The High Priestly Prayer
17 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
John 17 Commentary
by Hank Workman
There’s a beautiful prayer Jesus prayed that last night of His earthly life. It was a prayer for his disciples. He prayed over them for what they were about to face, the calling on their lives. But it was also a prayer for us, for future Believers. It’s quite astounding when you think of it.
“I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.”John 17:20-21
Jesus broadened the scope of his prayer. He had a vision far beyond what was taking place that last night – and it involved all who would come to faith by the very testimony of the disciples. And truly it was about unity. For Jesus saw one day a great multitude of people surrounding the throne of God from every race, tongue, class, social status, and prays for each of us to come together in unity. As He goes on in this prayer it is obvious the goal is for us in our own unity to be a statement to the world that would draw them to Him as well. He prayed for a unity of love that would make a difference.
But that was not the end. Jesus’ prayers continued for us even to this day!
“Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” –Romans 8:34
The author of Hebrews states:
“…he (Jesus) holds his priesthood permanently, because he continues forever. Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost[b] those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.”Hebrews 7:24-25
Yes, Jesus’ work on the cross was complete when He cried out, “It is finished” (John 19:30) but His intercession and prayers for us as His beloved children will never be finished. This is where we must gather our hope! Jesus is actively interceding for each of us right now. He is our Advocate. He is our Defender. Jesus intercedes before the Father unlike Satan who as the great accuser continues to drive our sins and weaknesses before God. He did this with Job. He did it with the High Priest Joshua. He does it with all who are seeking God.
But hear this, these accusations fall on deaf ears when it comes to God! Praise the name of Jesus! For Jesus’ work on the cross took care of all this and when we turn to Him we are made whole, complete. And until we come face to face with our Lord and Savior, Jesus will continue to intercede before the Father on our behalf!
John 17 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
I cannot think of a more powerful prayer in all of Scripture. Through Jesus’ words, much is revealed.
- Eternal life = knowing Jesus Christ and the one true God (John 17:3)
- Glorification on Earth = total obedience to the work God has given you (John 17:4)
- The glory of Jesus spans before time and space (John 17:5)
- God’s requirement of Jesus (and us) is the manifestation of His Name to humanity (John 17:6)
- God’s purpose in sending Jesus is that we would know Him (John 17:7-8)
- Though Jesus laid down His life for all, the unbelieving world will not share in His family; only His children will receive the blessing of His prayers (John 17:9-10)
- Jesus cares deeply for His children and leads them exactly where they need to be in order for God’s will to be accomplished (John 7:12)
- Jesus’ desire for us is joy, and He has asked God the Father to protect His children from the evil one (John 17:15)
This all leads us to verse 20, where Jesus turns to you and I and prays specifically for us before going to the cross.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.John 17:20-21 ESV
“I do not ask for these only, but also for _______ who will believe in me through their word.” If you know Christ, fill in the blank with your name. Jesus prayed for you. He knows you personally. Even before He went to the cross, He knew who His children would be. He knew that the disciples would not fail to take the Gospel into the world. He knew the Scriptures would be preserved for thousands of years. He knew one day you would walk into His church, or pick up a Bible, or listen to an evangelist proclaim the Gospel… and you would believe.
Those of us who believe and confess by faith that Jesus is our Lord and Savior are one with Jesus and one with God the Father. We are grafted into the family of God through Jesus for the sake of demonstrating to the world that Jesus is King. We are not just saved; we have a mission and purpose. Those who have such a relationship with Jesus will be known by their extreme love, just as Jesus was.
I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”John 17:26 ESV