Sapphire Sky

October 1, 2015

The Lord’s Prayer

Filed under: encouragement, theology — Tags: , — Steve Knaus @ 11:18 pm

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We know that Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer to the Father.

He spent all night in prayer before choosing the 12 apostles (see here).

As his popularity grew, he would withdraw to desolate places to pray (see here).

He spent at least nine hours in prayer before coming down to rescue the struggling disciples on the Sea of Galilee (see here and here).

We know that Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer, but we have only brief excerpts of his words. John 17 has the longest recorded prayer from Jesus Christ, and it shows His heart as he comes to the Father on behalf of his disciples.

What does Jesus Christ pray for?

 

He prays for his glory

First, he prays for his glory. As the cross is rapidly approaching, Jesus is comforted by the fact that the cross will bring glory to Him and to God the Father (see here). He also looks past the cross to when He will return to the Father. Jesus Christ has been the focus of total glory and honor since before the world began. He now looks ahead to his return to glory with the Father.

It is all about God’s glory. Jesus is about to endure the agony and the separation of the cross, yet he looks forward to the glory that will come through it. With this in view, Jesus says, “It is time. Let it come.”

1 Peter 3:18,22
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, … who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

Colossians 3:1
​If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

 

He shows a new relationship with God

Jesus showed the world a different relationship with God. Faithful Jews throughout the Old Testament knew of God as someone to be revered and worshipped, but Jesus introduced something new. Never before in history had anyone addressed God as “Father”.

We need to revere and worship God, yet we can also know Him closely. We can have a close relationship with Him so that we ourselves can call him Father.

There is a special significance to the name of God. In the Jewish culture, the name of a person meant much more than simply a way to identify him. A person’s name expressed the nature and character of that person. A man’s name was his essence. [5]

Romans 8:14-15
For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!”

 

He prays for His own – “Father, keep them”

Jesus prays for His own. These are the eleven disciples who are standing with him. Jesus recalls the following about them:

  • The Father gave them to him out of the world
  • They believed the words of God
  • They obeyed God
  • They know that Jesus Christ was sent by God the Father
  • They know that Jesus Christ was empowered by God the Father
  • Jesus taught them the Father’s character (his name)

God the Father had given these eleven disciples to Jesus Christ. But His own are much more than these eleven. This prayer and these promises are for all who have believed in Him. We became part of His own when we believed in Jesus Christ.

Jesus asks the Father to preserve us. He does not ask on behalf of the world that is rebelling against God, but he asks to preserve the believers who live in this world.

Remember again who is preserving us. We are being preserved based on the character and nature of the Holy God. Jesus kept every one of his disciples when he was on earth, and now he has committed us to the Father.

None of Jesus’ disciples were lost except for Judas, who never had believed in Him (see also here).

He left us this promise that the Father will keep us. We will not be lost. Through this promise we can have complete joy, even in severe trouble (see also here).

“But He says…I’m leaving. I’m leaving and the glory display of My presence and their surrounding that presence will change and they will remain. O Father, keep them.” – John MacArthur [5]

John 10:27-29
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

Romans 8:38-39
For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

 

He prays for His own – “Father, set them apart”

Believers in Jesus Christ are left in a world that is hostile to God and hates any who represent Him. Jesus does not pray for us to be taken out of this world, but that God would protect us through this world. His prayer is to protect us from the devil.

Jesus prays that God would sanctify us in this world. Literally, the word “sanctify” means to “set apart”. The truth of God’s word sets us apart from this world. We are in this world, but we are set apart to be used for God’s special purpose.

Ephesians 1:3-4
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-14
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

He prays for His own – “that they be one”

Jesus prays for all believers, that we be one. We have different cultures and different gifts, but we have a common Father. We are kept and set apart by the same God. We have the same hope, that we will be reunited with Jesus Christ.

Jesus prays three times that “they be one even as we are one”. Our unity is patterned after the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We are united because we have the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit dwelling in us.

We are given close fellowship with the Holy God. As we have this close fellowship with God, we will be united with the other believers in Jesus Christ who share this same fellowship with God.

One of the results of our unity is that we show Jesus to the world. We show the world that Jesus is from God and that we have the love of God.

In the second century, Tertullian wrote that even the heathen exclaimed with admiration, “Behold how these Christians love one another.” [9]

1 Corinthians 12:12-13
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

Ephesians 4:4-6
There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

 

He prays for His own – “that they be with me”

Jesus prays that we would be with Him. When we are with Jesus, we will see his glory. As Jesus promised earlier (see here), He will come back for us. We will be with him for eternity.

2 Corinthians 5:6-8
So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

 

Remember!

Jesus brought these requests to the Father before he finished his time on earth. These are not goals for us to achieve, but requests to God on our behalf. We know that all prayers by Jesus Christ are answered (John 11:42), so we can be sure that these have been done!

We know that the Lord Jesus Christ has returned to Heaven and is seated on the right hand of God the Father.

