The Lord's Prayer

John 17  •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
John 17
Jesus addresses the Father, His Father, as to His wishes. We are not sure that any of the disciples heard this or any other prayer, except when the Lord gave thanks for food, when at the grave of Lazarus, and when at the cross He cried, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."
As believers, we benefit much from this prayer. Not only do we learn the intimacy of the heavenly family and of heaven, where we soon shall enter, but also the special care of the Father for His children on the earth.
Jesus glorifies the Father by completing the work that the Father had given Him to do, the last being redemption. All here is in anticipation, as Jesus says, "The hour is come." The Father glorifies Jesus because of His perfect obedience in His work on the cross. (Glory is the display of excellence.)
The character of eternal life is the knowledge of the Father, and of Jesus Christ as the sent One. We have eternal life even before we enter heaven; we have it in Christ. In this prayer we have communion between the Father and the Son with regard to the disciples, according to the counsels of God in eternity. Also, we have our union with Him, both in the Spirit and in the Father. We are hidden in God. Christ communicates eternal life.
Christ (as man) prayed, saying, "O Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine own self with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was." This glory Jesus had as the eternal Son of God, with the Father, and for this glory He prayed.
Our place is assured by His place as a man. All that belonged to this position with the Father, joy and all, was now the portion of the disciples and us. All the joys and compassions of the Father towards Christ when here, were to be the same for His disciples when He left them to go to His Father.
Christ's heart is poured out to the Father, presenting personal wishes at the end of His journey on earth. The disciples (then and now) are the subject on His heart.
We have the divine nature-we in Christ and Christ in the Father. It is through this life and nature that we enjoy our relationship with the Father and the Son. We have the practical responsibility to treasure up the Word and to realize the character (manner of life) that becomes us as the children of God. We have the hope of the Lord's return before us when we shall see the divine glory, the Father's love filling Christ to overflowing, and all of the overflowing of love displayed in us.
We now share, as did the disciples, what had been His peculiar joy and consolation in His earthly path-the goodwill and joy that His Father had in Him, for He was the expression of the whole heart of God the Father, and in Him was found all moral glory and all the beauty of the character of the Father. He prayed that this goodwill and joy should be opened to them, and be made to dwell in them.
Christ, in manhood, had the power of eternal life to give to those whom the Father had given Him. Christ prayed for His own that the Father had given Him in this world.
We must remember that the delights of Christ have been with the sons of men from eternity. Soon He will come into the fruition of His desires; He will have us with Him forever. This is a special joy, all His own, although the Father will have His joy in the joy of Christ.
Christ prayed for His own who were in the world-not for the world.
There are three unities expressed in this prayer: 1. One in purpose: service with Christ and the Father while in this world (v. 11).
2. One with those who believe through the disciples' word (vv. 20,21).
3. One in glory before the world (vv. 22-24).
First Unity
While on earth, Christ kept His own in the Father's name. None of them were lost except Judas. Because He was leaving the world, He placed His disciples into the hands of the holy Father to keep them through the Father's name.
As long as the disciples were in the world, service was connected to this unity-one in purpose: service with Christ and the Father. Only if we walk in obedience are we kept in communion. Christ spoke of these things for the benefit of His own, while He was still in the world, that His people's joy might be full.
He prayed that the disciples might be kept from the evil-not taken out of the world, but sent here to fulfill their mission. "I have given them Thy word." It is through the Father's Word, which is truth, that His people are sanctified (set apart).
Second Unity
Jesus prayed for those who would believe through the disciples' teaching the Word of the Father, which was given them as to their mission. He prayed that all (the disciples and those who believed through them) would be one: just as the Father and Son are one, so those who believe are one in Them.
Third Unity
The glory that the Father has given to the Lord Jesus, as man, He has given to His own-a unity of Father, Son and believers. When the believers are manifested with the Son in His glory, then the world will know that the Father has loved His saints, even as He has loved His Son.
We have "Father" (v. 1), a term of endearment; "O Father" (v. 5), because He had finished the work that the Father had given Him to do; "holy Father" (v. 11), because Jesus was leaving His disciples in the hands of His Father to be kept in holiness until He returned for them. Last of all (v. 25), He spoke of the Father as "O righteous Father," because the judgment of the world was in view.
The three unities shine as a blessed testimony to the results of the work of Christ. They are all under the Father and nothing can ever break them, because they are based on the sure foundation of the finished work of Christ on the cross, the work which has brought in redemption.
When the Lord Jesus takes His own to heaven, we shall see all His glory-His personal glory as man, the glory that Father bestowed on Him, and the glory acquired by His work on the cross. Then we shall be with Him forever; then the world will know that we have been loved as Jesus is loved, when we appear in the same glory with Him. Our part is to know, now, Christ being in us. He loved us before the foundation of the world.
Perfect Serenity
We marvel as we observe the calm repose and collectedness of spirit, which show the majesty of Christ's Person, suggested in the reading of this seventeenth chapter of John. This comes just before He entered the awful reality of judgment, that no one before or after has experienced, nor could pass through, when He
cried, "My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?"
Having completed the work of redemption through atonement, He cried, "For Thou hast heard Me from the horns of the unicorns." Psa. 22:21. This wild beast, with overwhelming power, pictures the ultimate and final judgment that Christ bore for the glory of God and for us, His people. Immediately after (v. 22) He says, "I will declare Thy name unto My brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee."
What hinders us from enjoying this peace is self-will. Jesus completed all as subject to the Father's will.
Taking His stand on the accomplishment of His work and the revelation of His Father's name, He placed His disciples in His own position before His Father and the world. His own loved ones are left here in His place to witness for Him. Is that not the least that we can do?