While the other Gospel writers have focused on the events that took place in the Garden, John takes a step back and tells us the events before they reached the Garden. Jesus’ longest recorded prayer came just moments before His capture as He prays for Himself, for His disciples and for everyone who will ever believe in His name. As His hour of crucifixion was fast approaching, Jesus prayed to His Father that He may be glorified and said that the Father has given the Son authority over all people that we may have eternal life through Him.
Jesus is life and because of Him, we have eternal life. Eternal life has nothing to do with golden roads or pearl crusted gates but it is simply knowing the one and only God and having a relationship with the creator of the universe.
Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.John 17:5
Jesus had brought glory on earth by walking in the path the Father had planned for Him. And now as His Mission on earth is drawing to a close, Jesus is not asking God to praise Him for what He is about to do but He is praying to be united with His Father to His former glory. The glory that He had to set apart when He came down to die for our sins. Through His death on the cross, Jesus will not only bring glory to His name but will also be giving Glory to the Father through His obedience.
The next part of His prayer focuses on the disciples who will be running around like headless chickens after the capture and crucifixion of Jesus. But Jesus prays for their protection against the forces of evil and asks God to sanctify them so that they continue Christ’s mission.
All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.John 17:10
In all the encounters of Jesus with the evil spirits, they all gave glory to Him. Jesus rightly said that if we do not use our freedom which Christ has given us, to praise Him, the stones will take our place. The creations know the creator and will jump at the chance to praise Him but only one of those creations can Glorify His name. Just like the Father and the Son are one, we are also connected to the Father through Jesus our True Vine. By obeying God’s words Jesus brought Glory to His Father and by obeying Jesus, we can Glorify His name. Jesus chose to reveal the Father to us and gave us His Spirit so that we may discern His will. Once the disciples were able to discern God’s will for their lives, they went to the ends of the world Glorifying Jesus. Do our actions Glorify the Creator or are we busy trying to be glorified by His creations?
Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.John 17:11
Name here could mean title or reputation as Jesus is talking about the power of God to protect us. It can also mean the characteristic of God to always care for and protect His people. The same name or title is given to the Son as Jesus protects us from the evil forces to make us one with Him and His father.
None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.John 17:12
This verse is quoted by people to stress the point that we have no free will to choose our path. Is our destiny already decided by God with us being only passengers on it? Jesus, who knew what was in Judas’ heart and what he had planned to do but still gave Him the permission to betray Him to the Pharisees. Judas was in control of his actions just like us when we go to betray our Lord. God used this instance of betrayal for His purpose and He can use our betrayals too. God’s purpose will always be accomplished regardless of our relationship with Him, the only difference is if we are not with Him we are on the other side with satan watching His plan unfold to our detriment.
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.John 17:15
With the protection the name of God provides us, He wants us to remain in this world to accomplish His purpose thill the appointed time. While on the earth, Jesus obeyed His father and in the process impacted countless lives. If we are to be like Him we must also allow God to use us as vessels, vessels that are empty and will be filled with the New Wine.
For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.John 17:19
Though the same verb is used in the above verse, according to the earlier Greek translation, the first sanctify is used to denote the setting apart of the priestly clan. Through sanctification, the priests dedicated their life to the service of the Lord. Through their service, the rest of the clans were sanctified or made holy to come in the presence of God. Similarly, Jesus was sanctified (set apart) to obey God’s will and die on the cross for our sins and through His sacrifice, we are sanctified (made holy) to come in the presence of our God.
I have made you known to them and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.John 17:26
Jesus also prayed for all the believers who, upon hearing the Gospel, will put their trust in Him. He wants us also to be one with Him and the Father, and prays for us to be given the same Glory that the Father gave Him. We are all sanctified by the blood of Jesus that has introduced us to God but sanctification is an ongoing process. Day by day we are sanctified further through His word as the glory of God is revealed to us a little more.
V5: Why is Jesus asking to be glorified? What does Glory mean in this context?
V10: How did Glory come to Jesus through His disciples?
V11: What is the ‘name’ that God gave to the Son and how does that name have the power to protect us?
V12: Is our destiny already decided by God, with us only being passengers on it?
V15: Why is Jesus asking His Father to not take the disciples out of the world?
V17-18: Why did Jesus have to sanctify Himself for us? What does it mean to be sanctified?