By Colleen Donahue

For several hours Jesus had been talking with his disciples. In the short time he had left there were many last minute things to tell them. Jesus knew they may not remember it all but later the Holy Spirit would remind them.

The Apostle John writes, "After Jesus said this, he looked towards Heaven and prayed." Here in Chapter 17 of John's gospel (the focus of this study) we have a curtain drawn on a conversation Jesus is having with His Father and we are invited to listen in with the disciples.

We are about to hear what Jesus prays for himself and his disciples. But we will also listen in to what He asks about you and I! Yes, you heard right! Jesus looks down the centuries to where we stand today and prays for us. Here is a man facing death within hours and He's thinking of you and I.

Let's be still as we listen in to this important conversation and hear what......


Jesus Prays for Himself First

Day 1- We notice in John 17:1 Jesus says, "Father, the time (or the hour) has come." We have talked before that the climax of Christ's life was the cross. This is why He came. The events about to come are not a surprise. As you read these verses notice how they speak of this time -- "Christ's hour", or "Christ's time".
Matthew 26:45 / John 12:23 / John 13:1

Notice also that the Lord was shielded from anything happening to Him before He could finish what He came for.
John 7:30

Day 2- What does Jesus specifically ask His Father for?
John 17:1b

Day 3- God had given Jesus glory when he was sent to earth.
John 1:14

But in this request notice what Jesus is asking.

Day 4- Before the foundation of the world, in eternity, Jesus was one with God.
John 17:24b

He is asking now to be restored to that former glory he had with His Father. What does this mean? Glory isn't a term we often use today. The word for glory menas great praise or honor. It meant to have splendor, magnificence and majesty. For Jesus to ask for his former glory, He is asking to once again take his rightful place as God -- part of the Trinity -- in the splendor of an eternity called Heaven.

Day 5- The glory Jesus asks for is what He had given to His Father on earth. How did He do that?
John 14:13 / John 17:4

Day 6- In short Jesus glorified or honored His Father mostly because he was obedient.
John 14:31 / John 15:10 / Philippians 2:8 / Hebrews 10:9

Every time we obey God in our own life and calling, He is honored and we become part of the very fellowship of God.
John 14:23

And because we honor God with our love and obedience, He honors us by blessing our life.
James 1:25

Day 7- These are a few verses that beautifully describe the glory of Heaven.
Revelation 22:1-5

This is the paradise Jesus will be restored to. And this is the place where the Lord will prepare the eternal home of all who know Him.
John 14:2-3

Day 8- In Day 5 we saw that Jesus would glorify His Father "by completing the work you gave me to do". What work would Jesus soon be completing?
A) John 17:2
B) John 17:6-7
C)John 17: 8a,14a

Day 9- These three things are all related but let's look at them separately. Jesus, in giving us the gift of eternal life means that we no longer need to be separated from God because of sin and self. In a few short hours Jesus would pay the penalty we should have paid (i.e. death) and he will do it one time for all men in every century. In the Lord's next words He gives us a definition of eternal life. What is it?
John 17:3

By this definition Jesus clarifies that eternal life doesn't start somewhere off into a distant time. Why? Because we can know God and His Son Jesus right now.

Day 10- What does it mean to know God?
I believe there are three stages we go through in knowing God (the same as knowing any person). The first stage is when we learn about God through what he has made.
Psalms 19:1-2 / Psalm 97:4-6 / Acts 14:15-17 / Romans 1:20

Day 11- Then, because we know God's Son Jesus, we come to know God himself. We come to know Jesus when we invite Him into our life.
Revelations 3:20

Then we find in knowing Him that we come to know the Father.
John 14: 7-11

Day 12- Finally, we come to know God in much the same way a husband and wife know each other. We enter into friendship and fellowship involving our hearts, mind and soul.
Mark 12:30

This knowing of God comes only to those committed to loving and obeying God and listening for Him daily. God is so excited by this kind of person (the person who wants to know Him) that Isaiah says God wakes them up so that He can share more with them!
Isaiah 50:4b

Day 13- So the first work Jesus completed was in giving man the gift of eternal life (for all who would choose to know God and His Son).

