Jesus was with His disciples, probably still in the "upper room" where they had just
finished the Last Supper. This was before He went to the Garden of Gethsemene to pray.
Judas had left during the supper to betray Him to the religious leaders of the Jews.
Jesus had given them the messages in John chapters 14 through 16 and now He gave His prayer.
This whole prayer is a beautiful illustration of our Lord's intercession at the right hand of God on our behalf. It is truly "The Lord's Prayer." There isn't one word against His people, no reference to their shortcomings and failures. He associates believers fully and equally with Himself and God the Father. All His references relate to spiritual things and heavenly blessings. He doesn't ask for riches and honor for His own but that we be kept from the powers that control the world, separate from them, and to be brought home to heaven safely when the time comes.
John 17 is truly the Lord's prayer, and it is His personal prayer for all who are truly born again.
JESUS' PRAYER FOR HIMSELF. VERSES 1-5
1. "After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you." His words, "after this" refers to the message He gave in chapters 14 through 16.
Jesus approached God in prayer in Their Father-Son relationship. He later referred to Him as "Holy Father" and "Righteous Father." Godís appointed time for Christ to finish His earthly ministry had come. God's plan of redemption for fallen man from ages past was going to be completed. Several times during His ministry He said His time had not yet come, but now it was here.
He prayed, "Glorify Your Son," asking God to accept His sacrifice, resurrect Him, and restore Him to His original glory. The Father would be glorified by the Son so that Godís wisdom, power, and love would be known in the world.
We, as believers, are to glorify God too. Romans 11:36; "For of him, and through him, and to Him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen."
John 17 VERSE 2. "For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him." The Father has ordained the eventual rule of the Son over the earth. Psalm 2 bears this out.
The Son has the authority to judge all flesh. John 5:27 "And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man." He also had power over life and death, even His own. John 10:18 " No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father."
The important thing here is that He can give eternal life to anyone who will believe in His atoning work on the cross. Those are the ones His Father gives to Him.
VERSE 3. "Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." Jesus defined eternal life as knowing the only true God through the Son. The word "know" is often used in the Bible to describe the intimacy of complete union. The person who knows God has an intimate personal relationship with Him, and that relationship is eternal. Eternal life is not simply endless existence. The important question is; "in what condition or in what relationship will you spend eternity?"
VERSES 4-5. "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." Jesusí prayer for Himself was based on His completed work. "I have brought You glory on earth" assumed His obedience to death. Even though the Cross was future, it was a certainty. Jesus requested His return to glory with the Father based on the certainty that He would finish His work on the cross.
INTERCESSION FOR THE DISCIPLES. John 17: 6-19
Jesus prayed for His disciples before He chose them, all during His ministry and at the end of His ministry. He prayed for them again in heaven, according to the Scriptures, just as He does for the believers now. This prayer of intercession shows just how much concern and love Jesus had for His disciples.
VERSES 6-8. "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word.  Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you.  For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me." The eleven disciples had been separated out of the world and were given to Jesus by the Father's choosing. They were a gift to Jesus Christ from God the Father.
John 6:37 "All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away." In verse 6 Jesus said that "they have obeyed Your word" in acknowledgment that His disciples had believed the message of God that Jesus was His Son. The disciples weren't perfect, but they had the right faith. Their faith in Jesus was a trust in His union with the Father. (verse 8). They showed their faith in Jesus by their obedience to His words because they believed in Him as the Redeemer.
VERSES 9-10. "I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.  All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them." Jesus' prayer for the eleven disciples applies to all believers. Verse 20 says; "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,"
This prayer asks for two things;
1. The disciplesí preservation from Satan and his influence, and,
2. Separate them from the world. "Sanctify" them.
Jesus wasn't praying for the world in its hostility and unbelief because the world is not going to be preserved in its rebellion or sanctified in its unbelief. Godís ownership of Believers is by creation and election. Several times He stated they were God's because of their faith and He had given them to Jesus.
Jesusí words from verse 10, "All I have are yours and all you have are Mine," show His claim to unity and equality with the Father, and by that, His deity.
Under the Law, God dwelt among His people and showed His glory in fire and smoke.
Under grace, Godís glory was displayed to the world in human form by Jesus.
VERSE 11. "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." In less than 24 hours, Jesus was going to return to the Father and leave His disciples in the world. They were to carry out Godís plan in spreading the good news of redemption and in planting His church. Since the disciples would be in the world, Jesus prayed for their protection. The hostility against God that fell on Jesus would fall on the disciples now, and throughout history on all Jesusí followers.
God is the "Holy Father." He assigns holiness to all believers and that is the basis for the believersí separation from the world. God will protect them from the sin and the enmity of the world by the Power of His name and encourage the unity of the believers, patterned after the unity of the Father and the Son. Jesus pointed out the one-ness of the Father, the Son, and the Believer in Christ.VERSE 12. "While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled." As the Good Shepherd, Jesus took care of the flock entrusted to Him by the Father. Judas was an exception. Here he's called "the one doomed to destruction." Judas was never a believer and his true character showed when he betrayed Jesus. He was an unwitting tool of Satan. Even voluntary acts by people fit into Godís sovereign plans. Judas fulfilled Old Testament prophecy in his betrayal of Jesus.
VERSE 13. "I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them." Jesus was going to return to heaven but first He wanted to tell them these things. "I say these things while I am still in the world" After His resurrection they would remember His words and would understand them.
His joy would be fulfilled in His work that brought their salvation.
Their joy would be in knowing they had eternal life, and that He had conquered Satan.
