Summary: In the Private Ministry of Jesus, we find that Jesus prays for Himself, He prays for His disciples and He prays for His Church.
John Chapter 17
I. Jesus prays for Himself:
Read verses 1-5
It’s not out of line to pray for one’s self!
When we go to God in prayer, we need to pray for our self, get our hearts and lives right with God, and get in tune with heaven.
Folks, that’s essential, before we can effectively pray for others we need to first pray for ourselves.
Notice Jesus is speaking directly to God the Father.
This prayer is the true Lord’s Prayer.
The prayer in the Sermon on the Mount is a prayer that Jesus taught to His disciples in order to teach them how to pray, but this is the true prayer of Jesus to His Father.
Notice in verse 1, Jesus’ eyes were open when he prayed this prayer “…and lifting up the eyes of him to heaven said: Father, has come the hour…” (Greek).
This teaches us that we can pray with our eyes open while we drive our cars or do work around the house.
“Father, the hour is come…” What hour?
Well, Jesus is talking about the hour set back in eternity past; the clock is striking the hour set way back in eternity, because He was the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world.
It had been arranged in eternity past, and now that hour has come.
Remember when Jesus began His ministry at the wedding feast of Cana, His first public miracle, and our first candid snapshot of the maturing Christian, and Jesus’ mother said to Him, “They have no wine.”
Jesus’ answer was, “Woman, what have I to do with thee? Mine hour is not yet come” (John 2:3,4).
Now the hour has come when He will pay for your sins and mine.
It is the hour when all creation will see the love of God displayed, as He takes your sins and my sins upon Himself, and dies a substitutionary, redemptive death for you and for me.
The death of Christ demonstrates that God is a loving Father who loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16).
Then the Son will be raised from the dead, ascend back into heaven, and be given a name that is above every name, and at that name of Jesus, every knee will bow.
Listen to the wealth of meaning here: “glorify the Son, that the Son may glorify thee” (verse 1).
The church is God’s gift to Jesus Christ.
Notice that Jesus has authority over all flesh, which is the doctrine of election.
Jesus gives eternal life to believers who have heard the call of Christ and have responded to that call in his or her heart with free will.
It’s not the amount of knowledge you have, but the kind of knowledge you have that counts.
Faith is trusting Christ and eternal life is to know Christ.
To know Him means to grow in grace and knowledge of Christ, and when we move on in the knowledge of Christ, we come to the place of assurance.
Anyone without the assurance of Christ in his or her heart is either unsaved or a babe in Christ, and he needs to move on to the place where he knows he is saved and has eternal assurance.
Yesterday, August 21, 2001, right here in Columbia, SC at First Baptist Church, we saw people from all over America attend the funeral for a great South Carolina political leader, Congressman Floyd Spence.
Like the mass of people who attended Congressman Spence’s funeral, or watched it on television, the whole world should have seen the birth of Jesus when He came to earth, instead, Jesus laid aside His glory.
Now, in verse 5, we see that Jesus is ready to return to His eternal home, heaven, back to glory “with the glory which I had before the world was…” (Greek).
II. Jesus prays for His disciples:
Read verses 6-19
We are back to that great doctrine of election, and Jesus talked to His Father in a private conversation about it, but he also wanted His disciples to hear it, and know about it.
I wish I knew more to tell you about the doctrine of election, but it’s one of those secret things that only God knows (Deuteronomy 29:29).
This is one of those mystical relationships between God and His chosen ones, and I suppose we’re not supposed to know its true meaning, but what a wonderful relationship it is.
Jesus testifies here in verses 7 and 8 that these disciples believed that He came from the Father.
They did not understand His purpose, and certainly they did not understand His death and resurrection, but they knew He had come from God, and they believed that God had sent Him.
Jesus doesn’t pray for the world today!