Summary: A 4 part series looking at Jesus' final prayer with the disciples in John 17. Part 1 of 4
The Real Lord’s Prayer
John 17:1-5 (Part 1)
March 3, 2013
For the next 4 weeks we’re going to be looking at what is the REAL LORD’S PRAYER. Yup, the prayer everyone calls the Lord’s Prayer is really not the Lord’s prayer, but what we’re going to look at is the REAL Lords’ Prayer. In reality the prayer in Matthew 6, which starts out, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name,” would be better called the Disciples Prayer. You see, Jesus didn’t pray it, it was to teach the disciples and you and I how to pray.
The disciples asked Jesus, "Lord, teach us how to pray." Jesus said, "When you pray, this is how you should pray." Jesus gave them a model prayer. It's not a prayer He would ever pray. He had no need to say, "Forgive me for my sins," that's for the disciples to pray.
We’re going to look at is a real prayer from Jesus. It’s His prayer to the Father, as He prays for Himself, the disciples and us, the future church. With that in mind, let’s look at the first 5 verses of John 17 and learn from Jesus ~
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
So, what is Jesus getting at here? To figure this out, let me ask you, have you ever wondered about the meaning of life? I know that’s a whopper of a question. But this is where I see Jesus going with this prayer. Maybe you’re not big into Shakespeare, but the monologue from Macbeth in Act 5, Scene 5 addresses this. It’s one of the most famous speeches.
Macbeth has just heard that Lady Macbeth is dead, and he knows his death is approaching. He says ~
Tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow
creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, Out, brief candle
Life's but a walking shadow,
a poor player
that struts and frets his hour upon the stage
and then is heard no more.
It is a tale Told by an idiot.
Full of sound and fury
Is Macbeth right? Is life nothing but a shadow having no substance and no meaning? Told by an idiot, signifying nothing? Writers and philosophers since recorded time have tried to answer the question.
What is the meaning of life? It’s a universal philosophical question. But, it’s not only a philosopher’s question. It’s a real and genuinely human question. It might be a question asked in despair or hope, out of cynicism, out of pain or out of joy. Maybe it’s sincere curiosity and a deep desire to have goals and a future. In some ways, this may be one of the most basic and fundamental questions.
And so it comes as no surprise that Jesus deals with this question and answers it. Surprisingly, the answer isn’t given in the context of an argument with the Jewish leaders or in a discussion with his disciples. Jesus deals with the meaning of life in the context of prayer.
In John 13, Jesus and the disciples had celebrated Passover. They ate together, and then Jesus gave His longest talk. It moves from John 13 through the end of John 17. In the next chapter, Jesus is arrested and the time for His crucifixion has arrived. Jesus knows He’s about to leave His disciples alone in the world and He prays to the Father, for Himself, for the disciples and for us.
In essence, Jesus says, "the meaning of life is this: that you have a relationship with God, and me his Son, Jesus Christ." And that’s the long and short of it! But, Jesus understood just how difficult it was going to be not only for his disciples but for all of us to come to this very simple realization in life.
Let’s take a look at what Jesus said in these 5 verses.
In this first section Jesus, in verse 4, "Father, I have done everything you sent me to do. I've completed the task. I've left nothing undone." Can you pray that? This is a prayer only Jesus could pray.