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John 17 (web)

Jesus' Prayer of Departure

1  Jesus said these things, and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said,

Jesus Prays for Himself

"Father, the time has come.
Glorify your Son, that your Son may also glorify you;
even as you gave him authority over all flesh,
he will give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
This is eternal life, that they should know you,
the only true God, and him whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on the earth.
I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do.
Now, Father, glorify me with your own self
with the glory which I had with you before the world existed.

Jesus Prays for his Disciples

I revealed your name to the people
whom you have given me out of the world.
They were yours, and you have given them to me.
They have kept your word.
Now they have known that all things whatever you have given me are from you,
for the words which you have given me I have given to them, and they received them, and knew for sure that I came forth from you, and they have believed that you sent me.

I pray for them. I donít pray for the world,
but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
10  All things that are mine are yours, and yours are mine,
and I am glorified in them.
11  I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them through your name which you have given me,
that they may be one, even as we are.
12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in your name.
Those whom you have given me I have kept.
None of them is lost, except the son of destruction,
that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
13  But now I come to you, and I say these things in the world,
that they may have my joy made full in themselves.
14  I have given them your word.
The world hated them, because they are not of the world,
even as I am not of the world.
15  I pray not that you would take them from the world,
but that you would keep them from the evil one.
16  They are not of the world even as I am not of the world.
17  Sanctify them in your truth. Your word is truth.
18  As you sent me into the world, even so I have sent them into the world.
19  For their sakes I sanctify myself,
that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

Jesus Prays for all Believers

20  Not for these only do I pray,
but for those also who believe in me through their word,
21  that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you,
that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that you sent me.
22  The glory which you have given me, I have given to them;
that they may be one, even as we are one;
23  I in them, and you in me, that they may be perfected into one;
that the world may know that you sent me, and loved them, even as you loved me.
24  Father, I desire that they also whom you have given me be with me where I am, that they may see my glory, which you have given me,
for you loved me before the foundation of the world.
25  Righteous Father, the world hasnít known you, but I knew you;
and these knew that you sent me.
26  I made known to them your name, and will make it known;
that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them."

Discussion Questions

vs 3 What is "eternal life"?
vs 4 If you were about to die today could you say to God as Jesus did, "I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do."?
vs 6 What is characteristic of those given to Jesus?
vs 6-19 What particular things did Jesus request for his disciples?
vs 20-26 And for all believers?
What does he mean by being one and how can it be achieved?
vs 17 What does it mean to be sanctified in the truth?
How might we apply Jesus' example in this chapter to our own ministry?


vs 1 After Jesus talked to men about God he then talked to God about men. Though we may all wish to glorify God in the eyes of men, yet it is human nature that people won't listen till we win a hearing, gaining their respect. God had won such a hearing for Jesus previously through the miracles he had given him to do and here Jesus has in mind the events surrounding his death and resurrection. So also not only is it that when we lift up Jesus glorifying him that we draw people to him, but also as we minister the gospel it is in God's interest to glorify us in some appropriate manner so that we might win a hearing. Glorify your sons that your sons may glorify you.

vs 2 Jesus has authority over everyone, not only for salvation but for condemnation. For in the end when people face God's judgment it will be Jesus they will face. (John 5:22) Jesus speaks of dispensing eternal life to all the Father has given him. He spoke of the Father giving people to him previously:

John 6:39  This is the will of my Father who sent me, that of all he has given to me I should lose nothing, but should raise him up at the last day.
John 6:65  He said, "For this cause have I said to you that no one can come to me, unless it is given to him by my Father."
John 10:29  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all. No one is able to snatch them out of my Fatherís hand.
But these do not preclude the idea of one's choice also being involved in qualifying to be given to Jesus. But if one is cooperating with the Holy Spirit in developing saving faith, such a person will eventually be led to Christ. For he is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father but by him. But in a similar manner God will also give us men to bring to Christ.

