Summary: We are called into the glory-giving relationship that marks the unity of the Trinity.
Jesus’ Prayer for the Disciples
As we head toward Good Friday and Easter, I have been drawn to Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Jesus has entered Jerusalem triumphantly on Palm Sunday, he has been teaching in the temple and on the streets. What he has been saying and doing has offended the rulers and the people more and more. Jesus and the disciples observe the Passover together in an upper room of a house, quietly away from everyone, Jesus teaches them as they eat together, first in action by washing their feet and calling them to do the same for each other, then through words as he explains what is going to happen and how the Holy Spirit will come, then he teaches them through prayer. He prays for himself, then his disciples, and then all of us who will follow him.
The prayer is a model for us – it was prayed with the disciples listening in, and it teaches us about Jesus and ourselves.
Read or show it.
Although the passage that we are looking at today is prayed for the 11 disciples surrounding Jesus at the meal, it can also be applied to us, as Jesus says in verse 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message…”
6-11 Jesus’ Reason for Praying
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. 7Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8For 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. 9I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.
The reason that Jesus prays for the disciples is that they have been drawn into the glory giving relationship that is the Trinity.
Jesus has introduced them to the Father, but they already belonged to Him and He gave them to Jesus!
During the meal, Jesus has been telling them how he is going to the Father and how they would follow him. Thomas (from Missouri) says “show me!” “Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him."
8Philip said, "Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us."
9Jesus answered: "Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ’Show us the Father’? 10Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you are not just my own. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.” - John 14
Jesus proclaims more faith and belief for the Disciples than is evidenced in the rest of scripture. – they know everything I have comes from you, they accepted the words as from you… They knew with certainty…
While you can see that their minds had doubts, and lack of understanding, their actions spoke volumes
In John 6, Jesus has been talking about how he is the bread of life – the bread that comes down from heaven. The people get upset with that teaching because it sounds like he was saying that they had to eat his flesh. So Jesus makes it harder for them by saying
53Jesus said to them, "I tell you the truth, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
…60On hearing it, many of his disciples said, "This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?"
…66From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.
67"You do not want to leave too, do you?" Jesus asked the Twelve.
68Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69We believe and know that you are the Holy One of God." – John 6
They didn’t get it with their minds, but they knew the truth in their hearts.
And because of this heart belief, they bring glory to Jesus, which he gives to the Father who gives it back to Jesus….