Jesus Prays for His Followers

I’m teaching through the book of John in Sunday School, here is my study on Ch. 17

John 17

    Vs 1-3 “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

I love that Jesus “lifted up His eyes to heaven”! I once told someone years ago that I couldn’t pray without closing my eyes. What I meant at the time was simply that I tend to lack focus, I have a hard time concentrating at times and closing my eyes when I pray can help me stay focused on the Lord. But certainly we can pray anytime/anywhere and God hears us! I pray while I’m driving, while I’m working at the office or in the yard, when I’m walking downtown or watching tv. I’ve even woken up in the morning and realized I had been praying for someone in a dream! God hears us no matter what we’re doing.

Check out Psalm 123:1 “I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven”. I have often looked up at the sky and talked to the Lord. He loves to hear from us. (:-)

Central to Jesus’ prayer are four ideas: summed up in these first three verses: glorifying God the Father; the Father glorifying the Son; the gift of eternal life to mankind; and that eternal life happens when we know the Father and the Son.

    Vs 4-5 “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

Jesus lived in a glorious place with God the Father before He came to earth as a baby. Can you imagine living in that absolutely wonderful palacios place with God – the place we dream of GOING TO – and coming down to earth to live among the animal dung and the dusty straw that was in the little barn He was born in.

    Vs 6-9 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.”

Jesus came here to bring us back with Him to live in that glorious place! He came to teach us, to show us the way, to give us His Word, and to sacrifice His life for us.

Look at an earlier verse in John 6:37-39:
“All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away. For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all those he has given me, but raise them up at the last day.”

Another great prayer in the Bible is Abraham’s prayer way back at the beginning of time in Genesis 18. God was looking toward Sodom and Gomorrah where they were incredibly wicked and sinful (a good picture of all of mankind isn’t it?) and God was planning to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. Abraham felt compassion for the believers there, and he stood before God and implored Him to not destroy the righteous with the wicked. Before the destruction, God made sure to save Lot and his daughters from death. Jesus has done something similar for us. He felt compassion for sinful man, and offered His own life so that those that choose Christ would not be destroyed.

In addition to that, verse 9 in John 17 says: “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.” The Son of God prays for us just like Abraham prayed for the righteous in Sodom and Gomorrah. What an incredible thing!

    Vs 10-12 “And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.”

Jesus prays to God the Father on our behalf. There is no one better to be the advocate for us! Have you ever had one of your parents, or maybe a boss get angry and you could see it on their face. Then someone else advocates on your behalf, maybe they tell your side of the story or ask for compassion, or a free pass. That’s what Jesus has done and does for believers. Through His death on the cross He has offered to take our punishment and prays to God on our behalf.

Jesus mentions that none of them have been lost “except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” This is talking about the fact that Judas – the betrayer of Jesus – was the fulfillment of prophecy. Take a look at Psalm 41:9 “Even my close friend, someone I trusted, one who shared my bread, has turned against me”.

    Vs 13-16 “But now I come 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 pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

We are warned all through the Bible, and particularly in the New Testament, that the world will hate Christians. Indeed, Christians have been hated and persecuted since the time of the early church immediately following Christ’s death and resurrection. The persecution of the believers found in the Book of Acts was initially conducted by the Roman man Saul who would later become the Apostle Paul. (God saves murderers who choose His free gift of salvation in Jesus!) Christian believers continued to be persecuted through the centuries and are still tormented and killed by governments and people groups today.

    Vs 17-19 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.”

John 14:6 says “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” We are sanctified (meaning purified, cleansed, and set apart) through God’s Truth, which is Jesus Christ!

    Vs 20-22 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one”

Christians have a tendency to bicker and fight among themselves. Churches have been divided and dissolved over bitter disputes on issues that don’t matter for eternity. If our focus is on Jesus and on glorifying Him, we will instead concentrate on pointing the world to Jesus, His righteousness, God’s Word, and the salvation Christ offers.

Satan is called the “Deceiver” in the Bible. A key tactic the Deceiver uses to attack the church is to get them to attack themselves. When we bicker and fight and get angry and gossip and fight among ourselves, we’re doing the devil’s work for him! We are NOT furthering God’s kingdom or glorifying Christ, we are instead more concerned about our selfish agendas.

    Vs 23-26 “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
    Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

Our role in God’s plan is to simply follow Christ, read God’s Word, and point the world to Jesus. Are we doing that?

4 thoughts on “Jesus Prays for His Followers

  1. Pingback: How many legs can you cut off before I can’t stand? | Right Wing Nuts and Bolts

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