John 17

Note: This is the longest recorded prayer of Jesus.

Jesus Prayed for Himself (17:1-5)

17:1 After Jesus said [audible prayer] this, he looked toward [to lift up] heaven and prayed: “Father [Jesus addressed God as Father six times in this chapter], the time [His hour of suffering; cf. Jn. 2:4; 7:6,8; 8:20 re: mention that Jesus’ hour had not come; cf. Jn. 12:23; 13:1; 16:32 re: Jesus saying that His hour had come; Jesus lived on a divine timetable] has come. Glorify [preincarnate glory; what others thought to be shameful (death on a cross) would bring glory to Jesus and to His Father; the cross revealed and magnified the grace and glory of God] your Son [a request to be restored to the full rights and power as Son of God (cf. Phil. 2:5-11)], that your Son may glorify you.

17:2 For you granted [perfect denotes permanence of the gift] him authority [includes right, ability, responsibility to fulfill God’s purposes for humanity] over all people that he might give eternal life [as Jesus faced certainty of death on cross, He spoke of eternal life (God’s free gift to those who believe on His Son)] to all those you have given him.

17:3 Now [introduces explanation of eternal life] this is eternal life: that they may know [experiential knowledge; Jesus did not define eternal life in terms of endless years in Heaven, but as a relationship with God (through faith in Jesus Christ)] you, the only true God [a Person, not some man-made religion; cf. Matt. 11:27], and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent [to send as a personal authoritative representative].

17:4 I have brought you glory on earth by [how Jesus glorified the Father] completing [to reach the goal, to finish; Jesus saw the cross as something already accomplished rather than as a future event] the work [included Jesus’ teachings, miracles, training of His disciples, death on the cross (cf. Heb. 9:24-28; 10:11-18)] you gave me to do.

17:5 [request to return to the glory He had with the Father before the world was created (cf. Jn. 1:1,18)] And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before [preincarnate glory] the world began.

Jesus Prayed for the Disciples (17:6-19)

17:6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of [“from the midst of”] the world [refers to the world’s unsaved population]. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.

17:7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.

17:8 For I gave them the words [the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus] you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

17:9 I pray [make request] for them [disciples were specific focus of this part of His prayer; Jesus knew the dangers they would face in serving Him]. I am not praying for the world [God loves the world but that was not the focus of Jesus’ prayer, rather He prayed for those through whom the world would hear the message of salvation], but for those you have given me, for they are yours.

17:10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine [these words reveal Jesus’ unity, oneness, closeness, and equality with God the Father]. And glory has come to me through them.

17:11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world [and certain to be scared; disciples would remain to carry out God’s plan, thus arousing hostility from the evil one], and I am coming to you. Holy Father [only place in John where this designation is used], protect them by the power of your name [they are to be marked with and protected by the divine name] — the name you gave me — so that they may be one [unity] as we are one.

17:12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost [to destroy, to perish] except the one doomed to destruction [perdition, damnation] so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

17:13 “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.

17:14 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.

17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of [we cannot accomplish His mission unless we are in the world; Jesus’ plan is to reach the world through believers] the world but that you protect [to guard; to take care of; to attend to carefully] them from the evil one [Satan’s agenda is “to steal and kill and destroy” (Jn. 10:10a)].

17:16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

17:17 Sanctify [to set apart and dedicate a person or thing for the service of God and to dedicate as a sacrifice] them by the truth; your word is truth.

17:18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent [refers to the commission after the resurrection] them into the world.

17:19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prayed for All Future Believers (17:20-26)

17:20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those [we can insert our own name here and realize that Jesus had us in mind as He prepared for the cross] who will believe in me [it is our belief in Jesus that binds us together] through their [He prayed for those yet to be reached; we must continue to share “their” message] message,

17:21 [note three requests] [1] that all of them may be one [Jesus prayed for our unity here and in vv. 22,23], Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. [2] May they also be in us [3] so that [purpose in Jesus’ desire for the unity of believers; lack of unity is a hindrance to evangelism (non-Christians often cite division in the church as a reason for not listening to the message] the world may believe that you have sent me.

17:22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one:

17:23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity [a powerful witness to the world] to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

17:24 [Jesus prayed for our destiny] “Father, I want [the Lord of heaven wants us to be with Him; our future hope] 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.

17:25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know [experiential knowledge that comes through a personal relationship] you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.

17:26 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.”

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