By Rev. Dr. Sergio E. Arevalo, Jr.
Los Angeles, Ca 90041
June 01, 2014 (Ascension Sunday)
The whole chapter of John 17 is the final scene of Jesus’ farewell meal with his disciples. Since the 16th century the traditional title of this prayer has been “Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.” This title highlights the role of Jesus as intercessor in this prayer, but minimizes the intrinsic connections between this prayer and the preceding discourse (NIB).
I. Jesus’ Prays for Himself (vv. 1-5).
1.1. Jesus addresses God as “Father” (vv.1, 5). In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught his disciples to pray “Our Father,” but in this passage, Jesus addresses God as his Father—like Daddy. It has more personal, and intimate relationship. It also shows the real connection of Jesus to God.
Moreover, offering his prayer to God tells us that we do the same. We should also offer all our prayers to God. Then the Holy Spirit brings our prayers only to God. Our prayers should not have “stop overs,” hub, router, or stations. Prayers should be brought to God directly and immediately.
1.2. Jesus foresees premonition of his suffering and death (v.1, see also v.16:32). Jesus says, “The hour has come.” And in 16:32 he says, “Listen, the time is coming, indeed it has already come, when you will be scattered, each of you to his own home, and you will leave me all by myself. Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” Jesus also foresees the challenges and scattering of his disciples.
1.3. Jesus asks for his glorification (vv.1, 5). This attitude shows the role of the Father as the one who could glorify Jesus.
“I glorified you on earth by completing the task you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world existed. I have made your name known to these men whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word” (vv.4-6).
In Greek doxa means glory, honor, dignity, praise, or worship. Jesus prays to his Father, to return the glory that he possessed before the world created, and before he was incarnated (v.5). This prayer shows that his mission was about to finish.
II. Jesus Backs up His Disciples (vv. 6-9).
Jesus backed up (supported) his disciples. Actually he didn’t need to do that since God knew that already. However, this support was necessary for the disciples to hear to boost their morale and faith.
2.1. Jesus says, “They have kept the Word” (v.6). Jesus was with the 12 disciples for at least three years, and he knew their attitudes, behaviors, and their faith.
2.2. Jesus says, “They have received them” (v.8). Jesus supports his disciples saying that they have received the teachings of Jesus, they have received the reality and mission of the Lord.
2.3. Jesus says, “They have believed that you sent me” (v.8). The disciples believed that Jesus was sent by God. They believed that Jesus was the Son of God, the Messiah, and the prophesied Savior in the Old Testament.
2.4. Jesus says, “They were/are yours” (vv.6, 9). As if Jesus was enlisting his disciples in the military or political struggle, “they are yours,” it seems he was saying that “they are yours, and they will not leave you nor forsake you, they will fight for you, they will be with you in your struggle, no matter what happens.”
“I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name, the name that you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”
Jesus knew that they need the protection of God since they were about to go to the world with revolutionary message. The message that would shake the world ups and downs. He knew that the enemy of God will not let it go without a fight. Indeed, the enemy would be bombarding us with his arms and ammunitions, but we have a shield, and that’s the name of Jesus!
The early American Indians had a unique practice of training young braves.
On the night of a boy’s 13th birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test. He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe.
But on this night, he was blindfolded, and taken several miles away. When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods and he was terrified!
Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to attack. After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke, and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path.
Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long (sermonillustrations.com).
It is like our God watching over us, he is with us suffering with us, he is there protecting us, he is there empowering us, he is shielding us against our enemies. It’s all because Jesus prays for us, simply because God loves us.
Tell your neighbors, God loves you!