The Great Intercessory Prayer of Christ for All His Own! (John 17:1-26)
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John 17 is an open conversation with God the Father for his own followers. In this prayer, Jesus expresses his deepest desire for his return to the Father and the destiny of his followers.
No matter what happens after this, Jesus is a “winner” not a “loser.” This prayer is the greatest prayer ever prayed, the greatest prayer in the Bible, the “Holy of Holies” in the Bible. So, we must enter it with thankfulness, praise, humility.
v. 1-5 After Jesus said this…
All the time, Jesus’ first concern, interest was the glory of God – all for the glory of God. In these 5 verses, we see “glory” or “glorify” 5 times.
In verse 5, Jesus refers to his pre-incarnate glory – the glory he had from before the beginning of the world. When he came to Earth as a man, he put that glory behind him. Then, “I have glorified you because I finished all the work you gave me to do.” and he asks again for that pre-incarnate glory so that he could again glorify the Father.
“The time has come…” v.1
In the wedding in Cana in Galilee, “my time has not yet come”
Chp 7, “my time has not yet come”
Many times, people tried to kill, stone, arrest him, but they could not because his “time has not yet come.”
On Earth, Jesus had lived his life on God’s time schedule. Whether you know it or not
Ps. 31:5 – Our times are in God’s hands…
Ecc 3:1-2 – A time for everything, a season for every activity under the sun…
There are many divisions of time in physical life (Ecclesiastes).
Only 2 times in spiritual life:
1. If lost, now is the time to be saved.
2. If saved, now is the time to save others.
2 Cor 6:2 – “Now is the time of salvation…”
Jesus claimed all authority to save others (Matt end?)
Eternal life = knowing God
Not just knowing ABOUT God
(Theoretical knowledge vs. Experiential knowledge)
Eternal life is a matter of quality – it is the life of God.
In these 5 verses, Jesus repeats many times “believers” are those whom God has given to Jesus (v. 2,6,9,24)
Jesus Christ is the best gift according to God (John 3:16)
If we are Christians, we believe that Jesus is the best gift from God to us. Also, at the same time, Jesus counts US as the best gift from the Father to himself. (”No one can come to me except by the Father”)
Q #1: For whom did Jesus pray?
Q #2: For what did Jesus pray?
Q #3…next time
#1 For whom did Jesus pray?
ALL of us – v. 20
1. Prayed for the glory of God
2. All the disciples at that time and place
3. All believers for ALL time – you, me, our children, grandchildren, etc.
This prayer is still available and effective and remembered today.
There is no question that Jesus prayed for you and me at that time.
#2 For WHAT did Jesus pray? (4 items)
1. For our security – safety – sanctity – holiness – protection
We are safe because of THIS intercessory prayer of Jesus 2,000 years ago.
v. 11, 12, 17, 19
God keeps his children. Our safety depends on God, not on our own merit, works, investments, etc. We are secure in Christ, the very nature of God, the Word of God, the Prayer of Christ. Still now in heaven, Jesus is interceeding for us. Romans 8:34 “Who was condemned for us? Jesus. He also intercedes for us.” Hebrews 7:12? “He intercedes for us”
What about Judas? He was NEVER saved. He is not an example of a believer who lost his salvation, he IS an example of a non-believer who pretended to be saved.
Salvation is a BIRTH, new birth, born again. Have you experienced a re-birth?
We cannot enter into our mother’s womb a second time, and likewise, salvation cannot be undone.
Once justified, it can never be undone.
At one time Jesus set himself apart for us, and he has also set us apart for himself.
He still prays for our safety and security against Satan and the world. This is why we are safe in our salvation even today.
2. He prayed for our joy.
Jesus wants us to be joyful, just as parents want their children to be happy.
“Full measure of MY (Jesus’) joy.”
Joy is one of the fruits of the HS – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, self-control.
Joy is the character of Christ (as are all the fruits).
Joy comes not by substitution, but by transformation. It is an inner attitude.
Peace is not an absence of trouble.
We have peace because we are in Christ.
We have trouble because we are in the world.
The peace we have can overcome the trouble because Christ overcame the world.
Joy is not the absence of sorrow.
Jesus was a man of joy, but at the same time, a man of many sorrows (Isa 53)
Paul was a man of joy (I rejoice in the Lord, be joyful always, this is the will of God).
Paul was also a man of sorrow (Romans 9:2 – “I have great sorrow, unceasing anguish in my heart.”)
He was imprisoned, but that did not make him sorrowful. When he saw the lost, he was filled with sorrow. BUT when he saw the glory of God and the saved brothers around him, he was full of joy.
Jesus was crucified on the cross, but that did not make him sorrowful – seeing those who rejected his free gift of life made him sorrowful.
This is the heart of Jesus, the heart of missionaries, the heart of Christians.
Whenever we see the lost, we must be sorrowful.
Whenever we see the glory of Jesus in our lives, we ARE joyful.
The more we experience sorrow, the more we can enjoy joy (true joy).
3. He prayed for our unity.
The most important thing in the Christian life is unity.
v. 11, 21-23
“So they may be one as we are one”
We = Trinity God
We cannot understand fully the mystery of the doctrine of the Trinity, but a very important and practical lesson we can learn is that there is perfect unity between them.
Jesus prayed for our unity with God and then unity among his children.
Without unity with God, we cannot have unity among churches, Christians.
Real spiritual unity = unity with God first, and unity with other Christians second.
To explain true unity, our bodies are a good example.
You have only one body, but there are many parts, many organs, each is different in their jobs, sizes, positions, weights, but all the parts create and build up one body and obey fully the one head. And all members work together for one purpose and share the same life.
If every part is OK, but only one tooth is painful, ALL the members go to the dentist together.
Our unity and harmony is not based on the externals of our flesh, but on the internals of our spirits. We must be able to see beyond the elements of our first birth (race, color, hobbies, etc) We must build our unity on the elements of our second birth – we have many things in common. We believe in and trust the same Savior and Lord and we are given the same mission and purpose, and we will live in heaven together eternally.
Eph. 4:3 – “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body….”
Galatians 3 – “There is neither slave nor free, male nor female, but all are one in Christ Jesus.”
Through our love and unity, the lost world can find Jesus. The lost world cannot see Christ, but they see Christians. They think what they see in Christians is what they see in Christ. If they see hatred, disunity among Christians, they think Christ is like that. But if they see love and unity, they think Christ is like that.
4. He prayed for our future glory. Hallelujah!
He started this prayer with the glory of God.
He closes this prayer with our glory.
In the first 5 verses, Jesus referred to his pre-incarnate glory – that which he had before the Creation of the world and when he came here, he left that glory behind in heaven. When he was due to return to the Father, he again claimed that glory (”please give me that glory back”), to share that glory with us, show it to us, give it to us.
Romans 8:17-18 – “If we are children, we are co-heirs with Christ, we share his suffering on Earth, but will share his glory in heaven.”
If you receive this final word with faith, it will be yours – living and active.
Colossians 3:4 – “When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Whose glory? Jesus pre-incarnate glory.
This is the vision, the dream of our Lord Jesus for you and I. Sometimes men’s dreams made fail and fade, but Jesus’ dreams never do.
We’ll look again at this chapter next time.