St. John’s Gospel (38): The High Priestly Prayer (John 17)

Date: 5/3/2015
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Type: Sunday Sermon
Topic: Perseverance
Organization: All Saints
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St John’s Gospel (38) - The High Priestly Prayer (John 17)
John 17:1–26  1   Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2 even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3 “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4  … 6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word… 11 “I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are… 20 “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21 that they may all be one; even 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 sent Me… 24 “Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

John 17 expresses in a prayer the last words of Jesus before the Garden of Gethsemane, the betrayal and arrest and ultimately his “it is finished” cross-work (John 19:30): “When Jesus had spoken these words, He went forth with His disciples over the ravine of the Kidron, where there was a garden” (18:1). The actual prayer begins with the recognition that His “hour” (hora) has come. This is the last of nine references to “hour/time” of the Son. In this “hour” the sovereign Son will glorify the Father by the Father glorifying the Son. Thus, the themes of the rich redemptive purpose of inter-Trinitarian reality and mission are exemplified. The Garden of temptation to be faced by this “Man” (John 19:5) in this “hour” would not result in the same outcome of the first Man’s Garden trial. So, this prayer is essentially the preparation for that greatest of trials was to result in the greatest sacrifice and the greatest deliverance. The themes of this magnificent prayer are the glorification of the Father and the unity of the disciples through love. It is arranged in five petitions:
a) for glorification based on the completion of His work (1-5);
   b) for His disciples (6-10);
       c) for the preservation and sanctification of His disciples in the world (11-19);
   d) for the unity of  His disciples (20-23);
e) for the union of His disciples with Himself (24-26).

Gregg Strawbridge Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as receive a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more