We know that we have a new relationship with God – he is now our father!

We know that the Father will keep us — nothing will separate us from him!

We know that the Father has set us apart — we are separate from this world and holy to Him!

We know that we are one in Jesus Christ — we all are one body!

We know that when we leave this mortal body, we will be with Jesus Christ!

Jesus did not pray for our action. All action in this prayer is by God the Father.

This prayer is not for what we will do. This prayer is for who we are!

 

Previous Post: Just a little while longer


John 17

When Jesus had spoken these words, 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.

“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”


 

John 17:1-5
When Jesus had spoken these words, 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.

Jesus had taught a new name of God, “Father”. God was never called “father” before Jesus came to earth. The Jews had always learned great reverence for God, but they never knew God as a father. There was no scripture or other document that ever referred to God as father before the time of Jesus Christ. [3]

There is only one time recorded that Jesus did not call God his father. When he was separated from God, on the cross, Jesus cried out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).

Jesus prays for glory twice in this beginning section. He first prays for the glory of himself so that he can reflect this glory on the Father. Jesus’ entire motivation when he was on earth was to glorify the Father. This first glory is related to His authority over all mankind and his ability to give eternal life to his own.

His second prayer for glory is looking forward to his reunion with God the Father. Jesus Christ will return to the full glory of deity that he had before the world existed.

His own — his disciples, both present and future, are a gift from the Father. Jesus refers to them seven times in this prayer as a gift from the Father.

What is the eternal life that he has given? The eternal life is more than a future hope of life forever. It is the living and active relationship with God himself! This “know” (ginōskō, γινώσκω) indicates a close and intimate relationship with both God the Father and Jesus Christ.

“It is the pure sunlight on the soul, resulting in, or reflecting the knowledge of Jehovah; the Personal, Living, True God, and of Him Whom He did send, Jesus Christ.” – Alfred Edersheim [2]

“Life is not having the biggest and the best and the prettiest – life is knowing the father!” – Stephen Davey [3]

“He … never stumbled once on all the rocky pathway from the manger of Bethlehem to the cross of Calvary.” – H.A. Ironside [4]

 

John 17:6-8
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me.

The name of God was so sacred to the Old Testament Jews that they would never speak it. Jewish scribes were required to use a new quill every time they wrote the name of God. God was distant and fearsome to the Old Testament Jews and they never knew the concept of a close relationship with him.

Jesus Christ now turns his attention to his disciples. They are his own, a gift from the Father. The Father has chosen them out of the world to be a gift for the Son. Jesus says of his disciples:

  • They were the Father’s and they are given to the Son.
  • They have kept His word. None of these disciples were sinless (as evidenced by Peter), but they stayed in His word.
  • They know that the Father is the source of everything good (see also James 1:17).
  • They received the words from the Father through Jesus Christ.
  • They know in truth that Jesus came from the Father and that the Father sent Him.

“As possessors of the divine nature, there is in every Christian a desire to do the will of God and to keep His Word. One who lacks this has never been regenerated.” – H. A. Ironside [6]

 

John 17:9-11a
I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.

Jesus is praying for the believers in this world. He asks the Father to keep those who are in Him. He is not praying for the world. It is not that Jesus has never prayed for unbelievers (see Luke 23:34), but this prayer and these promises here are only for the believers who are in Jesus Christ and belong to God the Father.

Jesus is glorified in us. We reflect His glory!

 

 

John 17:11b-12
Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Jesus is leaving the world, but what about His children who are left behind? It is in this backdrop that Jesus says, “Holy Father, keep them in your name”. Keep them, Father, according to all that you are. According to your character and nature.

In the context of the unbelieving world, Jesus addresses the Father as, “Holy Father”. Through all of the filth and wickedness and hatred of this world, God is still Holy. To be Holy means to be pure; revered; set apart. God is set apart from this wicked world. He is still pure and is still worthy of our praise.

Jesus prays for our preservation. Not one of them has been lost except for Judas. It is not that Jesus lost Judas, Judas never belonged to him. Even Judas’ rebellion was part of God’s plan (see here).

Jesus prays that we would be one, as God is one. As we belong to Jesus Christ and are kept by a Holy God, we are to be one. Note that being one means unity, not uniformity. We have many cultures and differences, but we are still one in Jesus Christ. We see from other scripture that this unity means the following:

 

John 17:13-19
But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Jesus kept and guarded them while he was on earth. Now that he is leaving, his prayer is for the ones he is leaving behind. This prayer is specifically for his immediate disciples, but it is also for all of us who have believed in Jesus Christ.

He prays for our joy. He prays that we would filled with the same joy that He knew, even on the way to the cross. This is the same joy that Jesus promised to us when we keep his commandments (John 15:11).

He prays for our sanctification. The word sanctify (hagiazō, ἁγιάζω) literally means to “set apart as dedicated for a specific use”. In terms of believers in Jesus Christ, this word means for us to be set apart as dedicated to God. This word is also translated as “consecrated”, or “holy”.