vs 3 What is eternal life? The Biblical concept of eternal life is not simply the idea of an eternal existence. Everyone has eternal existence. But it's either eternal life or eternal condemnation. Eternal life is a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. "That" refers to "essentially". "Know" here is ginosko - personal relational knowledge. Those who have the Son have life. Those who don't have the Son of God don't have life. Thus though there many aspects to eternal life, essentially it is having a right relationship with God and Jesus Christ, knowing them personally

vs 4 Here's a verse which should motivate the objective minded. Jesus understood that his life was about accomplishing particular tasks that God had given him to do. He wasn't trying to earn his own salvation, though he was working to gain salvation for others. So also with us Christians. Having been saved we work for the sake of other people's salvation. And we should keep in mind what it is that God wants us to accomplish. What is it that God wants us to do. So at the end of our lives we may be able to say with Jesus, "I glorified you on the earth. I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do." Or with Paul, "I have fought the good fight. I have finished the course. I have kept the faith." 2Tim 4:7

vs 5 Before the world existed, Jesus was the Word of John 1:1 who in the beginning was with God and who was God. What kind of glory was that of which Jesus was requesting? Previously he spoke of his earthly glory. But now he speaks of a glory absent of the earthly. I think Jesus here is speaking of his ascension into heaven, being glorified in the presence of the angels, a heavenly glory which believers will also face one day as he said, "I tell you, everyone who confesses me before men, him will the Son of Man also confess before the angels of God." Luke 12:8

vs 6,7 Accepting Christ incorporates accepting who he is and what he said. But this is not to say that one will necessarily understand all the implications of what he said. Theologians at times demand too much understanding and consensus on every theologial detail before reckoning people to be in Christ. The apostles themselves didn't understand everything by this time even after having been with Jesus for years, as is apparent by their questions and comments in the gospels. So also there are theological disagreements between legitimate Christians as to interpretations and applications of various verses, but the important thing is whether one believes Jesus is who he claims to be and whether he is sincerely trying to "keep his word", regardless of what denomination he belongs to.

vs 9 Now Jesus prays for his disciples exclusively. By "I don't pray for the world" he means just with reference to his immediate prayer. But Jesus does take special care of those closest to him.

vs 10 Though Jesus is under the Father's authority, yet just as a son shares in his father's possessions, so also the Father has allowed Jesus to share in all his things. We previously saw, for example, in John 5:22 that God entrusted all judgment to the Son that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. But in particular here he is speaking of his disciples being a common possession shared in by himself and his Father. Being glorified in them will become increasingly apparent as the apostles end up giving their lives for Christ.

vs 11-12 The believers are kept safe and secure by the power of God and in accordance with the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. One is drawn to the illustration of the good shepherd in that it is not the sheep's responsibility to keep himself in the flock and protected from the wolves. That is the shepherd's responsibility.

Unity ("being one") cannot be legislated. Rather it should be an outworking of the natural relationship God has established between himself and those who have been born of God. Unity with God results in unity with one another. See also "Christian Unity".

But Judas represented the wolf among sheep doomed to destruction just as there are wolves among the Christian community.

vs 13 Previously he promised answers to prayer partly for the sake of the disciples experiencing joy in the midst of tribulation. So also he offers these words as a source of encouragement to them. But also Jesus speaks here about his own joy, even though he faced the cross.

"Therefore let us also, seeing we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." Heb 12:1,2
vs 14,16 The disciples will experience the same kind of contempt by the world which Jesus also experienced. John later writes, "Donít be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. He who doesnít love his brother remains in death.  Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life remaining in him."1John 3:13-15

Jesus saying "they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." challenges the popular misconception in the Christian community that "Christians are not perfect, just forgiven", often used as a bumper-sticker. Actually Christians are more than just forgiven. We are born from above. We are new creatures. (2Cor 5:17) And our citizenship is in heaven. (Php 3:20) We are not of the world even as Jesus was not of the world.

vs 15 We look forward to our being taken out of the world, but for now we have a mission to accomplish to walk as Jesus did. But we must "be sober and self-controlled. Being watchful. Our adversary the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Let us withstand him steadfast in your faith, knowing that our brothers who are in the world are undergoing the same sufferings." 1Peter 5:8,9

vs 17 To sanctify is to set apart. The Bible is what sets the Christians apart. For the apostle writes, "We are of God. He who knows God listens to us. He who is not of God doesnít listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error." 1John 4:6

vs 18 As I mentioned, we are sent on a mission as the Lord himself had been sent on a mission. It is a mission which we are responsible to fulfill and to which we will be called into account. It is a mission to save the lost.

