Jesus Prays for Himself
1 Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You, 2 for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him. 3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ. 4 I have glorified You on the earth by completing the work You gave Me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence with that glory I had with You before the world existed.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
6 I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they know that all things You have given to Me are from You, 8 because the words that You gave Me, I have given them. They have received them and have known for certain that I came from You. They have believed that You sent Me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those You have given Me, because they are Yours. 10 Everything I have is Yours, and everything You have is Mine, and I have been glorified in them. 11 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 that You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are one. 12 While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled. 13 Now I am coming to You, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have My joy completed in them. 14 I have given them Your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 15 I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 I sanctify Myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth.
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. 21 May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. 22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one. 23 I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation. 25 Righteous Father! The world has not known You. However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me. 26 I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.”
— John 17:20
If heaven were open for a few moments and we were invited into the inner sanctum to sit down and be a "fly on the wall" in a conversation with Jesus and God, I bet there would be note-taking happening on every device from old fashioned paper to iPads. They would be words we would read over and over. Words we would search out like mining for gold, to see if there was anything in there that applied to us.
And yet we do. We have such a glimpse into the holy place as Jesus pulls away to talk to God about us. It is his prayer for us. It is his heart for us. His deepest desires. And if there ever was a season in life for us to read them again it is now.
Jesus asked for us to be protected. And oh how we need His protection. Protection from the lies of the enemy. Protection from the lusts of our flesh. Protection from the lures of our culture. Protection from our own unforgiveness, pride, jealousies and critical hearts.
He asked for us to be united like He and His Father are. Not any little task, to take the attributes of two holy eternal beings and apply them as a standard or compass to our humanness. But this was important to Him. So important that He talks about our unity, over and over in these twenty-six verses. Our unity matters to Jesus. The unity of our churches. A pastor friend of mine said recently, "There is a small list that divides us, but a much larger list that unites us, why don't we focus on the larger list." Yet we focus on such petty differences. Differences that in the light of eternity only serve to reveal the church often as nothing less than a petty group of reality television personalities. Differences that aren't about core values or foundational pillars of our faith, but preferences that are trivial in light of the desperate need of our times and our culture for a healing Jesus.
The unity of our homes matter. And yet they have been targeted ferociously by our unrelenting enemy and we see his carnage. We see it in our divorce rate. We see it in the great challenges our children face. An all-out assault on the hearts of our families.
The unity of our culture matters. Yet never has a culture been so seemingly divided.
The reason the enemy has thrown such great strategy and effort into division is clear. Jesus said it. He knew how powerful our unity was, "So that the world will believe you sent me."
That is the power of our unity. It is a representation of Him. And in representing Him, it is a testament to this generation that Jesus really did exist. That He really was all that He said He was. That He really does changes lives. Heals hearts. Restore dreams. Define visions. Save souls. And it is accomplished by our unity. No wonder the enemy of our souls is after it. No wonder we need protection.
And then He talks about how the world hates us. And hate us they do. And this hatred grows. It grows stronger with each decade as we peel away another piece of what is true to the lie of palatability. He knew we must grow comfortable with the uncomfortable place of being hated. So he prayed for our holiness. A holiness that would be grounded in truth that came from His word. The very word that holds this prayer for us. The very word we are asked to pour ourselves into each day. The very word that gives us the infrastructure to withstand whatever winds blow our way, the winds of hatred, the winds of division, the winds of unholiness.
Jesus has pulled back the curtain. It is recorded. We have daily access to it. And it is a treasure trove full of truths in a generation growing more comfortable each day with half-truths. Oh that we would guard and protect these famous last words that were recorded all about us.
- What do you feel are the areas in your life that need to be protected the most?
- Where do you feel the enemy tries to attack you with a divided heart the most? What areas of unforgiveness may you hold?
- Is there a place or relationship in your life where you feel you are being persecuted for your faith and beliefs?
- What can you do to contribute to the unity that is needed in your church? Your family? Your culture? To be the greatest reflection of Jesus in this generation?
- What does it mean to you knowing that Jesus prayed this prayer for you before the pages of your story had ever been written?