VERSE 14. "I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world." Jesus reminded them of their coming danger. The world system controlled by Satan hated them because they weren't a part of it. A believerís commitment shows that the worldís values are trash and the world resists recognition of it's false values. One man calls it "the dislike of the unlike."
VERSE 15. "My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one." Satan is the evil one, the god of this world. God didn't plan to remove the disciples, nor us, from danger and opposition, by taking us out of the world, but to preserve us in it's midst. Jesus would return to heaven but His followers were to remain on earth and witness for Him.
Like Daniel in Babylon and the saints that were in Caesar's household, God wants His followers to be witnesses to the truth in the midst of Satan's lies. Christians are not to isolate themselves from the world but remain in meaningful contact with people, trusting God's protection while they tell others of His plan of salvation.
VERSES 16-17. "They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." Jesus didn't belong to Satan's world system and believers don't either. We belong to the heavenly kingdom because of our citizenship through the new birth. Jesus had prayed for protection for His disciples and now He asked for their sanctification.
Sanctify means "set apart for special use." A believer is to be set apart, to be distinct from the worldís values, it's goals, and it's sin. Sanctification is the work of Godís truth and the truth is given in His Word as belief in His Son. When the disciples heard the message about Jesus and believed, their hearts and minds were changed. This change in their thinking resulted in changes in their living, recorded in the book of Acts. The same is true today. If we apply Godís Word to our lives, we're set apart for God and changed in our way of living so we can honor God.
VERSE 18. "As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world." Jesus is the model for every believer. He was in the world but He didn't act like the worldly people. He was sent into the world on a mission by His Father and believers are sent into the world on a mission by the Son, to make the Father known. Each Christian should view himself as a missionary with the commission to tell Godís truth to others.
VERSE 19. "For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified." Jesus set Himself apart for the benefit of the disciples. Wasn't He already set apart to God and distinct from the world? Yes, but this sanctification was His separation and dedication to His death. The purpose of His death was that we may be redeemed, our sins paid for. The words "truly sanctified" are literally "sanctified in truth." Godís truth is the means of sanctification. The death of Christ is what separates believers from sin and sets us apart to God.
PRAYER FOR FUTURE BELIEVERS Verses 20-26.
VERSE 20. "My prayer is not for them alone." This portion of Jesusí prayer is for believers who would come to Him through the message given by the disciples. We live In the Church Age now, and all who are truly Christians have come to Christ directly or indirectly through the apostlesí witness. Jesus knew His mission would succeed. He would die and be raised again. He would send the Holy Spirit to the believers, and the disciples would preach Christ. People would be converted, the church would be formed, and believers would be represented by Him before God, not by some man.
Under the Law, once a year, the high priest of Israel bore the names of the tribes of Israel
pinned on his garment into the presence of God in the tabernacle or the temple.
Under grace, Jesus, the great High Priest, carries believers names into the presence of our heavenly Father every moment of every day.
Verse 21. [from verse 20: I pray also for those who will believe in me through their
message,] Verse 21. "that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in
you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."
Jesus prayed for unity among believers, but this time it was with salvation in view.
He prayed for unity based on faith in Him.
He also prayed that believers might be one in exhibiting the character of God and Christ.
This would cause the world to know that God had sent Him.
This is the unity that would cause the world to say, "I see Christ in those Christians".
This unity would be one of love, obedience to God's Word, and commitment to His will.
This isn't uniformity, this is unity. There's a big difference between uniformity and unity.
All believers belong to the one body of Christ and this spiritual unity is to be made evident in their lives.
The unity Christ wants for His church is the same kind of unity the Son has with the Father. The Father accomplished His saving grace through the Son and the Son always did what pleased the Father. The church is to be patterned after this spiritual unity. The goal of our lives should be to do the will of God as given us in the Bible.
VERSES 22-23. "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." Christ gave the believer the glory of the cross. How can death on a cross bring glory? Christ's death on the cross brought the glorious reconciliation of man with God through the payment for mankind's sins with the sinless blood of Christ. God's demand for a blood sacrifice for sin was fully met by Christ there on the cross.
The union of Christians (that they may be one) is likened to the unity the Son has with the Father. The unity of believers with each other and with God shows the world Jesus was sent by God. By this the world will know Godís love for believers is as deep and lasting as it is for His Son.
VERSE 24. "Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world." Here is Jesusí 'last will and testament.' In the King James translation He says; "Father, I will-" His will for those the Father has given Him is to be with Him and to share His glory. Jesus had this glory from eternity past and would have it again after His completed work here on earth. His wish was fulfilled by His death and resurrection. Our salvation includes our glorification with Jesus for eternity.
VERSES 25-26. "Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me.  I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them." Jesusí prayer for believers is addressed to the "Righteous Father." The Father is right (righteous) in all things and the world is in the wrong (the world does not know you).
God's character is love.
Jesus made the Father's love known to the world through His death on the cross to redeem fallen man.
God made His love for us known by sacrificing His Son on the cross for us.
He proved His love for the Son by raising Him to glory for that act.
God gave us these instructions in 1 John 3:23. "And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us." Jesus made known the Father's will by His obedience at the cross. It was the love of God that sent Him down to die for us. It was the love of Jesus for each one of us sinners that lead Him to die for our sins there. Believers are to continue to grow in love, "that the love You have for Me may be in them and that I Myself may be in them." We can enjoy the presence of Jesus in our lives by accepting Him as our Savior now, and we can know we will be in His presence, sharing His glory, for all eternity.
[All scriptures are quoted from the NIV Bible]