Summary: John 17 is the longest prayer of Jesus in the entire Gospels. It's sometimes referred to as Christ's High Priestly prayer... but I regard that as being a far too sterile description of what is truly Jesus' prayer of love for His bride.
Children have very simple views of life… and of love. The following are children’s views on the topic of love.
A 7 year old said – “If falling love is anything like learning how to spell, I don’t want to do it. It takes too long.”
A 5 year old boy – “Once I’m in kindergarten, I’m going to find me a wife.”
David, age 8 stated – “Love will find you, even if you are trying to hide from it. I’ve been trying to hide from it since I was five, but the girls keep finding me.”
An 8 year old observed – “I think you’re supposed to get shot with an arrow or something, but the rest of it isn’t supposed to be so painful.”
Another: “Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.”
And my favorite: “When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You know that your name is safe in their mouth.”
Today is February 14th, and we’re going to talk about LOVE. In this case, we’re going to talking about the love that Christ has for us.
In John 17 is the longest recorded prayer of Jesus in any of the Gospels. And a lot scholars call this prayer: Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, because in this prayer Jesus is interceding for His church just like a High Priest in the Old Testament would have interceded for God’s people. Now, that’s nice - but it sounds a little sterile for my taste. You see, I don’t sense that Jesus is praying like He’s some kind of religious official I sense that He’s praying just like a Husband would pray for the woman he loves. I sense a passion and a depth of emotion.
In Ephesians 5:25, Paul tells husbands to “love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Did you catch that? Christ loves the church! That’s His Bride. He gave Himself up for her!! It’s a passionate love… a sacrificial love. And so I don’t picture Jesus droning on a dutiful priest. I picture Jesus pouring His whole heart into these words. BECAUSE THIS PRAYER IS IMPORTANT!
But now, what’s so important about this prayer? Why would Jesus bother to pray the things - He prays here to the Father? Well we need to remember that just a few days after His prayer, Jesus is going to die on the cross. He’s going to buried in a tomb, and 3 days later He’s going to rise from the dead. And 40 days after that, He’s going to go UP into heaven, and He’ll not come back until the end of the age.
Jesus is going to be (pause) gone (pause) and the church will be pretty much in the hands of His followers. And when that happens there were going to be dangers to be faced, because He’s not going to be there in the flesh any longer. And so in the vital prayer - just days before His crucifixion - Jesus was praying for the Father to protect the church from those dangers
The 1 of those dangers, is our arch-enemy - someone called evil one or Satan. Jesus prayed: “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” John 17:15
We have an enemy… and he doesn’t like us. In fact, he intends to destroy us. Revelation 12:17 described it this way: “the dragon (Satan) became furious with the woman (the Church) and went off to MAKE WAR on the rest of her offspring (Christians), on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” (see footnote)
Satan’s intention is to take us out. It’s nothing personal… he just hates God, and he hates God so much that he has made it his personal agenda to destroy US because we’re precious to God. We’re LOVED by Jesus. Jesus died for us, so we could belong to Him and so we could be saved. And Satan figures that if can take us out, he can hurt Jesus. And that would satisfy his desire for vengeance against God.
Now understand… Satan is real. But not everyone believes that. Several years ago, the New York Times reported on a survey where Americans were asked if they agreed or disagreed with the statement: “Satan is not a living being, but just a symbol of evil.” Two-thirds of those questioned agreed with that statement.
But NO! Satan is not “a symbol of evil.” He’s quite real, and he is a formidable adversary. There’s an old saying that declares “KNOW YOUR ENEMY! (derived from Sun Tzu's The Art of War). Know your enemy’s tactics and know his objectives, because if you don’t know your enemy… you become an easy target and he will take you down!