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John 17:1-26

The Prayer of Jesus

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • November 10, 2013

In John 17, we find the famous prayer of Jesus that many call the high priestly prayer. For u,s it’s an insight into the relationship of Jesus to His Father and His heart that He pours out to God. We know that prayer was an intimate and significant aspect of His relationship to His Father; so much so that at one point the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray. Jesus encouraged both private prayer and public prayer that was used to encourage other believers and strengthen them. From these verses, we learn how to pray from the best Teacher there is, Jesus.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

The Prayer of Jesus 

John 17:1-26

In John 17, Jesus is with His disciples; it is only hours from when Jesus will be betrayed and arrested. Remember that Jesus is preparing His disciples for His departure.

He told them that He would send the Helper, the Spirit of truth to be with them and guide them into all the truth. He told them that if they would abide in Him, they would bear much fruit, in the same way that branches of grapes must abide on the vine in order to bear the fruit God desires.

He gave them a new commandment, that they must love one another even as Jesus had loved them. And He told them many more things to prepare them, but in John 17 He doesn’t speak to them, He speaks to His Father in their behalf.

This is a famous prayer of Jesus that many call the high priestly prayer, but for us it’s an insight into the relationship of Jesus to His Father and His heart that He pours out to God in their behalf.

We know that prayer was an intimate and significant aspect of His relationship to His Father; so much so that at one point the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray.

We also know that Jesus would often get away to a secluded place and pray. We can imagine him going up to one of the beautiful hills near the Sea of Galilee, or perhaps he would climb to the top of Mount Arbel overlooking the cities of Galilee and spend hours praying.

What would He pray? When He would go to a secluded place to pray, it was a private conversation between Him and His Father. Jesus is certainly encouraged private prayer. In fact, when Jesus was teaching them about the heart God desires He said, “When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you are praying, do not use meaningless repetition as the Gentiles do, for they suppose that they will be heard for their many words.”

But there were times when Jesus would pray publicly. Why? So that those who heard would be strengthened and encouraged knowing that these things were being prayed in their behalf. For example, when Jesus was about to raise Lazarus from the dead, He prayed, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me. I know that You always hear Me; but because of the people standing around I said this, so that they may believe that You sent Me.”

Another example might be praying for your children. God would have us intercede for them privately as part of our steadfast relationship. But there are also many times when we pray with them so they hear our prayers and are built up.

I used to drive our kids to school every day when they were little and we would spend that time singing songs and then I would pray. Hearing me pray would strengthen their faith and teach them to pray. Otherwise, they learn to pray things that aren’t edifying, “Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.”

If that should seems a bit unsettling, no worries, you could always sing a song, “Rock-a-bye baby, in the treetop, when the wind blows the cradle will rock…” If that doesn’t settle, you could always say, “Good night, sleep tight…”

I. He Accomplished the Work

A. Finish the course set before you

  • In verse 1 and 4, Jesus said that the hour had come, the end was near and that He accomplished the work which the Father had given Him to do.
  • God sent His Son to give eternal life, to reveal the heart of the Father, and to transform our lives.
  • Jesus gave it all, He was fully invested in the purpose of God in His life. What an example.

2 Timothy 2:15, Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 4:7, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;

Matthew 25:23, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’”

  • I want to follow this example, I want to be a better pastor; I want to be fully invested in what God has asked me to do.

Illus - When I went to OSU, I didn’t exactly give it “the old college try.” Let’s just say I wasn’t sending my grades home to mom. But in Bible college, it was a completely different thing. God had miraculously provided and I was going to give it my all.

B. Let God be seen in how you live

  • Jesus said that He manifested the Father’s name to those around Him. In other words, He didn’t just teach about the character of God, He manifested and displayed that character and power in His life.
  • We don’t just believe who God is, we need to live who God is so He is given the glory for it.
  • You need to tell the story of God showing up in your life. We were just studying that in the book of Jeremiah…

Jeremiah 9:23-24 Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord

Psalm 20:7, Some boast in chariots and some in horses, but we will boast in the name of the Lord, our God.

  • When you tell the story of God showing up in your life, you’re also manifesting His name.

Illus - I have many stories of God showing up amazingly and I could have done none of it; God showed up. There was that time when God brought a plane back to get me. There was that time when God provided health insurance so we could have another baby. Then there was that time when…

Matthew 5:14, 16, “You are the light of the world… Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

Illus – When I was 21 I was visiting the family of a friend and when their grandma got up to leave, no one offered to help her, but someone needed to…

II. Be Sanctified in the Truth

A. Receive the words God has for you

  • In the process of transforming you, God uses both the written word of God as well as the personal words that He speaks to your heart.
  • There are two primary Greek words which are translated ‘word’ in the New Testament and God uses both in the process of transforming our lives.
  • The Greek word, logos, refers to the total inspired Word of God and to Jesus, who is the living word.

John 1:1, In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

  • The Greek word, rhema, refers to a word that is spoken and in our case it is often when the Holy Spirit brings to our attention a verse or a portion of scripture and applies that to our current situation or a need for direction.
  • In verse 8 Jesus said, “The words (rhema) which you gave me I have given to them; and they received them.”
  • God often speaks a specific word or application just for you. He has a specific path for you to walk. We need wisdom and discernment to apply these things correctly.

Illus - Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times. That was a specific word just for Peter. After Jesus was resurrected and was walking with Peter along the shores of the Sea of Galilee, He even told him the manner in which he would die. Peter then said, “What about John?” Jesus responded, “If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!”

  • In other words, God deals with us individually.

Illus - Good parents will do the same. Some children are soft and easily corrected while others are harder and slower to hear.

  • God uses the written word of God to give us a foundation on which to build our lives, but He then also takes the Holy Spirit and applies specific truths to each person.

B. You’re in the world, but stay in Him

Illus - What if everyone got immediately transported to heaven the moment they received Christ? While there are some parts of that that sounds amazing, we can also see that there’s a reason we remain in the world. The world needs the church because the world needs the good news of the gospel.

Philippians 1:23-25, Having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith.

  • However, Jesus also said that while you’re in the world, there will be many troubles.

John 16:33, “These things I’ve spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

  • This is important to take hold of because some Christians expect that because they’re Christians, there will always be green lights; they will get every job they apply for, and the way will be paved before them and everyone will let you into traffic.
  • In fact, in verse 14, Jesus said that the world will even hate you because you are not of the world.To them, you represent some form of morality and they interpret that as a condemnation of the way they live.
  • But Jesus said that He is sending us into the world so the world may know that God sent His Son to reconcile the world to Himself.

Illus – I was a server in restaurants while going to Bible college and I saw both; some would stiff-arm me and keep a distance, while others would ask me to pray for them and ask questions about God.

  • But while you’re in the world, be sanctified in the truth, Jesus said. Be transformed by the truth.

C. Grow in the glory of God in you

  • In verse 22 Jesus said that He gives the glory of the Father to us. He’s not glorifying us, He’s glorifying the Father in us.
  • In other words, the presence of God in our lives is manifested by the transforming of our heart, soul, mind and strength.

2 Corinthians 3:17-18, The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.

  • Verse 26 sums it up powerfully, “… that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them.”

Illus – The shell of a kernel of popcorn cannot hold back when the inside has been heated. The outside shell gives way to what is happening on the inside. That’s a picture of the glory of God, the fire of God in us.

John 17:1-26      NASB

1 Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8 for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 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; 10 and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 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. 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.
 
13 But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to 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 the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. 20 "I do not ask on behalf of these alone, 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 in Us, so 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, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 "O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."
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