The second work mentioned in Day #8 is found in John 17:6-7. When Jesus said, "I have manifested your name", it means that He revealed to His disciples (and then the world) who God was in His entirety. It was His mission while on earth.
John 18:37

Day 14- The third work mentioned in Day #8 is in John 17:8a,14a. Jesus gave us the words of God which are truth. He had a message for us from God and so the words that Christ spoke were beyond anything men had ever heard.
Luke 4:32 / John 6:63 / John 7:46 / John 14:24

Day 15- In summary Jesus delivered God's words (His message) to men, revealed God to men through His own life and brought the gift of eternal life to any man or woman who would love and obey God and come to know Him. For this finished work Jesus now asks His Father to give Him back the glory He once had in eternity. Was this request honored?
Let's look ahead and see how this is answered.
Philippians 2:9 / Colossians 3:1 / Revelation 5:12-13

Jesus Prays For His Disciples

Day 16- What three things had Jesus been faithful to do for His disciples?
John 17:6,8,14

Day 17- What does Jesus now ask God for on behalf of his disciples?
John 17:11, 13b, 15, 17-19

A. -- Jesus doesn't pray that his disciples will be taken out of the world. He does not want them to find escape but victory. Christianity isn't a release from problems but rather a way through them.

B -- The word for sanctify in John 17:17 is the Greek word "hagios". It means different or separate from ordinary things. It means to be set apart for a special task (Jeremiah 1:5) and to have the qualities of mind and heart needed to accomplish that task.

Notice also how specific Jesus is that these requests be for his own dear disciples.
John 17:9

Jesus is our intercessor as well and no doubt prays just as specifically for you and I.

Day 18- So often we have seen the disciples as rough, simple men with plenty of character flaws. But now we catch a glimpse of how Jesus sees them. Each of these verses enable us to learn something of these faithful men. Write each point down.

A- John 17:6
B- John 17:7
C- John 17:8
D- John 17:9
E- John 17:10
F- John 17:12
G- John 17:14,16
H-John 17:18

Here we see an example of the fact that while men can only judge what's on the outside, Jesus looks at our heart and sees our real thoughts and intentions.

Jesus Prays For Us!

Day 19- All believers are part of a long heritage that trace back to Jesus and his apostles. In this part of Jesus' conversation with God he looks down the centuries and prays for us!
John 17:20

Day 20- It's important for us to hear carefully what the Lord prays for us because we learn what is important to the heart of God. He has two main requests repeated several times.

A) Three times he asks for unity in our relationships with other believers.
John 17:21a, 22b, 23a

B) The second request is a little harder to see but it's expressed by Jesus four times. He asks that we may be part of the intimate fellowship of God. As you reread some of these verses notice this request expressed in different ways.
John 17:21,23,24,26

Without the unity as believers in Jesus Christ we can't be intimately united with God. Division that causes stress and pain among men would not be welcome in God's house.

Day 21- What will be the result to the world of our unity with believers and fellowship with God?
John 17:21, 23

It is more natural to be divided than united. Yet it's this unity that will convince the world of the truth of Christianity.

Day 22- Two times within this prayer Jesus expresses to God the request that He may be "in" every believer. In
John 17:23 it says, "I in them".
In John 17:26 it says "that I myself may be in them".

This is the reason that Jesus told his disciples that it would be good that He was going away.
John 16:7

While Jesus was on earth in a physical body he could only be one place at a time. He certainly couldn't be "in" anybody. But, if he went away, God would give the Holy Spirit (the very Spirit of Jesus) to every believer. This would mean every believer at the same time would have Jesus' Spirit within them and this Holy Spirit would make it possible for all believers to be united. This request as we may know was fulfilled starting at Pentecost (See Acts 2: 1-4) and will continue until Jesus comes again.

Day 23- According to Jesus what has he passed along to us like an inheritance?
John 17: 22a

What else was he faithful to do?
John 17: 26a

What are the results of the Lord's faithfulness in these two things? First, our unity with the Godhead (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) will enable us to experience the full love of God.
John 17:22-23
Second, it's so that Jesus himself would be able to dwell in all believers (through the Holy Spirit).
John 17:26b

We have caught a glimpse of what is most important to Jesus in regard to all believers -- so important that Jesus takes this time before His death to think of us.

If you are a believer, are you in unity with your brothers and sisters in Christ? If not, shouldn't this be a major concern? Your fellowship with God Himself may be affected.

Next Study: MPGC#13

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