We are in this world that hates us (see here). The world hates us because we are different and because we represent Jesus Christ. Jesus never prays that we are to be taken out of the world, but that God would protect us from the devil in this world.

But as we are in the world, He asks God the Father to set us apart from the world. The work of the Holy Spirit is to set us apart, to make us holy, and to bring us into conformity with God himself (see here). God uses His word, the truth, to set us apart.

For our sakes, the first person to be set apart was Jesus Christ himself. Our own sanctification is simply a step in following Him.

It is often very difficult for us to remain in contact with the world, yet to be also separated from the world. See below for seven principles of how we can wisely choose actions which allow us to be in the world without being contaminated by the world [8].

God’s word also talks about being justified. We are justified when we are cleared from every charge of guilt. By the blood of Jesus Christ, we are no longer guilty sinners but we are cleansed in God’s sight (Romans 5:1).

“But to sanctify is to set apart for a holy purpose. Because we were guilty sinners we needed to be justified. Because we were unclean and defiled by sin, we needed to be sanctified.” – H. A. Ironside [9]

1 Corinthians 6:11
And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

 

John 17:20-23
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

Jesus spoke these words as he was walking to the Mount of Olives with his eleven faithful disciples. However, this prayer and these promises are extended to all of those who believe in Him. These promises are for all believers — both past, present, and future!

He prays again for our unity. Specifically, this is for the unity of believers in fellowship with God the Father and God the Son.

What does this mean?

First, it means that the we are in perfect fellowship with God. The Father and the Son exist in total unity: the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father. As believers, we are given a part of this unity (“that they may be in us”).

Second, it means that we share in the glory of Jesus Christ. This is the glory of eternal life and the close, intimate relationship with God that was Jesus had prayed for (John 17:1-3). Because we have this close fellowship with God, we will know Him for all eternity, and will share in his glory.

As we have this close fellowship with God, we will be united with the other believers in Jesus Christ who share this same fellowship with God.

As we are united in Jesus Christ, we show the world that Jesus was sent by the Father and that we share in the Father’s love.

 

John 17:24-26
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

He prays for our future with Him. There is a glory of the Lord Jesus Christ which is incomprehensible here on earth. When we are with Him, we will be able to see the glory that he has once again taken up when he returned to the Father.

This is the glory that was given to Jesus Christ because of his coming to earth and because of his work on the cross. This is the glory that was given to him by God the Father, which Jesus prayed for at the beginning of His prayer (John 17:1-2), and which was given to him because of the great love of the Father.

The world does not know God the Father, but we know Him through Jesus Christ (John 14:8-11).

Finally, he prays that we may know Him. He has let us know the nature of God, and he will continue to show the Father to us. As we know the Father, we know his love. As we know the Father, we also know Jesus Christ.


 

[1] John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John 17, pages 330-334

 

[2] Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, Book V, CHAPTER XI. THE LAST DISCOURSES OF CHRIST – THE PRAYER OF CONSECRATION.

 

[3] Stephen Davey, The REAL Lord’s Prayer, John 17

 

[4] H.A. Ironside, Address 55, OUR LORD’S HIGH-PRIESTLY PRAYER: PART 1, John 17:1-5

 

[5] John MacArthur, The Most Thrilling Prayer Ever Prayed, Part 2, John 17:6-19

 

[6] H.A. Ironside, Address 56, OUR LORD’S HIGH-PRIESTLY PRAYER: PART 2, John 17:6-10

 

[7] John F. Walvoord & Roy B. Zuck, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, John 17, pages 330-334

 

[8] Seven principles for how to be in the world without being contaminated by the world, by Douglas McLachlan [3]:

  1. Expediency. Never let the permissible become the enemy of the essential. (Philippians 1:10)
  2. Enslavement. Never be mastered by a habit or an activity (1 Corinthians 6:12).
  3. Enrichment. Does the activity build up your walk with God? (1 Corinthians 10:23)
  4. Exaltation. We should live to build up God’s reputation (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  5. Endangerment. Don’t do anything to cause other Christians to stumble (1 Corinthians 8:13).
  6. Entanglement. Don’t become so busy with your pursuits that there is no time for Christ (2 Timothy 2:4-5).
  7. Equivocation. If you hesitate because you are unsure, then don’t do it (Romans 14:22-23).

Source: http://biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/cbtj/09-1_029.pdf

 

[9] H.A. Ironside, Address 58, OUR LORD’S HIGH-PRIESTLY PRAYER: PART 4, John 17:17-21

 

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2 Comments »

  1. […] is the eloquent prayer that he prayed as he left Jerusalem (see here). Matthew and Mark show that Jesus was filled with dread as he approached the garden. He left eight […]

    Pingback by The Garden | Sapphire Sky — October 10, 2015 @ 10:12 pm

  2. […] The High Priestly Prayer (John 17) […]

    Pingback by Events of the Passion Week | Sapphire Sky — March 26, 2016 @ 1:50 am


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