John: The Intercessor

John  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  37:51
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Exegetical Point:
Homiletic Point: Jesus will Glorify the Father by making his name known.


Jesus has been teaching his disciples, but this intensive is about to come to an end.
This discipleship intensive started back in Chapter 13, right after Judas the Betrayer left. It’s all taken place over the course of a Passover meal.
Jesus has spoken on many topics, including the his mission, the Holy Spirit, how you can tell genuine faith, what to expect from the world and how to face the hard times to come.
Now Jesus is bringing it all to a close with this prayer. It is a powerful and densely packed prayer, that has rightly been nick-names the “High Priestly prayer”. Jesus seems to take up the office of a priest, interceding for his people.
Not only is this prayer a culmination of the teaching Jesus had been doing that night, it is also a summary of many of the important themes that have been running though the whole book. It’s a wonderful high point, although the great climax of the story is yet to come.
This whole chapter is one prayer, and it is clearly divided into three focus areas. We’re going to look at each focus in turn!
Join me!

1. Jesus Prayer for Himself (v1-5)

We don’t get heaps of insight into the way Jesus prayed. We know he prayed a lot! Sometimes all night! But the content is often a mystery. Yet there are a few occasions where the curtains are pulled back and we get a front row seat on the relationship between God the Father & the Son. It also shows us how to pray.
You might think that it’s weird that Jesus prays. Isn’t he God? Why does he pray to himself?
Well, you must remember, our ONE God (as we heard in De 6) is three persons, Father, Son and Spirit. They are in a perfect loving union.
“one God in trinity and the trinity in unity,
neither blending their persons
nor dividing their essence.” (excerpted from Athanasian creed).
There are distinct persons in God, in loving relationship. What person among you has a deep and close relationship what has no communication? Best mates talk to each other. Pen pals write long letters. Spouses converse. Daughters look for a sympathetic ear in their Mothers. Fathers grunt knowingly at their sons. Siblings chat when they should be sleeping!
We communicate with those we love!
So to, God the Son talks lovingly to His Father. He prays.
He prays with eyes lifted heavenward. Not because God is physically manifested in outer-space, but because our Father “art in heaven” - the spiritual world beyond our sight.
What does Jesus say?
John 17:1 NIV
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
There’s a lot in there. Lets break this down!
Jesus starts by acknowledging his time has come. The hour is upon him. The hour he came for. The culminating hour of His whole mission.
Now that the special hour has arrived, what is Jesus praying for? He is praying that God the Father would Glorify the Son.
This is scandalous! Jesus is asking the Father to give his glory to another!
But we read in Isaiah:
Isaiah 42:8 ESV
I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols.
So, if Jesus is asking the Father to give him His glory, that can only mean two things either - 1, Jesus is asking the Father to do something he won’t do, or 2, Jesus is God and so he can receive God’s glory.
Obviously it’s number 2!
What is glory? Weight, honour, prestige, shining, radiance, magnificence. Like the rays of the sun are the Sun’s glory.
Now Jesus wants the Fathers glory, so that he, the son, can glorify the Father. It’s almost like Jesus is asking for an investment - make a deposit and it will be returned with profit!
The son wants to emanate the same glory of the Father, so if you were to see the glory of the son, you see the Father. (where have I read that recently?)
How? How does the son plan to glorify the father?
At the cross!
In the following verse:
John 17:2–3 NIV
For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Given the Son authority over all “flesh” - all people - to grant eternal life. Don’t miss the significance of authority over all people!
Who gets eternal life? all those who the father gives to the Son
How can they receive eternal life? Knowing God in Jesus Christ, the god-man messenger.
That’s how you can receive eternal life! Jesus gives it as a gift, and you receive through faith. Not faith in an ethereal force, faith in a real savior who really walked the earth.
Don’t worry about whether or not you are one of the elect ones who the Father has given to the Son. The proof is borne out in life - real faith evidenced by real spiritual fruit.
The glory exchange between son and father is nothing new...
John 17:4–5 NIV
I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Jesus has already been about the father’s mission the whole time he’s been on earth. The Father has been glorified through this work of Jesus.
His mission is almost up, and so Jesus prays for a return to glory he had.
Jesus asks for the Father’s glory, so that he can glorify the Father.
Jesus has always been glorifying the father, but now he has done it through the mission to give eternal life. To save God’s people.
Afterwards, Jesus will return to the Father’s presence - where he presently awaits a return to judge the living and the dead.

