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1. The Finished Work. (John 17:1-5 .)
2. The Father’s Name and the Father’s Gift. (John 17:6-10 .)
3. Not of the World but Kept in it. (John 17:11-16 .)
4. Sanctification of Himself for His Own. (John 17:17-21 .)
5. The Glorification. (John 17:22-26 .)
His words were ended to the eleven disciples and next He spoke to the Father, and His disciples listened to all His blessed words. What moments these must have been! His words to the Father told them once more how he loved them, how He cared for them, what He had done and what He would do for them. Whenever we read this great Lord’s prayer we can still hear Him pray for His beloved people. What a glimpse it gives of His loving heart! The prayer is His high-priestly prayer. He is in anticipation on the other side of the cross. He knows the work is finished, atonement is made; He is back with the Father and has received the glory. This anticipation is seen in His words, “I have finished the work thou gavest me to do”; “and now I am no more in the world”;--”the glory thou hast given me I have given to them.” It is impossible to give an exposition of this great chapter. Blessed depths are here which we shall fathom when we are with Him. All He taught concerning Himself and eternal life, what believers are and have in Him, He mentions in His prayer. All the great redemption truths more fully revealed in the New Testament Epistles may be traced in this high-priestly prayer of our Lord. We mention seven of these great truths as made known by Him in addressing the Father.
1. Salvation. He has power to give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work thou gavest me to do.” He glorified the Father in His life and He finished the work He came to do on the Cross. There alone is redemption and salvation.
2. Manifestation. “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world.” (John 17:6 .) The Name of God, He, the Son, has made known to those who believe on Him is His Name as “Father.” Such a name and relationship of the believer to God was not known in the Old Testament. The Son of God had to come from heaven’s glory and declared the Father. After He gave His life and rose from the dead He spoke of “My Father and your Father.” The Spirit of Sonship was given by Whom we cry: “Abba-Father.”
3. Representation. He is our Priest and Advocate. He appears in the presence of God for us. “I pray for them; I pray not for the world but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” (John 17:9 .) Like the High Priest He carries only the names of His people upon His shoulders and upon His heart. He prays now for His church, His body, for every member. When the church is complete and the body is united to Himself in glory, He will pray for the world. “Ask of Me,” the Father has told Him, “and I will give thee the nations for thine inheritance.” (Psalms 2:6 .) When He asks this, He will receive the Kingdoms of this world. What comfort it should be to all His people to know He prays for us individually! His love and His power are for us.
4. Identification. We are one with Him, and all His Saints are one. The church is His body, an organism and not an organization. He did not pray for a unity in organization, but for a spiritual unity, which exists. “That they also may be one in us” is not an unanswered petition. The Spirit Who has come unites believers to Him and baptizes them into one body. “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me”--this looks on towards the blessed consummation, when the Saints will appear with Christ in glory; then the world will know.
5. Preservation. He prayed for the keeping of His own. He commits them into His Father’s hands. The believers’ keeping for eternal life and glory rests not in their own hands but in His hands. Judas is mentioned as the son of perdition; he was never born again.
6. Sanctification. (See John 17:17-19 .) He is our Sanctification. In Him we are sanctified. We are sanctified by the Truth, by walking in obedience. Believers are constituted Saints in Christ and are called to walk in separation. The separating power is the Word and the Spirit.
7. Glorification. “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one as we are one” --”Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” This is His unanswered prayer. Some day it will be answered and all His Saints will be with Him and share His glory.
And oh! the wealth of Grace and Truth in His wonderful words we must pass by! May His own Spirit lead us deeper and fill our hearts with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
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Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on John 17". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Easter