Summary: First message in preparation for Easter.
THE ROAD TO THE RESURRECTION
THE GREAT HIGH PRIESTLY PRAYER
TEXT: John 17:1-26
I. INTRODUCTION—WALKING TOWARD THE CROSS
-We are walking with the Lord in this series of messages as He is moving toward the Cross and to His death that will cover the sins for the entire world. The Lord is well aware of where His destination is going to conclude because He is the Son of God. This literally means that He is God incarnate in flesh.
-He has already walked through some very spiritually and emotionally taxing moments:
• The Second and Last Temple Cleansing—Had seen firsthand again how the religious hucksters have taken advantage of the poor and the devoted.
• The Washing of the Disciples Feet—Realized how unprepared the disciples were for the soon to unfold events of His death on the Cross. They are only concerned about their place among the great.
• The Lord’s Supper—The celebration of the Passover meal now takes on an entirely new meaning, it will be in remembrance of the Lord’s death.
-The challenge for the vast majority of Christians is to immerse themselves in this walk the Lord was taking toward His death and to imagine the inner turmoil and anxiety that was working within Him. He was God but he was a man as well who had to contend with every single emotion and temptation that we have to deal with.
-Christianity has reached a place in America where it has simply become something to help us to achieve our dreams, goals, and desires. Or it has become something to help us cope with the hurdles and problems that sometimes cause us to think we are going to lose our minds. Our relationship with the Lord should be so much more than just that.
-When we come to moments like these, it helps us to look into the deeper price the Lord paid for our salvation.
II. A BIRDSEYE VIEW OF JOHN 17
-This prayer the Lord now prays is referred to as His high priestly prayer. In this prayer, there are elements of sacrifice and service. The sacrifice will be fulfilled at the Cross and the service is the prayer for His disciples and for His church.
-This prayer here is not the prayer that would be prayed later in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matt. 26:36-45; Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:39-46). That prayer would escape the ears of all the disciples because they were asleep during the Lord’s agony in the garden.
-This prayer seems to be very much related to what the Lord has expressed to them in that upper room. Words such as glory, glorify, sent, believe, world, and love all seem to connect up with what is in John 13-16. It is prayed either in the room before they leave for the Garden or it is prayed in the Kidron Valley which was the path they followed to Gethsemane.
-What is remarkable about this prayer is that it is one that follows the preaching. Whether we would define John 13-16 as classical preaching according to what we see as preaching, the fact remains that the Lord gave some of the strongest and encouraging spiritual preaching in the upper room at the last Passover.
-We should take this principle to heart—All preaching should be followed by prayer. Whether that is with a formal altar call or if a person allows their mind and heart to be saturated by the message in such a way that for a long while afterwards the content of the message isn’t far from the reach of the soul.
-This prayer that is taking place is being done by the Preacher. We can only be left to wonder if preaching might not have a much more powerful impact if more preachers would pray after they preached. What happens in your own spirit, your mind, and your heart after you hear the Word being preached?
-This prayer is divided up into three sections:
• The Savior’s Prayer for Himself—John 17:1-5
• The Savior’s Prayer for His Disciples—John 17:6-19
• The Savior’s Prayer for His Church—John 17:20-26
-A further look at this prayer shows that Jesus spent five verses on Himself and the other twenty-one on His disciples and His church. That shows me how much mismanagement has gotten into the place of my own prayers.
-The great Scottish preacher, John Knox, had this prayer read to him every day in his final days on his deathbed. He found this prayer of the Lord to be a great comfort and source of strength for him as he faced death head on. It is my belief that looking at this passage can do the same thing for us as well.
III. THE SAVIOR PRAYS FOR HIMSELF—JOHN 17:1-5
John 17:1-5 KJV These 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:  As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.  I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.