can approach our maker and he hears us! But, the fact that Jesus prays for us? That takes it to a whole other level. Thank you, Jesus for being that personal with us.
Jesus didn’t need to pray out loud to God the Father. But he did so we would have a model to follow. In verse 13 he says, “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.”
Jesus prays His work on earth will glorify God
John 17 begins with Jesus praying God will receive glory in the work he did here on earth. Ultimately that is our goal here on earth – to do the work God has for us and in that bringing him glory.
“I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.” vs. 4
“ For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Eph. 2:10
Jesus prays for the disciples
In verses 6-19 Jesus prays for his disciples. 9 I pray for them… 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. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
Jesus prays for God to protect them. The tone of the prayer reminds me of a child leaving for college. The mom is busy checking and double checking her lists. All the physical possessions are carefully packed into the cars. Her heartstrings tug as the million bits of advice threaten to spill over her lips. Yet, she purses them closed knowing all has been said. It is time to release her child from her constant 24/7 protection.
Or maybe the tone is one of a spouse leaving on a business trip. These last words are similar to the concerns for those he loves that will be left behind. Jesus had gotten very close to the disciples and while he knew God was going to protect them, he was going to miss them.
Jesus prays for unity among believers.
In verses 20-25 Jesus is praying for unity and love among believers. It is interesting to me that in his final prayer he prays for unity. There are many things he could pray for, but he chooses unity and love. It makes me pause and ask myself if I’m making those a priority in my life.
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.”
In Jesus final prayer he first prayed for God to be glorified in His life. Secondly, he prayed for protection for those closest to him. Lastly he prayed for unity and love among all believers.
Father in Heaven, I pray you would be glorified in my life today as I strive to bring you glory in all I do. I pray you would protect my children from the evil one. I pray your truth would work into their hearts so they would be sanctified. Thank you for protecting them when they are away from me. I pray I would display your love and unity to all I come into contact with today, that you would receive all honor and glory. In Jesus name. Amen.