2. Jesus Prayer for Apostles (v6-19)

Next Jesus prays for the Apostles. There are things about this prayer that have implications for all disciples, but Jesus is specifically praying for that 12, well now 11, who will have a huge job and a huge impact in the coming days after Jesus’ glorification.
First Jesus relates what has happened. Not because Jesus or the Father were unaware, but for our sake, and the sake of those listening in that room - Jesus tells that Father about what he has done.
John 17:6–7 NIV
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.
Jesus revealed the Father to the chosen 12-1.
They are part of the people that the Father has given to the Son, but they were set aside for a special purpose as the founders of the church.
Now they have certain knowledge - as revealed in the last passage. They are convinced that Jesus is from God, an not just a mere man. Not just another teacher or prophet. He is God in flesh!
How do they know?
John 17:8 NIV
For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.
Jesus has been a faithful messenger, passing on all that the Father wanted Him to say. The son & father are in perfect unity, even down to the words that come out of Jesus mouth.
Jesus has shared that truth over the years among them, and through that truth, they have come to believe.
It is the same for us - we beleive on the basis of revealed truth. “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” Ro 10:17.
Next Jesus outlines the current state of affairs:
John 17:9–11 NIV
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.
Jesus prayer is not universal, it is not for all, but for his own, who are the Father’s own.
There is complete unity between Father & Son
The disciples have brought Glory to Jesus - how? Not sure yet, but certainly the days following this prayer will show that!
Jesus talks in a kind of future present (and I don’t mean that in a grammatical sense) - he’s talking about things to happen in the near future as though they are now happening.
Jesus is leaving, as he has regularly warned, and so now he asks the Father to look after his disciples in his absence. because...
John 17:12–13 NIV
While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.
Jesus cared for his disciples, and kept them safe. All except Judas. But Judas was destined for destruction. Judas made his own choices, but it was all in accordance with God’s plan.
Jesus didn’t set out to “save” Judas, he was not one of the ones to be given eternal life.
As I mentioned, this prayer was for other’s benefit - so that they (and we) may have a full measure of Joy!
John 17:14 NIV
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
Jesus has given his disciples the Word of God, and the world hates it.
God’s word is at odds with the world - it puts them in the wrong. It shames them, it points our their guilt and pride. There is no halfway with God, we wither submit to Him, or we hate him. Deceiving yourself into a false sense of security is just a way to cover up hate.
Now we come to the requests:
John 17:15–19 NIV
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Keep them from the evil one, within the world.
Sanctify them in the truth
Keep them in your name (v11)
Jesus consecrates himself, dedicates himself, makes himself set apart, for the sake of His disciples, so that they may be made holy.
Jesus is outward focused, bringing Glory to the father by saving his people through God’s word.

3. Jesus Prayer for all Disciples (v20-26)

But Jesus isn’t Just praying for the 11 disciples, later called apostles. He is praying for all of his disciples into the future. He is praying for you and I!
What does he pray?
Prayer for unity with one another
John 17:20–21 NIV
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you 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.
Prayer for all disciples
Prayer for our collective unity. Unity in what? Christ! Not a notional unity for the sake of putting on a good face. A true unity like Father & son.
Not an issue of denominations, rather of true and false profession. There must be divisions for genuine faith.
Unity together, and unity in God! see following...
Prayer for unity with God
John 17:22–23 NIV
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Unity with God. Union with Christ - the present state of the believer. Moving to complete unity.
This will reveal to the world God’s love and Christ as true messenger.
Jesus wants us to be with him and see his glory.
John 17:24 NIV
“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
Woo hoo! What a comfort!
Jesus wants his people to be with him and to see him as he really is! In all his glory!
Jesus pledges to keep making the Father known
John 17:25–26 NIV
“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
“they” being disciples.
Jesus will continue to make the father known even as he leaves.
So that the love of God and God himself will be with his disciples.

So What?

Jesus asks for the Father’s glory, so that he can glorify the Father.
Jesus has always been glorifying the father, but now he has done it through the mission to give eternal life. To save God’s people.
Afterwards, Jesus will return to the Father’s presence - where he presently awaits a return to judge the living and the dead.
Jesus is outward focused, bringing Glory to the father by saving his people through God’s word.
Unity, with God & one another.
Jesus wants us to be with him and see his glory!
Jesus will keep making the father known!
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