Summary: The main thoughts for us today center around the Father-Son relationship that existed between God and Jesus. Glory to God the Father. Glory to Jesus the Son. The Purpose of Eternal Life.
JESUS PRAYS (WEEK 1 OF 4): FATHER AND SON
I’d like to start out with a bit of fun this morning. Many times fathers and sons look alike. I found some pictures of famous fathers and sons to show you and what I thought I’d do is show you the son and see if you can guess the famous father. Saying, “Oh yeah that one guy from that one show” is acceptable. The pictures are of the father and son from the same age from an entertainment magazine. There were 74 in the article, so I just picked a few.
1) Jaden Smith || Will Smith
2) Colin Hanks || Tom Hanks
3) Prince Harry || Prince Charles
4) Chris Pine || Robert Pine
5) Jason Ritter || John Ritter
6) Damon Wayans Jr || Damon Wayans
7) Ziggy Marley || Bob Marley
8) Scott Eastwood || Clint Eastwood
9) Robin Thicke || Alan Thicke
Fathers and sons do often look alike. In the passage we are going to look at today, the Son is talking to the Father and much is shared between them. In fact, John 14:9 shares with us that if we have seen Jesus we have seen the Father. There is a lot that is about to go on in the life of Jesus and in this passage we find Him praying.
CONTEXT OF JOHN 17
I’d like to put John 17 in a bit of context. In John 13, we find Jesus in the Upper Room with His disciples before He is arrested. He washes their feet. He foretells of Peter’s denial. In John 14, Jesus talks to the disciples about Him being the way, the truth, and the life. He promises them the presence of the Holy Spirit. In John 15, Jesus teaches about how He is the vine and believers must abide in Him as branches. John 16, Jesus continues to teach the disciples about the work of the Holy Spirit and is reflecting about the hardships He would soon endure.
Then we have John 17 where Jesus prays for Himself, the disciples, and then even those who would believe after the disciples. So, in John 17, Jesus is with His disciples in the Upper Room and is preparing Himself and them for events to come. John 18 records for us the betrayal and arrest of Jesus… which were the events He was preparing for.
John 17 is a prayer of Jesus. We are going to spend 4 weeks looking at John 17 and this wonderful prayer that is recorded for us. We will find much in this prayer of Jesus. The prayer can be divided into three parts as I mentioned a moment ago:
Verses 1-5 Jesus prays for Himself
Verses 6-19 Jesus prays for His disciples
Verses 20-26 Jesus prays for all believers
As I reflected on the first five verses, which is the section where Jesus prays for Himself, I noticed that Jesus is very much relating to God in a Father-Son manner which makes sense since Jesus is God’s Son. He talks about several things with this Father-Son relationship in mind and those truths mean much for us.
READ John 17:1–5 (ESV)
“When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, 2 since You have given Him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed.”
Before we get into the verses and the important truths Jesus shares with us in His prayer, I noticed two items that I wanted to mention because they are there and I think they are important. We are reading a prayer from Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, so everything is important.
First, I noticed that Jesus “looked up to Heaven.” I hope you know that bowing your head and closing your eyes and folding your hands to pray is not in the Bible. I actually cannot come up with one passage where bowing heads and closing eyes and folding hands is in the Bible… even thought this is a good position to focus our thoughts and keep ourselves from distraction while we pray. There are many positions people take in prayer in the Bible which include kneeling and lying flat. What we see in this passage is Jesus looking up to Heaven and praying with His eyes open! Jesus is being reverent while praying and is doing so with His eyes open looking up to focus on God. The focus is there. The reverence is there. The dedication to prayer is there. May we do the same. However we pray, we need focus and reverence and dedication like Jesus.