Christ’s Priestly Prayer – Part 1

by | Posted May 29th at 5:15am

John 17:1–5 (ESV): …he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Although Mt 6:9–13 and Lk 11:2–4 have become known popularly as the “Lord’s Prayer,” that prayer was actually a prayer taught to the disciples by Jesus as a pattern for their prayers. The prayer recorded here is truly the Lord’s Prayer, exhibiting the face to face communion the Son had with the Father.

Very little is recorded of the content of Jesus’ frequent prayers to the Father (Mt 14:23; Lk 5:16), so this prayer reveals some of the precious content of the Son’s communion and intercession with Him. John chapter 17 is a transitional chapter, marking the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry and the beginning of His intercessory ministry for believers (Heb 7:25).

In many respects, the prayer is a summary of John’s entire gospel. Its principal themes include: 1) Jesus’ obedience to His Father; 2) the glorification of His Father through His death and exaltation; 3) the revelation of God in Jesus Christ; 4) the choosing of the disciples out of the world; 5) their mission to the world; 6) their unity modeled on the unity of the Father and Son; and 7) the believer’s final destiny in the presence of the Father and Son.

The chapter divides into three parts: 1) Jesus’ prayer for Himself (John 17: 1–5); 2) Jesus’ prayer for the apostles (John 17: 6–19); and 3) Jesus’ prayer for all NT believers who will form the church (John 17: 20–26). 1

In John 17:1 the hour has come for the time of His death. (see John 12:23). The very event that would glorify the Son was His death. By it, He has received the adoration, worship, and love of millions whose sins He bore. He accepted this path to glory, knowing that by it He would be exalted to the Father. The goal is that the Father may be glorified for His redemptive plan in the Son. So He sought by His own glory the glory of His Father (John 13:31, 32).

In John 17:2 we note that Christ has authority over all flesh. (cf. John 5:27; Mt 28:18).  A reference to God’s choosing of those who will come to Christ is noted “to all whom You have given Him” (John 6:37, 44). The biblical doctrine of election or predestination is presented throughout the NT (John 15:16, 19; Acts 13:48; Romans 8:29–33; Ephesians 1:3–6; 2 Thess 2:13; Titus 1:1; 1 Pe 1:2).

In John 17:3 eternal life is brought into focus. (cf John 3:15, 16; 5:24; 1 Jn 5:20). In John 17:5 Jesus prays “glorify Me together with Yourself”. Having completed His work (John 17: 4), Jesus looked past the cross and asked to be returned to the glory that He shared with the Father before the world began (see John 1:1; 8:58; 12:41). The actual completion of bearing judgment wrath for sinners was declared by Christ in the cry, “It is finished” (John 19:30).

1 MacArthur Study Bible NASB

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