John 17 records our Lord’s “Great High Priestly Prayer” where He makes intercession for His disciples and believers throughout the Church Age to be protected, sanctified, and unified and for He and His Father to be glorified.
It contains the longest recorded prayer, which our Lord offered during His public ministry on earth and has been justly designated “His Great High Priestly Prayer.”
It was offered in the presence of His disciples, (excluding Judas Iscariot), after the institution and celebration of the Lord’s Supper and immediately following the “Upper Room and Gethsemane Discourses” recorded in John 14-16. He offered this prayer only moments before He was arrested in the Garden, John 18:1-11.
A.) There are three main parts to this prayer:
1.) Christ Prays for Himself, vs. 1-5. When Jesus prayed for Himself, He had in view not His own person but the plan of God the Father, and specifically Phase One, (the salvation of mankind).
2.) Christ Prays for His Disciples, vs. 6-19. Jesus prays for the Apostles, because they would be the instruments in beginning the Church Age.
a) There are three main aspects to this prayer for the disciples:
- He prayed that they might be kept, guarded, and unified, vs. 11, 15.
- He desired that the disciples might have His joy, vs. 13.
- He requested their sanctification, vs. 17, 19.
3.) Christ Prays for His Church, vs. 20-26. The Church will complete the work of God’s Plan for this Dispensation.
B.) Two main themes of this prayer:
1.) Unity of believers, “That they may all be one …” with “I in them.” Our Lord especially prayed that all believers might be as one body under one head, animated by one soul, by means of the Word of God and by our union with Christ and with the Father in us, all made possible through the indwelling Holy Spirit, 1 Cor 1:10; 12:12-27; Eph 4:1-6.
1 Cor 1:10, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment.”
2.) The glorification of believers; vs. 22, “I have given them the glory that You gave Me.” Jesus does not say, “I will give them,” because in the Plan of God, the believer has already been glorified, Rom. 8:30. We have been glorified from eternity past due to God the Father’s omniscience of our positive volition towards the gospel message in time.
Rom 8:30, “And these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified, (in eternity past).”
C.) Christ as the High Priest Prayed for:
- His own Glorification, vs. 1-5.
- The believer’s Protection and Security, “give them safe passage in the world,” vs. 6-12.
- The believer’s Joy, vs. 13.
- The believer’s Deliverance from the Evil One, vs. 15.
- The believer’s Sanctification, “set them apart by means of Bible Doctrine in their souls,” vs. 17.
- The Unity of believers, “strengthen them through fellowship,” vs. 20-24.
- The Glorification of believers, “deliver them home safely to eternity,” vs. 22-24.
- The believer to have God’s AGAPE Love in them, vs. 26.
C.) Our Lord applied much of the template for prayer He gave us in, Mat 6:9-12.
D.) This prayer, being address to God the Father, was listened to by the remaining 11 disciples.
E.) Jesus is speaking from His humanity as He addresses the throne of grace and says, “Father:”
- The term “Father,” although very common for the Christian today, was very uncommon in Jesus day.
- The address was that used by a little child in speaking to his parent, but when God was addressed, it was usual to add some qualifier; for example, a praying person might say, ‘Our Father in heaven.’
- God was thought to be so great and so high that He must not be addressed in the language appropriate for familiar use within the family, i.e. “Father.”
- Notice the way it runs through this prayer (vs. 5, 11, 21, 24, 25).
- Therefore, it is a kind of “conversational” address, the kind of conversation that takes place between a son and his “daddy.” Note also the posture of our Lord in vs. 1: That like a little child looking up to his father asking for all his desires.
- Our Lord’s intimacy with the Father is not only reflected in His prayer to the Father here, but He also indicates that it should greatly influence our prayers to the Father as well.
F.) In this prayer, our Lord uses the past tense for things that had not yet come to fruition. He is seeing it all as accomplished, which from the viewpoint of eternity past, they have been accomplished, as these future things in time are all part of God’s Divine Decree.
G.) The Translation and Doctrines we noted in the first part of this prayer, vs. 1-5, where Christ is praying for Himself includes:
Vs. 1, “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You.”
Principles and Protocols of Prayer
Vs. 2, “Just as You gave Him authority over all mankind, so that to all whom You have given to Him, He may give to them eternal life.”
Principles of The Church as the Bride of Christ; The Doctrine of Power – EXOUSIA, (Power or authority to do a thing, freedom to action, right to act, power over, license in a thing, an office, magistracy, or place or body of authority. He has the authority of the throne of rulership, and the office to officiate over the sacrifice.)
Vs 3, “Now this is (keeps on being) Eternal Life. Namely, that they might keep on knowing You, the only true God and Jesus Christ (the Messiah) whom You (God the Father) sent.”
The Doctrine of Eternal Life. Jesus defined eternal life as; to experientially, progressively “know…God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.” In other words, eternal life is the ongoing knowledge of the Father and the Son.
Vs. 4, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given to Me in order that I do it.”
