The Gospel of John Chapter 17 Lesson in Prayer
We have reached the end of our Upper room discourses,
Those final words of Jesus to His disciples.
Chapter 17 is often referred to as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.
There are three thoughts I want you to take from Chapter 17 and
put them into use right away.
The first thought is glory,
And finally the third is unity.
In the first 5 verses Jesus prayers for Himself.
The hour has come,
Earlier in the Gospel Jesus had said that it was not his time,
but now the time has come.
John 17:4-5 (NIV)
I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
In the Greek—doxie,
Of the various shades of meaning that this word has,
to me the one the makes most sense is that the word glory refers to a
manifestation of the presence of God.
To see God’s glory is to see what we can understand of God,
What God is like, who God is.
Jesus asks the Father, Glorify the Son,
The crucifixion is just hours away,
Upon the cross you and I will see What God is like,
Who God is, what God’s agenda is, How much God is
willing to sacrifice to reconcile you to Himself.
Jesus asks the HE might glorify the Father,
This means that through his actions, others will see the Father,
Who the Father is, what the Father’s agenda is,
How much the Father is willing to sacrifice to reconcile
you to Himself.
Glory with all its shades of meaning, is best understood as a revelation of
God which creates a response in those that behold it.
The crucifixion is a revelation of God.
It is the key to knowing God.
And knowing God is eternal life.
John 17:3 (NIV)
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
Just a little alley I want to glance down as we travel the major path of this passage.
There is a huge difference between knowing about someone and
Make sure you know God; not just, know about God.
In verse 6 through 19 Jesus prayers for His disciples.
It is a prayer of protection and a prayer of sanctification.
The people whom the Father have given the Son are those who believe in Jesus,
acknowledge that Jesus teaching come from God and accept those
teachings by aligning there hearts and behaviors accordingly.
The scripture reveals that the world is dominated by a usurper.
An illegitimate ruler to a kingdom.
One whose agenda is to steal, kill and destroy.
Jesus prays that everyone of His disciples would be protected from
being overcome by the evil one.
John 17:11 (NIV)
I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. 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.
If you are a disciple of Jesus you are protected from being overcome by the evil
one and the ways of this world.
The key to this protection is staying within the covering of the power
of the Father’s name.
One stays protected through obedience.
We all face trials and temptations of many kinds.
Sometimes our path is through frightening places.
It’s not easy living the life of a disciple.
The evil one targets the disciple.
That’s why often “all hell breaks lose,”
Things get hostile when you get serious about your
relationship with God.
Satan wants to break you before you get
But there is protection, and power to defeat the enemy and
a full measure of joy for those who remain obedient.
Jesus has prayed that you be victorious.
You can’t loose.
John 17:15 (NIV)
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.
So Jesus prays for His disciple’s protection and prays for their sanctification.
John 17:17 (NIV)
Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.
The Greek word translated sanctify in the NIV is hagiazein, which means to
make holy, to set apart for the use of God.
The way the word is used reveals that it equips.
John 17:19 (NIV)
For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Jesus sanctifies Himself as both priest and victim.
Under the Jewish Ritual of sacrifice,
The Priest had to be ritually set apart or sanctified to perform
Then the Priest standing in a right relationship with God,
Could set apart or sanctify the offering.
Jesus prays that His disciples would be sanctified also,
Set apart and equipped to do the work the Father will give them.
Do you want in on that?
To be set apart to do God’s will.
Last week we talked about being filled with the Holy Spirit.
In response to the message folks came forward asking
God the Father to fill them with God the Holy Spirit.
To set them apart to do the Father’s will.
For those people I have a Bible Study to give you that
will help you understand your decision that much more.
If you want in on living the Spirit filled life I’ll give you opportunity
to publically demonstrate your intent at the close of this
Three thoughts I want you to put into practice
In verses 1-5 Jesus prays for glory.
Be a God revealer, allow God to manifest His presence through you to
others. That’s how we glorify the Lord.
In verses 6-19 Jesus prays for sanctification,
Be set apart and empowered to do the will of God.
It’s what holiness is all about,
It’s the fruit of righteousness.
In verses 20-26 Jesus prays for all those who would believe the message
carried forth by the Apostles.
If you are a believer, Jesus is praying for you.
Jesus pray is one for the unity of all those who believe.
John 17:20-21 (NIV)
I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
The opposite of unity is division.
My theology professor H. Ray Dunning told his students
that denominations were a compromise with the devil.
After the Protestant Reformation,
The Roman Catholic church began to see that one could
have differences in emphasis and still be Catholic.
Today there are different Catholic sects—
Jesuits, Franciscans, Benedictines are some of the more
They all adhere to Roman Catholic orders,
But they all have a different emphasis.
The Protestants spilt into different sects that became their own
Groups of people rallied around different aspects of the general faith.
Hence we have Baptists, Nazarenes,
Lutherans, Methodist and
the self-proclaimed Non-Denominational
All Christian, but with a different spiritual emphasis.
When these groups both Catholic and Protestant become exclusive,
Then there is disunity in the Church and the pray of Jesus is frustrated.
Where’s the love?
Same thing happens in a church family where there is division.
There are numerous injunctions and admonitions in scripture to safeguard
the unity of the Church.
Love one another.
Protect and guard one another,
Pray for one another,
Serve one another.
