Jesus Prayer For Himself

W. Terry Varner
January 26, 2014

John 17 is one of the most remarkable chapter in the entire Bible. It is the longest of all of the Lord’s prayers. It was prayed after He observed the Passover and before He instituted the Lord’s Supper. Ahead of Him was the cross with all of its agony and shame.

This High Priestly prayer marks the end of our Lord’s earthly ministry and looks forward—beyond the cross and its subsequent events—to the greater work which now becomes the responsibility of His apostles and those who later believe [church/kingdom] on Him through their word (John 17:20-21).

John 17 is rightly called “The Lord’s Prayer” or “The High Priestly Prayer” because our Lord reveals His soul to God in the presence of His apostles. In John 17:1-5, He prays for Himself. With His farewell discourse ending with His claim, “I have overcome the world” (John 16:33), Jesus begins with petitions to God for Himself concerning the events to follow.

The Glory of the Cross (John 17:1). With His eyes lifted toward heaven, He addresses God simply as, “Father.” He glories positively in “the hour is come.” This was a phrase echoed in John 12:23, 27; 13:1; and 16:32. The phrase is set in contrast with the negative phrase, “mine hour is not yet come” (John 2:4; 7:6, 8, 30; 8:20; 12:23, and 13:31). The negative phrase refers to His preparatory work; i.e. ministry. The positive phrase refers to the finality of His mission. The “hour” is the supreme hour in the history of the world and refers to the group of events culminating in His death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and coronation. The “Hour” represents a number of important biblical facts:

(1) The “Hour” of fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy (Matt. 5:17-18; Luke 24:25-27). (2) The “Hour” when the true Passover would be sacrificed (1 Cor. 5:7; Heb. 9:26; Rev. 12:11). (3) The “Hour” of His dying to take away the sins of the world (John 1:29, 36). (4) The “Hour” of His overcoming and defeating the prince of the world, the devil (John 16:11; Heb. 2:14). (5) The “Hour” when the Old Covenant would end (Eph. 2:11-22; Col. 2:14; Zech. 11:10-13; Amos 8:1-2, 9). (6) The “Hour” of His ushering in the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-33; Heb. 8:6-13; 10:9). (7) The “Hour” of His conquering death and hades (Matt. 16:18; Rev. 1:18; 1 Cor. 15:55). (8) The “Hour” of His coming coronation (Dan. 7:13-14; Acts 2:32-36).

The Glory of His Authority (John 17:2). Jesus had been given “power of all flesh.” This suggests two vital thoughts: (1) His “power” was God-given and (2) His “power” is over all men; i.e. all men are subject or amenable to the authority of Jesus (Cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16).

The cross, which was yet to come and by which He would be glorified, was not considered a defeat but a victory. It was important that He die so “that He should give eternal life” to man.

The Glory of Eternal Life (John 17:3). His prayer shows the fundamental purpose of eternal life, “that they might know the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom You nave sent.” Both the Father and the Son are objects of the knowledge that leads to eternal life.

Inherent in the word “know” is the idea of “believing” in Him or “obeying” Him, as mental assent alone is not sufficient to have the “hope of eternal life” (Titus 1:2).

The Glory of Exaltation (John 17:4-5). John 17:4 refers to what He already did in His earthly ministry. John 17:5 refers to that which is yet to be faithfully accomplished. He asks that His former glory, enjoyed with the Father in His pre-existent state be restored.