John 17 (NRSV)
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you,
How does the cross glorify the Father?
“The Son glorified the Father by revealing in the act the sovereignty of God over evil, the compassion of God for men, and the finality of redemption for believers.”
–Dr. Merrill Tenney
Matthew 27:54 (ESV)
“Truly this was the Son of God!”
2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
We know what God is like because Jesus has revealed him to us. And Jesus has modeled that the way to know God is to be obedient to what he asks of us, by finishing the work that lies in front of us for his sake.
4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
6“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
Jesus says of them, “They have kept your word.” When we think of all the failures and disappointments Christ experienced with the disciples, this is a kind assessment from Jesus. He generously judges His disciples. And Christ generously judges us, for he is our Savior as well as our Judge.
How, then, ought I treat others?
7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
11“And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. 12While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.
from Experiencing God Day-by-Day,
by Henry T. Blackaby and Richard Blackaby
THE JOY OF CHRIST
If there is anything that ought to characterize the life of a Christian, it is joy! Jesus spoke many times to his disciples about His joy being complete and full in them. His disciples were filled with joy as they realized who they were: children of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:16-17). They had been dead in their sins but were now made alive in Christ (Romans 6:4). They had once been helpless victims of death, but now death had no hold over them (1 Corinthians 15:55-58). With such a marvelous salvation experience with Christ, how could the disciples be anything less than joyful?
Don’t deny yourself that which is your birthright as a child of God. Don’t be satisfied with a joyless life. There ought to be in every Christian a deep, settled fullness of the joy of Christ that no circumstance of life can dispel. This comes as you allow the Holy Spirit to express Himself in your life. One of the fruits of the Spirit is joy (Galatians 5:22). This joy is unlike any happiness that is produced by the world. It fills you and permeates everything you do.
Jesus did not pray that you would merely be happy or even that you would escape grief. He prayed that you would have the same joy that the Father had given Him: a divine joy, a joy that comes from a deep and unwavering relationship with the Father. It is a joy that is grounded so firmly in a relationship with God that no change in circumstances could ever shake it. This is the kind of joy that Christ is praying will be in you.
14I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. 15I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. 16They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
17“Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
I remember, as a child, hearing the pastor open his sermon Sunday after Sunday with this prayer: “Sanctify us in the truth; thy word is truth.” Obviously this made an impact on me, since it is many decades later that I still hear that plea in my mind. In such a simple way I was taught that the word of God, both the written words of Scripture and the Word made flesh in Jesus Christ, is ultimate truth. Such an idea is not so popular today in a society which readily accepts relativism and falsehood. But with Martin Luther and millions of other believers through the ages I say, “Here I stand.”
18As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
20“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, 21that they may all be one.
This verse is one of the most wonderfully amazing verses in all the Bible, I think, for here Jesus prays for us! We are among those who believe because of the word of the apostles as found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Acts. Jesus prayed then, and continues to intercede now, for you!
As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, 23I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
24“Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
25“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. 26I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
From this prayer Jesus was to go straight out to the betrayal, the trial, and the Cross. He was not to speak to his disciples again. It is a wonderful and a precious thing to remember that before those terrible hours his last words were not of despair but of glory.
HERE is a simple song which grows out of our passage today as well as other Scriptures throughout the Old and New Testament: “Glorify Thy Name.” For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.
1) John writes at length about the oppositions to Jesus, as in John 15:18-25, John 16:29-33, and John 17:12-16. Who/what might he see as Jesus’ opposition today?
2) Verse 26 gives us the “secret” of a faithful Christian life: God’s love, in Jesus Christ, in us. How can you live that out today?
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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