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.”