Summary: We could learn some lessons from many sources, but more valuable lessons we could learn from the Word of God itself, especially in the prayer of Jesus.
“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began” (John 17:1-5, NIV).
Last month, I told my daughter to watch the movie in You Tube that was presented by Hallmark, entitled “Secret Millionaire.” The movie had some good lessons. And one of the lessons was that the lady in the story was busy not just in her job, but also in a certain cause or movement. She was not looking for a boy friend or life partner, yet ended triumphant in the cause she was fighting for and was able to have a potential life partner, who was a millionaire!
We could get learn some lessons in good movies, in the autobiography of famous men, or in other books we read. We could also learn lessons from our own experiences.
And, surely, if we could learn valuable lessons from the stories we read in the Word of God – the Bible, we could learn much from what God Himself is telling us, especially in the prayer of the Son of God, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
So, what could we learn in the prayer of Jesus? Is there any significant thing that we could find in the inner thought of our Savior?
Before we proceed, let’s realize that the text was part of the prayer of Jesus in the whole chapter of John 17. It was recorded by the Apostle John, who described himself five times in his writing as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23; 19:26; 20:2; 21:7 & 20). Jesus prayed it in the hearing of His disciples, so John was able really to take note of it.
He prayed it after He and His disciples partook the last supper during the Passover. And before they arrived at the garden across the Kidron Valley, wherein Jesus again prayed, but privately and with such well known line, “…not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42).
And as Jesus prayed in John 17, Judas was no longer with them for he already went on his way to betray Jesus.
So, what could we learn in that portion of His prayer? Actually, the passage is jam-packed of various significant lessons, but this time we will just limit ourselves with at least two.
First, WE HAVE ETERNAL LIFE (verse 2).
We read in verse 2, “For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
John pointed out that the Father gave Jesus the authority over all people – whether Jew or not. Thus, Jesus could do whatever He wanted to happen to them. And so, He has the authority to give eternal life to anyone, if He wants to.
But, He will give it to all, no matter what is his nationality – to all those the Father “have given to Him.”
John did not mean that because Jesus has authority over all people, He will give eternal life to everyone. The Apostle did not fail to include the qualifying words of Jesus, “…all those you have given him.” In other words, Jesus said that eternal life will be for all those people the Father gave to Him.
Now, who are these special people given by the Father to Jesus?
In the larger context of John 17, the Apostle John wrote these words of Jesus in verses 6 and 8 (let’s read them in ESV):
"I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word… For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.”
Jesus described the people whom the Father gave to Him in those words.
First, they were “out of the world.” They were not literally “out of the world” and were somewhere else. But, they were given to Jesus out of the rest of people of the world. Or, we could also consider the qualifying words of Jesus, recorded by John in verse 16, “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world” (ESV).