-Jesus now offers up prayers for Himself, His disciples, and future believers through the disciples’ word in this chapter, which could be entitled “The High Priestly Prayer.” He begins with asking the Father to glorify His Son so that the Son could glorify Him. This continues the acknowledgement that the gospel writer has previously established that there is a complete unity in the Godhead as well as we will see in His followers by faith. In other words, we are all one, bound together in this spiritual body of righteousness. Jesus expresses that the Father has given His Son authority over all flesh, “that to all whom You (the Father) have given Him (the Son), He may give eternal life.” Then another profound statement is offered in this prayer, “This is eternal life, that they may know (relationally) You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” Jesus proclaimed that He glorified His Father on the earth having accomplished the “work,” which He had been given to do. Now Jesus asks that He be glorified together with the Father with the glory which He had with Him before the world was created (John 17:1-5). This teaches us about the eternality of the Messiah. He is self-existent, timeless, and authoritative, just like His Father (John 1:1-5).
-Jesus now begins to pray for His disciples in a powerful way. Christ had manifested the Name of the Father to the men the LORD had given Him out of the world. They were marked out by the Sovereign and given to the Son, and they had been faithful to keep His word. They had come to know that everything the Father had given the Son was from Him alone. The Messiah had given them His words, and they received them and truly understood them as coming forth from the Father of Lights (illumination). They had believed in the sent One from God. Jesus asks for these things on their behalf (intercession), not on behalf of the unbelieving world, but on those who did have faith in the Son of God given by the Father. He prayed again that all things that were His, were the Father’s, and all things that were the Father’s, were His, plus He had been glorified in them. He said, “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your Name, the Name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.” The Christ had kept them in the Name of the Father while He was with them, and He guarded them so that none of them perished except the “son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled (Psalm 41:9).” Jesus comes to the Father and speaks these words so that their joy may be made full. He had given them His word and now the world hated them because they were not like the lost and dying world. They had become just like Jesus, strangers in a strange land. They were not where they belonged. They were now spiritual pilgrims passing through bound for their glory in Heaven, the Kingdom of God. However, for prudence’s sake, Jesus asks the Father not to take them out of this world, but to deliver them from the evil one. He goes further asking the LORD the sanctify them in the truth, proclaiming, “Your word is truth.” Just as the Father had sent His Son into the world, now the Son was sending His followers into the world, sanctified with the truth and set free from sin and the cares of this world (John 17:6-19)
-Jesus did not ask on behalf of these alone, but for all those (which includes us here today) who would believe in Him through the word of their testimony. He prayed that these would all be one; even as the Father and Son were in each Other, “that they also be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.” The Lord actually wanted to give His people the same glory that He had been given from the Father, “that they may be one,” just as the Father and Son were one. This is a remarkable prayer when we meditate on it. This, as Jesus continued, would give perfection in unity, so that the world would see that the Son was sent from the Father and loved all His dear children with an agape exactly the same as that given to the Son. Jesus petitioned the Father that His followers be with Him in intimacy where He was and actually see His glory that the LORD had given Him. Jesus said this love by the Father for Him was even before the foundation of the world, and though the world has not known Him, He had known and revealed the Father to humanity, especially those who had believed the message and His sending. Final analysis, Christ had made the Father’s Name known to them, and He would continue to make it known through the witness of His disciples with their coming filling by the Holy Spirit. The true love that was in the Godhead would be in all believers as Christ was indeed IN them (John 17:20-26).
-*Application*- C.S. Lewis has stated that we must conclude that Jesus Christ is either a liar, a lunatic, or the Lord. What are we to make of this mystical union of which Jesus speaks of here in this passage? Is it really possible that God would love His creation to the point that He would indwell the believer and radiate His glory through a once fallen being? Does He really want total and perfect unity with us? If we believe in Him through His word, then all of these things are actually possible. His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9). Let’s thank God for those who proceeded us that were faithful to deliver this Word, including of course the Apostle John in his faithful writing of the biblical text. These words from our Savior are golden. We should treasure them and live by them. Christ IN us, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:27).
Verse to Memorize: John 17:3, 20-21