Vs. 5, “And now, Father, You glorify Me by Your side with the glory which I always had beside You before the world existed.”
The Doctrine of Glory / Glorification.
John 13:31-32, “Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.”
H.) The Translation and Doctrines we noted in the second part of this prayer, vs. 6-19, where Christ is praying for His disciples includes:
Vs. 6, “I caused Your name (God the Father’s) to be made known to the men (disciples) whom you gave to Me out from the world, (Satan’s Cosmic System), they (the disciples) were Yours (God the Father’s) and You gave them to Me, Myself, and they have guarded Your teaching.”
The manifestation of God the Father by His Son.
- Jesus as the One who revealed God’s name, His essential nature and being, to men.
- The Father was the One who drew them to Christ, John 6:44, 65.
- “The men” are the ones who have kept God’s Word.
And, The Father’s gift to His Son, the disciples.
Vs. 7, “Now (prophetic regarding Pentecost +), they have come to know, that all things whatsoever You (God the Father) have given to Me (from eternity past) are from (the immediate source of) You.”
All things are from the Father
Vs. 8, “Because I have given to them, (the disciples), the words, (Bible Doctrine), You gave to Me, and they received them, and they truly understand that I came from (the immediate source of) You, and they believe that You sent Me.”
GNOSIS Doctrine must be turned to EPIGNOSIS Doctrine.
Vs. 9, “I keep on praying concerning them, I do not pray concerning the world, but concerning those whom You (God the Father) have given to Me, because they keep on being Yours.”
Jesus Prays for His disciples, not the world of unbelievers.
Vs. 10, “And every thing that is Mine is Yours and what is yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.”
The Unity of Possession between the Father and Son. Jesus is glorified by the grace gifts of God the Father.
Vs. 11, “I am no longer in the world, (His impending departure, The Cross), but they are in the world and I come to You Holy Father. Keep them in Your name, which You have given to Me, in order that they might keep on being one just as We are.”
The Doctrine of the Essence of God, His Holiness.
Vs. 12, “While I was with them, I Myself was continually keeping them in your name. You gave them to Me (in the past with the result that they belong to Me forever); and I absolutely guarded them, and not one of them was lost, (to eternal condemnation), except the son of destruction, with the result that Scripture might be fulfilled.”
Our Unity with Christ. His Guardianship of the Believer. Judas Iscariot the Son of Perdition. The fulfillment of Bible prophecy.
Vs. 13, “But now I myself come (face to face) to You, (God the Father) and I kept on speaking (teaching) these things (Bible Doctrine) while in the world in order that they (the disciples) might keep on having and holding My joy (+H) made full in themselves.”
Doctrine of Sharing the Happiness of God and PLEROO – Fullness of God
Vs. 14, “I have given (taught) to them (the disciples) Your, (God the Father’s), Word. (i.e., Bible Doctrine) and the world, (Satan’s Cosmic System), hated them because they are not of the world just as I am not of the world.”
The Importance of Bible Doctrine in your Soul; The Doctrine of Heavenly Citizenship, (POLITEUMA); The Life Beyond Gnosis; A Personal Sense of Destiny
Vs. 15, “I do not ask, (petition in pray), that You, (God the Father), take them, (the disciples), out from the world, (Satan’s Cosmic System), to the contrary that You guard them from the evil one (Satan).”
The TEREO (protection) of God from Satan’s Cosmic System.
Vs. 16, “They are not of the world just as I am not of the world.”
Seven ways in which believers are not of the world (we have a different position, birth, service, purpose, power, way of life, destiny.); Doctrine of the Evil One – Satanic Strategy.
Vs. 17, “Sanctify them (the disciples) in (the sphere of) Truth; Your (God the Father’s) Word is Truth (Bible Doctrine).”
Doctrine of Sanctification; Principles of Bible Doctrine as the “Truth.”
Vs. 18, “As You (God the Father) sent Me (God the Son) into the world, I (Jesus) also sent them (the disciples) into the world.”
The Commissioning of Believers by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Vs. 19, “And for their benefit (sake) I sanctify (set apart) Myself in order that they also may keep on being sanctified by means of THE truth (Bible Doctrine).”
Principles of Jesus sanctifying Himself for our benefit. We are sanctified by having the Word of God resident within our souls.
I.) The Translation and Doctrines we noted in the third part of this prayer, vs. 20-26, where Christ is praying for His Church includes:
Vs. 20, “Now I am not only asking (petitioning) concerning these (disciples), but also concerning those who will believe in Me through their word (preaching the gospel).”
Doctrine of the Church; Dispensational Orientation; Importance of the Local Assembly.
Vs. 21, “That they all may keep on being one (the Church), just as You, (God the) Father, are in Me (Jesus Christ) and I in You, that they also may keep on being in Us, so that the world (unbelievers) would believe that You sent Me.”
The petition for Positional Sanctification of the Body of Christ; The unity of the Trinity; The Biblical and Logical order of the Divine decrees.
Vs 22, “And the glory which You (God the Father) have given to Me (Jesus Christ) I have given to them (the Church), in order that they may keep on being one just as We are one.”
