6-Week Series: Against All Odds


Summary: The Scottish Reformer John Knox had this prayer read to him daily during his last illness. But you would benefit by starting now to read it and meditate on it. What a treasury of truth it is!

Date: Thursday P.M.—The last week of His life

Location: Jerusalem

Title: Last Speech to the Apostles and Intercessory Prayer

Scripture: John 17

We now come to what is known as the High-Priestly prayer of the Lord Jesus. In this prayer, He made intercession for His own. It is a picture of His present ministry in heaven where He prays for His people.


In this, His high priestly prayer, Jesus prayed for Himself (vv. 1–5), His disciples (vv. 6–19), and all of His church (vv. 20–26).

The prayer reveals our Lord’s spiritual priorities: glorifying the Father (v. 1), the unity of the church (vv. 21–23), the sanctity of the church (v. 17), and the winning of a lost world (vv. 18–19). Are these priorities in your life?

It also reveals the gifts He has given His people: eternal life (vv. 2–3), the Word (vv. 8, 14), and His glory (v. 22). But note that believers are the Father’s gift to Him (vv. 2, 6, 9, 11–12), just as Jesus is the Father’s love gift to us ( John 3:16)[1]. It is all of grace!

The word world appears nineteen times in this prayer, for this prayer tells us how to “overcome the world” ( John 16:33)[2]. We must seek God’s glory first (vv. 1–5), experience His joy (v. 13), be sanctified by the Word (v. 17), seek to win the lost (vv. 18–19), and encourage the unity of God’s people (vv. 20–23).

Glory is another key word. Christ laid aside His glory to come to earth (v. 5b), glorified God on earth (v. 4), and was glorified when He returned to heaven (v. 5a). Christ is glorified in His church (v. 10) and has shared His glory with the church (vv. 22, 24). We already have the glory; we are just waiting for it to be fully revealed ( Rom. 8:18–21, 30)[3].

The Scottish Reformer John Knox had this prayer read to him daily during his last illness. But you would benefit by starting now to read it and meditate on it. What a treasury of truth it is!

Chapter 17

Jesus Prays for His Ministry (1–5)

The Glory of the Persons and the Work (1)

1These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven. Looking up at heaven was a common practice when one prayed, since He was addressing Himself to God. The fact that it is mentioned immediately after making His closing comments to the disciples shows that there was no break in the situation.

And said, Father, the hour is come. Many times His enemies had been unable to take Him because His hour had not come. But now the time had arrived for the Lord to be put to death, and accomplish His earthly ministry. The exact time for His death was predetermined, fulfilling prophesy, and preparing the future. It is the hour of the overthrow of Satan, the hour of atonement and redemption, the hour of His resurrection and adoration.

Glorify{i} thy Son. He was looking ahead to His death on the cross. If He were to remain in the grave, the world would know that He was just another man. But if God glorified Him by raising Him from the dead that would be proof He was God’s Son and the world’s Savior. God answered this request by raising the Lord Jesus on the third day and then later by taking Him back to heaven and crowning Him with glory and honor and giving Him all authority in heaven and on earth.

That thy Son also may glorify{i} thee. The meaning of this is explained in the next two verses. Jesus glorifies the Father by giving eternal life to those who believe in Him. It brings great glory to God when ungodly men and women are converted and display the life of the Lord Jesus on this earth. Moreover, He glorified and will glorify the Father through His resurrection, ascension, and mediatorial work,

GLORY{i} (Glorify) — beauty, power, or honor; a quality of God’s character that emphasizes His greatness and authority. The word is used in three senses in the Bible:

1. God’s moral beauty and perfection of character. This divine quality is beyond human understanding (Ps. 113:4). All people “fall short” of it (Rom. 3:23).

2. God’s moral beauty and perfection as a visible presence. While God’s glory is not a substance, at times God does reveal His perfection to humans in a visible way. Such a display of the presence of God is often seen as fire or dazzling light, but sometimes as an act of power. Some examples from the Old Testament are the pillar of cloud and fire (Ex. 13:21), the Lord’s deliverance of the Israelites at the Red Sea (Exodus 14), and especially His glory in the tabernacle (Lev. 9:23–24) and Temple (1 Kin. 8:11).

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