John 17:22-23 (NIV)
I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Jesus indicates that it is in the unity of believers that love is displayed,
A love that reveals the Father and the Son.
It is love that makes us one with the Father and the Son.
Love looks like someone doing their best to meet the need of another.
We can have different spiritual emphasis even in our church
family, different opinions, different ideas,
but we all must submit to the order of love.
Then we become a mosaic of strength
A unified diversity of glory.
Its through our loving unity that others see the Father.
Three thoughts, packaged in the words
Glory, Sanctify, Unity—
What I really want you to walk away with from this message is a desire
To be a conduit for fulfilling Jesus’ pray for His church.
Do you want to be sanctified,
Set apart and empowered to do God’s will?
The result of being sanctified is love.
Love for God, for others, for your self and for the earth.
Loving like this results in unity.
In love and unity there is glory,
God is revealed through our actions.
If you want to be that kind of person you have to be filled
with the Spirit, empowered to walk in the Spirit having
crucified your sin nature, your egoism.
Glory, Sanctify, Unity—do you want that in our life?
Now lets watch this chapter unfold for us in our video presentation.
When I stand back and consider chapter 17 as a whole, I see a lesson on Prayer.
There is so much that has been written on Prayer,
There are a number of classics on the subject.
Andrew Murray’s “In The School Of Prayer” is one you should
explore if you are interested in developing your understanding
There are various models for how to pray.
One that I teach in our discipleship classes is
Praise—the Tuning in Step
Cooperation—the Connection Step
Petition—the Receiving Step
Forgiveness—the Healing Step
And Victory—the Can do Step.
Here in Jesus prayer I see that the purpose of prayer is to do the will of God.
Prayer in its many forms is you seeking to accomplish what God wants in
That will entail, hearing from God and doing what God wants.
Jesus prayed for others, and he put feet to his prayers by going
to the cross to secure the means by which those prayers
could be answered.
Jesus prayed for himself, and then put himself in a position
where the Father could answer that prayer.
Prayer is not so that God will give you options.
Prayer is not so that you can give God a shopping list.
Prayer is not necessary to inform God as to what is going on.
Prayer is empowerment for you to do the will of God.
That empowerment comes in two forms—
Stuff you do for yourself so that God can bless,
Stuff you do for others so God can use you to bless.
I’m sure you have heard someone say,
Let brother or sister so-in-so pray for you they have great faith.
I want to add something to our definition for faith.
I have taught that faith is belief that motivates you to action.
But I need to modify this definition as I have contemplated faith.
Faith is an expectancy that moves you to action.
Expectant means the degree of probability is high.
I expect that the sun will shine tomorrow morning.
I expect that I will enjoy Sunday dinner.
The degree of probability that God will do this is high so I am going to align
myself with what God is doing.
Great faith is simply expectancy in God’s desire to make His will known to
you, to empower you to accomplish His will and in His ability to
intervene in the situations and circumstances of life.
What I see in this High Priestly Prayer of Jesus is that for a disciple
Prayer is a means of discovering and accomplishing the will of God that will
require my personal involvement in the situation for which I am
In our study of the Gospel according to John.
I told you that the Upper room discourse, contained Jesus final teachings for
In Chapter 12 we had a lesson in Worship
In Chapter 13 we had a lesson in Service
In Chapter 14 we had a lesson in Obedience
In Chapter 15 we had a lesson in Fellowship
In Chapter 16 we had a lesson in Power
And In Chapter 17 we had a lesson in Prayer.
If you’re sharp you’ll recognize 5 of those lessons as the spiritual disciplines
that I have told you to practice daily.
There are 7 that I recommend;
Bible study, Prayer, Fellowship, Service, Worship,
Obedience and Contemplation.
We didn’t get to explore Bible study nor contemplation.
But once again you see the importance of these practices
In the life of a disciple.
These spiritual disciplines need to become a way of life for you.
As natural as breathing and eating and sleeping.
Something you do without a whole lot of arm
twisting to get done.
The spiritual disciplines need to become your habits.
The experts say it takes about 90 days to create a lasting habit.
Here’s a suggestion.
Get rid of something in your life that doesn’t improve your
relationship with God, or with your self, or with others, and insert the practice of one of these disciplines,
Try it for 90 days,
By September that discipline will become a natural part of your
As you seek to accomplish this you might discover that there is an inner enemy
within trying to sabotage your efforts.
I know there will be an enemy outside, but you can overcome the evil one,
Jesus has already prayed for your protection against Satan.
There is an enemy within,
The Apostle Paul called it the sarx, translated as the sin nature or the flesh,
What I call egoism.
The sarx must be crucified, so that Satan does not find an inner ally to derail your
best efforts in living as a disciple.
In verse 19 Jesus prayed
John 17:19 (NIV)
For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.
Recall what Sanctified means.
Sanctified means to be set apart and empowered for God’s use.
Last week when we looked at the ministry of God the Holy Spirit in the life
of a disciple we discovered that to be filled with the Spirit is to crucify
egoism resulting in being set apart and empowered for God’s
Set apart and equipped to do the work the Father will give you.
Is that the person you want to be?
If it is come up front and let me do what the Apostles did in the book of
They placed their hands on the believer and asked God to fill
them with the Holy Spirit in accordance to the desire of