The Doctrine of Positional Truth (Retroactive and Current Positional Truth); Doctrine of Glory (Glory given to the Son and to the Church); Doctrine of the Indwelling of Jesus Christ; The Doctrine of the Veiled and Unveiled Person.
Vs. 23, “I (Jesus Christ) in (the sphere of) them (Church Age believers) and You (God the Father) in (the sphere of) Me, in order that they may be perfected in unity (with God), so that the world (unbelievers) would know that You sent Me and You loved them even as You loved Me.”
Personal Love of God the Father toward the Believer (including Divine Discipline, and prayer’s being answered).
Vs. 24, “Father, whom you have given to Me, I desire that where I am they (the Church) may be with Me, so that they would keep on beholding (with understanding) My glory which You have given to Me because You loved Me before the foundation (creation) of the world.”
Numerology and application of the uses of the phrase, “You have given to Me” in John 17, (especially the #’s 7 and 8).
Good Gifts Given by Our Father:
- The perfect provision of God’s Plan for our Salvation.
- The perfect provision of our Logistical Grace blessings.
- The perfect provision of prayer to the Father.
- The perfect protection of God the Father by His Essence.
- The perfect protection of God the Son by His Word.
- The perfection of Glorification, being made holy.
- The perfect provision of Eternal security.
- The perfect provision of a Resurrection body and life.
All combined we have the superabundance (#8) of the unique spiritual life given to believers by God the Father.
2 Cor 9:8, “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed.”
James 1:17, “Every good gift given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow.”
Mat 7:11, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
The Session of Jesus Christ; Beholding (THEOREO) the Glory of Jesus Christ; Principles of God the Father’s Love for His Son Jesus Christ.
Vs. 25, “Righteous Father, the world (unbelievers) has not known You but I, (Jesus Christ), have known You, and they all (believers of the Church Age) have known that You sent (commissioned) Me (our Lord’s First Advent).”
Doctrine of God the Father as Righteous, (the Integrity of God); The seven-fold mention of APOSTELLO: The Process, Precedent, Perpetuation, and Principle of God’s Plan of Salvation for all unbelievers of this world, plus the Prayer: (Jesus Christ’s petition to the Father – to satisfy His desire that all of mankind come to know God the Father for salvation.)
Vs. 26, “And I have made known (during His 1st Advent) Your name to them (believers for the Church Age) and I will make it known (post resurrection), with the result that the love, which love, You loved Me with may be in them, (Church Age believers), and I in them.”
The Great High Priestly Prayer of our Lord in John 17 includes:
Salvation. He has power to give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him, vs. 2-4. He glorified the Father in His life, and He finished the work He came to do on the Cross. There alone is redemption and salvation.
Manifestation. Vs 6, He revealed the First Person of the Trinity to the world and gave Him a name, “Father,” even calling Him “Holy Father” and “Righteous Father.” Such a name and relationship of the believer to God was not known in the Old Testament. The Son of God had to come from heaven’s glory and declare the Father. After He gave His life and rose from the dead, He spoke of “My Father and your Father” having now revealed Him to us, cf. Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6.
Mark 14:36, “And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”
Rom 8:15-17, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
Gal 4:6-7, “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”
Representation. He is our Priest and Advocate. He appears in the presence of God for us. Vs. 9, “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours.” Like the High Priest who wore the Ephod, (Ex 28:12), He carries only the names of His people upon His shoulders and upon His heart. He prays now for His church, His body, for every member, Rom 8:34; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 7:25; 1 John 2:1.
1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”
1 Tim 2:5-6, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”
Rom 8:34, “Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”
Heb 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
What comfort it should be to all of us to know Christ prays for us individually! His love and His power are for us.
Identification. We are one with Him, and all His Saints are one. The Church is His body, an organism and not an organization. He did not pray for a unity in organization, but for a spiritual unity, which exists. Vs. 21, “That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us.” That is, one with God, not one organized church.
Preservation. He prayed for the keeping of His own (TEREO, PHULASSO). He commits them into His Father’s hands (TEREO). The believers’ keeping for eternal life and glory rests not in their own hands but in His hands, Vs. 11, 12, 15.
Sanctification. Verses 17-19. He is our Sanctification. In Him we are sanctified positionally. We are also sanctified experientially by the Truth (Bible Doctrine), walking in it in obedience. Believers are constituted Saints in Christ and are called to walk in separation. The separating power is the Word and the Spirit.
Glorification. Verses 22, 24. This prayer is partially answered. Positionally “in Christ” we are glorified, (Rom 8:17, 28), and some day it will be fully answered when all His Saints will be with Him and experientially share His glory.
Rom 8:17, “And if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”
Rom 8:30, “And these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”
In the light of Jesus’ prayers for us, what should our relationship be to Him versus our relationship to the world, and what is our responsibility as we live in it?
1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh (appetite) and the lust of the eyes (beauty) and the boastful pride of life (ambitious pride), is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”