The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 17:1-26.
Here is the link to John 17:1-26 NASB I would strongly encourage you to read through it before proceeding.
The whole of Chapter 17 in the Gospel of John is the prayer that Jesus prayed to His and our Father, just prior to being arrested. You recall that in John 16:32 NASB, Jesus stated the following: “Behold, an hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave Me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with Me.” Emphasis is mine.
Throughout the Gospel of John, Jesus referred to the cross as His “hour”. The cross is the deciding pivotal hinge of Jesus’ ministry, it is the concluding and necessary holy sacrifice made by God, through the obedience of God’s only begotten Son, towards bringing about reconciliation between a Holy God and sinful man, and it is the supreme example of the extent to which God’s love is expressed towards us.
To be candid with you, for me to offer commentary on this prayer that Jesus prayed to His and our Father, strikes me as almost ludicrous, but I will proceed, with my reminding you, that I am just a ordinary layperson, a student of God’s Holy Word, learning and sharing as I go.
What I would like to do, in this particular case, is give you what I would call a condensed “bird’s eye view” of what I noticed. But before I start my “bird’s eyes view” there is one verse in particular that I would like to draw your attention to and that is John 17:4 which states: “I glorified You on the earth by accomplishing the work which You have given Me to do.” Emphasis is mine. The New English Translation (NET) footnotes on this particular verse are indeed noteworthy.
“Or “by finishing” or “by accomplishing.” Jesus now states that he has glorified the Father on earth by finishing (τελειώσας [teleiōsas] is best understood as an adverbial participle of means) the work which the Father had given him to do. By completing the work. The idea of Jesus being sent into the world on a mission has been mentioned before, significantly in 3:17. It was even alluded to in the immediately preceding verse here (17:3). The completion of the “work” the Father had sent him to accomplish was mentioned by Jesus in 4:34 and 5:36. What is the nature of the “work” the Father has given the Son to accomplish? It involves the Son’s mission to be the Savior of the world, as 3:17 indicates. But this is accomplished specifically through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross (a thought implied by the reference to the Father “giving” the Son in 3:16). It is not without significance that Jesus’ last word from the cross is “It is completed” (19:30). “
The significance of what this “finished” or “accomplished” or “completed” work in particular is, is often overlooked and I ran into an excellent post by Francis Rogers that expounds upon what Jesus “finished” or “accomplished” and I would encourage you can read it here.
Now continuing on with my “bird’s eyes view”:
I noticed how Jesus continually makes reference to the contrast between “the world” and heaven, where His and our Father is. I counted 19 times in this chapter alone, where Jesus mentions either “the earth” or “the world”. The attention Jesus gives to the contrast is highly significant. Jesus states again and again that He is not of this world and that we who believe in Him are not to consider ourselves as being of the world either. If Jesus placed such a high importance on this comprehension, then why is our focus so often otherwise?
I noted how Jesus asks His Father to glorify Him, so that He may glorify the Father. I noted how Jesus acknowledges that His Father has given Him power and authority over all mankind, the purpose of which is to give eternal life to all who believe in Him. And I noticed that Jesus clarified the purpose of this eternal life, which is to literally know God the Father and Jesus, who God sent. That “knowing” is an intimate, personal, “knowing”, which begins here on earth.
I noticed how Jesus refers to the oneness that God the Father and Jesus shared, before the world even existed. I noticed that Jesus emphasizes how the word that He was given by the Father has been believed and His disciples know and believe that Jesus was sent to them by God the Father. And Jesus clearly states that God’s word, originating from the Father, and as spoken by Jesus, is “truth”. In these times, when “lies” masquerade as “truth”, that statement alone brings a sigh of relief to even hear. And I noticed, once again, how God’s Word (truth) is the means whereby we are sanctified, or set apart. With all the division that we have, what does that say about the “truth” that we follow, that sets us apart?
I noticed how Jesus prayed for His disciples who were still in the world but not of the world and even for those of us who would hear, believe and trust in Jesus through their message. That would be you and that would be me. Jesus literally prayed for us! And I noted that Jesus wants us to actually experience His joy now, which is made full, complete and perfect, in us, while we are here, in this world. I’m not sure about you, but I am thinking there is work to be done on that one, in me.
And I noticed how Jesus stated He had been commissioned and sent into the world and how He had commissioned us likewise and sent us into the world. Can’t help but feel that far too many have forgotten that commission, which could explain why the Church at large is weak when it should be strong.
And I couldn’t help but notice how our oneness with God and one another within the body of Christ was supposed to be the witness that demonstrated to the world of non-believers that Jesus was who He said He was, and provides confirmation of God’s love. Can’t help but feel that we’ve failed miserably on that one too. I wonder if that has anything to do with what source of “truth” we have been following?
And lastly, I noticed that Jesus specifically states that the world has not known God and has never acknowledged Him, but Jesus did, to those who believe in Him and Jesus says that He will continue to do so, so that the love between the Father and the Son, and the Son and the Father, may be in us and us in them.
I know I’ve only scratched the surface, there is much more within these words that Jesus uttered. I’m mindful of 1 Corinthians 15:28 NASB which states:”When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” Even this prayer, that the Apostle John wrote down, which is no small feat in itself, reminds me of John 14:26 NASB which reads: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and remind you of all that I said to you.”
Final Comment: I mentioned that I was presenting a condensed “bird’s eye overview” of Chapter 17. I would be remiss if I did not point you towards a much “fuller” commentary than mine authored by Frances Rogers, entitled “An Excavation of John 17”. Because this prayer of Jesus is so pivotal, and contains so much truth that we need to focus on, I would strongly encourage all to partake in the wisdom of Fran’s work of love.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!
Musings From the Gospel of John – Number 47
The Scriptures covered in this post are from John 17:1-26.