Summary: When Jesus prayed, what was central on His mind? We actually have a record of one of Jesus’ most important prayers and what He prayed about. Let’s look at what was on Jesus’ mind in His important prayer in John 17:1-11.
When Jesus prayed, what was central on His mind? We actually have a record of one of Jesus’ most important prayers and what He prayed about. Let’s look at what was on Jesus’ mind in His important prayer in John 17:1-11.
John 17:1 (NKJV) Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You…”
This is part of the Lord’s “high priestly prayer.” We don’t know how God inspired this record. The prayer’s emphasis is unmistakably Jesus, as he prayed for glory, eternal life and unity for his followers. “Glorify” means power, honor, praise and the exalted position that Jesus had from the beginning.
It means, “the glory which I had with You before the world was.” It includes the glory of the cross, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” It includes the glory of followers, “I am glorified in them.”
John 17:2-3 (NKJV) “as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”
Jesus can “give eternal life … this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” It includes knowing Him in Jesus and an intimate relationship. We receive Jesus’ words from God. Then we come to know and believe God.
John 17:4-5 (NKJV) “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”
How is ignominious death on a cross glory? In an ethically bankrupt world, wealth, power and popularity are often gained through moral defeat - lying, cheating, stealing. The self-sacrificing are the real winners. All honor and praise and dignity forever goes to the cross and those who take up their crosses.
John 17:6 (NKJV) “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.”
Jesus had emptied Himself (Philippians 2:5-8) taking on the form of a servant. The disciples were faithful followers of God as revealed in the Old Testament. Now, as the Father revealed Himself more fully in Jesus, He gave them to Jesus, even as they continued to keep God’s word.
John 17:7-8 (NKJV) “Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.”
Jesus prayed, “I have given to them the words [??µa, rhema] which You have given Me.” Some claim “rhema” is important and “logos” is not. Jesus says, “I have given them Your word [?????, logos]” (vs. 14) and “Your word [logos] is truth” (vs. 17) - “logos” and “rhema” are interchangeable.
John 17:9 (NKJV) “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.”
Does God not love the whole world? Verse 21 explains, “that the world may believe that You sent Me” and verse 23, “that the world may know that You have sent Me.” As “Savior of the world” (1 John 4:14), Jesus normally prayed for all, just not this time.
John 17:10-11 (NKJV) “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.”
Did Jesus’ prayer fail, or are Christians really one, despite different denominations? Are we really one, perhaps not in partisan bigotry and human organization, but in God’s Name. Do we live so that Jesus is glorified in us? How are we in the world but not of the world?
When Jesus prayed, He prayed mostly about unity and that should inspire us to think about how we can work for greater unity and how it is found not in our worldly institutions but in the Father and the Son. When we promote our denominations, we are not promoting a unifying message. When we promote the Father and the Son, then we are one in ministry.
New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.