Summary: The second portion of Jesus' High Priestly prayer concerns the Disciples. Jesus teaches us about the scope of His atonement and a prayer for unity and sanctification by the Word of truth.
“Jesus Prays for His Immediate Disciples” John 17: 6-19
In John 17, the disciples have the privilege of listening to the Lord of Glory, the soon to be Crucified Lord pray only hours, perhaps minutes before He is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane. Last week we heard Jesus’ prayer concerning Himself, and today in John 17: 6-19 Jesus prays for His immediate disciples.
Jesus gives the Grounds for His Prayers
John 17:6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. 9 I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You.
Jesus gives the Grounds for His Prayers in verses 6-11a. Jesus makes it very clear that the Disciples were chosen by God and given to the Son. (6-11) The language that Jesus uses concerning predestination (or God’s choosing or election) is even stronger than before. It is clear that the disciples were CALLED BY GOD out of the rest of the unbelieving world.
When Jesus says that “they have kept your word” He is saying that the disciples have continued to follow Jesus, which is an indication of true faith. “Keeping the Word” is equal to growing in relationship with Jesus. It is characteristic of those who have been given the gift of faith.
In this section, Jesus clearly makes the point for human responsibility in God’s Election (or predestination) of those who will be saved. In Jesus’ prayer for His disciples, He prays for those who have “known, received, and believed.” There is the aspect of assent to the knowledge of all that Jesus claims to be and all that Jesus proclaims. In believing that Jesus “came from the Father”, the disciples accepted the deity of Jesus. Only those who RECEIVE the Word and BELIEVE the object of their faith, and continue to follow are those who indeed have been saved. You cannot reject any of Jesus’ Word and say you “believe in God”.
The doctrine (or teaching) of “Definite Redemption” (or Limited atonement” is taught in verses 9 & 10; Jesus said: “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.” For whom is Jesus praying? Verse 9 says, “I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.” For the most part, “the world” rejects Jesus as the Anointed of God. Jesus said in JOHN 10:14-15: “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me--just as the Father knows me and I know the Father--and I lay down my life for the sheep.” And in verse 27: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Jesus’ death would be sufficient for the whole world if the whole world would know, believe, receive and follow Him as their Savior and Shepherd, but they don’t and they won’t. Jesus’ death is only EFFICIENT for those who hear and follow. Jesus’ purpose in dying is for the ELECT, not the whole world.
It is the Elect, those chosen by God to believe and be saved, the Elect will bring glory to God. That is why verse 10 reads: “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them.” Rejection of Jesus does not bring glory to Him-knowing, receiving, accepting, believing, and following brings Glory and Honor to the One who is deserving of our worship. For believers, even the most mundane and simplest of acts in our lives can bring glory to our blessed God and Savior; 1 Corinthians 10:31 says: ”Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
Jesus requests the Gifts and Grace of God’s Protection. (11b-19)
Jesus offers requests to the Father on behalf of His disciples, that they would receive gracious gifts and protection after Jesus was gone in verses 11b-19.
11b “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.