John 17 is a very rich passage – it’s Jesus’ prayer before he is arrested, falsely tried, beaten and crucified. In it we see several things that are emphasized.
- Glorifying God – Jesus glorified God on Earth. How? By fulfilling the Father’s plan perfectly and faithfully. Likewise, we glorify God by doing his will – avoiding sin and pursuing righteousness, making disciples, and many other God glorifying things. (v1-5)
- Word of God – Jesus says that he ‘gave them the words you gave me’ (v8). We are blessed that we have these words. Think of how many people gave their lives in order for us to have English Bibles, how long people before us didn’t have access to them, and how many people still don’t have access to God’s words in their own language. Treasure God’s word – study it, meditate on it, soak in it. Jesus’ mission was partially to give us the words of God. They are pure truth, and bring spiritual growth (AKA “sanctification” v17)
- Prayer – Jesus is praying for the Father’s strength to finish the mission…he knows exactly what is before him – the cross. If Jesus prayed for strength to stay the course – how much more should we?
- Jesus prays for you – well, if you are a believer that is. v20-21:
“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. (John 17:20-21, ESV)
Jesus prays for those who will believe in him thru the work of the disciples who will faithfully carry his words forward in the future. Followers of Jesus are still carrying on that mission – bringing God’s word – holding fast to this ‘word of life.’ (Phil 2:!6) The word brings spiritual life! Jesus, the God-in-flesh, came from the Father on a mission to redeem a sinful fallen human race, to give the precious words of life, that those who believe may have life in his name. As we draw near to Good Friday and Easter, how sweet these words are.