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The title of this message is “The prayer that Jesus prayed”. Some have called
this the greatest prayer of all time. Why would they call it this? Because of
who prayed it – Jesus. And because what He prayed.
In the preceding chapter before Jesus prayed, He was telling the
disciples about how He would be leaving them soon, the work of the Holy
Spirit, and how He had overcome the world. He was preparing them for a
time when they would scatter and they would not see Him any more. Then
John 17:1-26 – 1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and
prayed: “Father, the time 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 may know you, the only true God, and Jesus
Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by
completing 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. 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. 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. 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: 23I in them and you in
me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world 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
Point 1 – Jesus prayed for Himself (V1-5)
John 17:1 – After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and
I used to think that praying for yourself was a selfish thing. As a
new Christian, when I listened to people pray in a group I used to
critique their prayers and I would judge if they were others centred or
self-centred. I would give them a score out of 10 and judge them. You
will be pleased to know I don’t do that anymore!
Praying for yourself is not selfish, we all need God’s help. One of
my most prayed prayers is “Help me Lord”. Jesus as the Son of God, the
Alpha and the Omega, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the one who
performed many miracles including raising people to life… And He prayed
for Himself. If Jesus did this, we need to too!
So, what did Jesus pray for Himself?
V1 – Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify the Son that the Son
may glorify the Father
V5 – Jesus prayed that the Father would glorify the Son with the glory He had
These two things were the bookends to Jesus’ prayer. In verse 2, 3
and 4 He reminded the Father of the authority He gave Jesus to bring
people eternal life, that eternal life is found in knowing the Father
and the Son, and that Jesus finished His work that the Father gave Him.
So, while Jesus prayed for Himself, it was all about bringing glory
to the Father and asking that He would be restored to His former glory
He had in heaven. In many ways it was about finishing all He had to do
Point 2 – Jesus prayed for His disciples (v6-19)
John 17:6-7 – “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
In the next section of today’s text Jesus switches His focus to the
disciples or followers. Jesus said that He revealed truths from the
Father to His followers. He describes them as the ones who belonged to
the Father but were given to the Son (v6-8).
In verse 9 Jesus says that He prays specifically for His disciples.
He is not praying for the world now, but the ones who belong to the
Father and the Son. He is interceding for them because He is concerned
for them. Why is He concerned? Because He is going away. Verse 11 says
He is going back to the Father and they will still be in the world.
So, what did Jesus pray for His disciples?
a. V11 – To keep them in unity.
Jesus is concerned for the disciples for when He goes. He is worried
that they will not stick together. Sometimes when a leader leaves, or
hard times come, or when persecution happen, the people scatter and go
their own way or divisions take place. Sometimes they get off track. We
only have to look at Moses and the people of Israel when Moses went up
the mountain to be with God. They were electing new leaders and making
golden calves. Jesus wanted them to be strong and stick together. It was
vital for them in their new faith and vital for their mission.
b. V15 – To keep them safe from the devil.
Jesus prayed that the Father would not take them out of the world.
They were required to stay behind and continue Jesus’ mission of seeking
and saving the lost (Luke
19:10), so Jesus prayed for protection. He knew the devil would come
knocking and try to get them off course. We know that
1 Peter 5:8 says the devil prowls around like a lion looking for
someone to devour. They would be an easy target without Jesus, so He
lifted them up to the Father.
c. V17 – To sanctify them.
In verse 17 Jesus prays “Sanctify them, sanctify them by Your Word,
Your Word is truth”. To sanctify means to set apart for Holy use. Jesus
wanted His followers to be sanctified by the Father, so they could be
used mightily in Kingdom work. As we see after the resurrection and
ascension, they did some pretty amazing things. I find it interesting
that Jesus said to sanctify them by Your Word. For us today the Word of
God or the Bible is the key way we are sanctified. The Word and Spirit
work together to make us more like Christ.
Jesus prayed out His concern for the disciples. He prayed that God
would keep them unified, protect them from the devil and sanctify for
them Holy use.
Point 3 – Jesus prayed for His future disciples (20-26)
John 17:20 – “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those
who will believe in me through their message.
Jesus now focuses His attention to the future believers. The ones who
came to faith through the Apostles, right down through the ages, to us
and those who come to faith after us.
Again, what did Jesus pray in this last part of His prayer? What did
He think was important for us today?
a. That we would be one like the Father and the Son are one.
Jesus wanted us to be unified and one with the Father and Son. In
verse 23a Jesus says, “I in them and you in me. May they be brought to
complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved
them even as you have loved me.” Why did Jesus want us to be completely
unified with each other and with the Father? So, the world may believe.
There is something about being unified and loving one another that grabs
people’s attention. They generally don’t see it in politics, they don’t
see it in the workplace or sporting club. Church is the place where
people should see true unity and love in action. When they do see true
love and unity that is not of this world, Christ is revealed.
b. That we may know Jesus’ eternal glory
Verse 24 says, “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.” Jesus wanted the Father to
reveal His true glory to us. He wanted us to see Him as the Alpha and
the Omega, the King of kings and the Lord of lords. He wanted us to see
Him and the Creator who is eternal. All the things we looked at several
weeks ago when we focused in on Jesus. We saw the difference seeing
Jesus in His glory did to Peter who said he did not know Jesus prior to
the crucifixion and then post resurrection gave his life for Jesus and
His kingdom. We all need that Peter type of revelation of Jesus’ glory.
c. That we may know the love of the Father for the Son
In verse 26 it says, “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.” If we get a glimpse of the
love the Father has for the Son, there will be no doubt of Jesus’ true
identity and we will love Jesus the same way too. The Pharisees and the
religious leaders of the day accused Jesus of blasphemy because He
called Himself the Son of God. They needed a revelation that Peter had
John 11:27, “”I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who
was to come into the world.” We all need this revelation.
Jesus prayed for us and all believers down the ages. He wanted us to
stay strong. He prayed that we truly understand and believe that He and
the Father are one, that we would see His glory and know the love of the
Father and the Son.
Today we looked at one of the greatest prayers of all time. We saw
that Jesus prayed for three main things in
By Dave Quinn
Founder of PASSIONAustralia.org
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