vs 19 Jesus sets himself apart in the world as the example for the Christians to follow.

vs 20 Here Jesus transitions his thought from his immediate disciples to the generation of disciples which will follow them even down to our own time. Corporate Christianity often devalues the individual, but Jesus has in mind the individuals, praying at first for his own disciples and extending his prayer to their disciples. An application of this is to pray for particular individuals with particular needs and then extend the prayer to all individuals with such needs. For most people aren't all that much different in what they need prayer for, and yet we need to keep it personal rather than vaguely focussing on an impersonal corporate body. Notice for example that the word "church" itself has become so impersonal in some sectors as to simply refer to a physical building or institution, or at most incorporating only the clergy rather than as Jesus says, "all who believe in me through their word."

vs 21,23 As the light is to the sun, so is Jesus to the Father. "His Son is the radiance of his glory, the very image of his substance."Heb 1:3 Jesus is as God's body. Christians are the outward expression of Jesus. We are what Jesus wears. We are God's clothes. But in behaving as God's clothes, we must also "put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, for its lusts." Rom 13:14 "and put on the new man, who in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of truth." Eph 4:24  Christ lives in us in the person of the Holy Spirit who transforms us to be like Christ. And this supernatural intervention does also identify us as children of God. (1John 3:9,10)

vs 22 The glory was a done deal, but was yet to be revealed. The culmination of our glory yet lies in the future. (Rom 8:18)

vs 24 Eternal life is knowing God personally and knowing the Lord Jesus Christ. (John 17:3)  If we all saw Jesus in his glory we'd all give up our vain ambitions in life to follow him. For many though calling Jesus Lord don't do what he says, not having the revelation of what Lord means. And people will be drawn to him if we lift him up.

vs 26 To have God's love in us also implies having God's glory in us. For in verse 24 God glorified Jesus before the foundation of the earth because He loved him.

Christian Responsibilities

At the end of our lives we should be able to say:

vs 4 I glorified you on the earth
vs 4 I have accomplished the work which you have given me to do.
vs 6 I revealed your name to the people whom you have given me out of the world.
vs 9 I pray for them.
vs 12 I protected them and kept them safe
vs 14 I have given them your word
vs 18 I have sent them into the world
vs 22  I have given them the glory that you gave me
vs 26 I have made known to them your name

John 17 Rap

1 Father my time on earth is through
Glorify me to glorify you
2 You gave me the right to give life eternal
That I may save people from what is infernal
3 That they may know you, that is your intent
and Christ Jesus your Son, whom you have sent
4 While on the earth, I brought you glory
You gave me the work, and I finished the story
5 And now may I glory, when I come home
As I had long ago, before creatures did roam

6 I've revealed your name, to those you gave me
And they have obeyed, what you do decree
7 Now they do know, that all comes from you
Whatever I say, and whatever I do
8 They accepted my word, as holy and pure
They believed you sent me. Of this they were sure
9 Not for the world, but for these I have prayed
For those you have given. For those who have stayed
10 Yours are mine, and mine are for thee
And through them, glory's come to me.
11 I'm coming home, but they remain here
By the power of your name, protect them with care
12 I kept them safe, and gave them instruction
 None has been lost, but him doomed to destruction
13 I'm coming to you, but these things I say
So they may have joy, free from dismay
14Though given your word, yet they are despised
For they're not from the world, just as I am likewise
15 My prayer is not to take them, from this world of sin
But that you protect them, from the devil and his kin
16 They are not of the world, of this I've testified
17 By your word of truth, may they be sanctified
18 As you have sent me, them I've also sent
19 And sanctified myself, to save them from torment

20 My prayer is not for them alone, but also for those others
Who believe their message, those I call my brothers
21 May they be all one, just as you and me
That they may be in us, so that the world may see
22 To them I gave the glory, that to me you also gave
So may they be one as us, may it be how they behave.
23 I in them and you in me. 
May they be brought to unity.
So that the world may perceive
That you loved them as you loved me.

24 I want those you've given me, to be with me where I am.
To see the glory you've given me, before I was the lamb.
25 Though the world's a stranger, yet I know you well.
And these know you sent me, to save the world from hell.
26 I have made you known to them, and continue to do so.
That your love and me myself, may be in them also.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jan 28,2022