Summary: Jesus knew that there would be times when storms would come and cause an upheaval for these disciples that He was praying for.
JESUS PRAYS FOR HIS DISCIPLES
Text: John 17:6-19
I read an account about a storm that came as a surprise. "The storm came roaring in from the Atlantic, and it left the city of New York paralyzed. Ordinarily such a snow fall cause little inconvenience in that city. Snowplows are assembled and crews are at work even as the first flakes begin to fall. The weather forecasters do a good job, and because they do the city is kept moving and New Yorkers can continue on their way. But on that cold day a few years back, the weatherman missed it. His mistake was understandable. Weather systems in this country usually move west to east. This storm slipped in from the east, taking New York City by surprise. This sort of thin happens not only to cities but also to people". (Ernest A. Fitzgerald. Keeping Pace: Inspirations In The Air. Greensboro: Pace Communications Inc. 1988, p. 116). Jesus knew that there would be times when storms would come and cause an upheaval for these disciples that He was praying for. Jesus is praying for them and their mission to be faithful when those times would come. Jesus is praying for protection from the evil one as well as their sanctification.
JESUS CAME TO REVEAL GOD’S CHARACTER.
Jesus revealed the character of God by making God’s Name known. This explanation at face value seems far too simple. But, if you take the Old Testament, then Jesus’ making God’s name known to the disciples that God gave Him takes on a whole new meaning. "In the Old Testament, name is used in a very special way. It does not simply mean the name by which a person is called; it means the whole character of the whole person as far as it can be known". (William Barclay. The Daily Study Bible Series: The Gospel Of John. Volume 2. Revised Edition. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975, p. 210). That would explain why the Jews of the Old Testament days would not use God’s name directly which is "Jehovah". Instead, they would refer to God’s name indirectly calling God "Adonai" which means "Lord". That is why Jesus taught His disciples the Lord’s Prayer using the wording, "Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name …" "The Jews who heard Jesus use this word hallowed understood much of what He meant". (G. Ray Jordan. Life Giving Words. Anderson: Indiana Press, 1964, p. 31). The point is that God’s Name is holy. "We hallow God’s name to the degree that we think of him in the most reverent way of which we are capable" (Jordan, p. 31). Secondly, there was no one who felt that he or she could call God by His Name because it would seem that they did not know God’s whole character and person.
Jesus is the Word made flesh. Jesus is God’s only begotten Son (John 3:16). "And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father), full of grace and truth" (John 1:14 ASV). Until Jesus came as "God in the flesh", God’s words had come through the prophets and had been recorded in words on paper. It was because of their respect for God’s Holy Name that the Jews of the Old Testament would not use His Name directly. So even though they had God’s words---the scriptures as a guide to go by, God sent His only begotten Son (John 3:16) to let us know that He is with us (Matthew 1:23) as one of us (Philippians 2:5-11). When Jesus came, He came as the Living Word----the Word made flesh---full of grace and truth (John 1:14). He had come to preach the good news to the poor, to set the prisoners free, to give recovery of sight the blind, to release the oppressed and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor (Luke 4:18-19). Jesus had come to give life more abundant---more fulfilling (John 10:10) to those who would receive His teaching and believe in Him. Jesus also came to give God’s own Words to the disciples that God had given to Him (John 17:8). Jesus had also come to reveal not only the Words of God the Father, but the character and personality of God the Father (John 17:7,8 and John 1:14) in the flesh.
JESUS PRAYS FOR THEIR UNITY.
Jesus prayed for their unity as a group. By God’s will and design, Jesus’ own disciples had been brought to Him by God (John 6:37, 44 and John 17:6). Jesus had taught them and groomed them as disciples to continue in their ministry in His name after He would be going back to heaven because He had now completed the work that God had sent Him to do (John 17:4). It would be only days later when Jesus would say again that He had completed the work that God had sent Him to do when He said, "It is finished" on the cross (John 19:30) just before He died. Jesus was praying that they would be one with each other in the fellowship that they shared in Jesus as Jesus Himself is one in the fellowship that He shares with His Father in heaven (John 17:11). "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you" (Psalm 9:10 NIV).