John 17:6-10

Sunday Morning Bible Study

January 5, 1997


Jesus is on His last night with His beloved disciples.

He's given them plenty of instruction and warning about the times ahead as He leaves them.

He ends by praying for them.

:6-10 Praying for the believers

:6 I have manifested thy name

manifested - phaneroo - to make visible something that's been hidden or unknown.

Whereas God's name hasn't been something easily understood, Jesus has explained it all.

John wrote:

Joh 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained [Him.] (NAS)

I see this being fulfilled in two ways:

1. Jesus explained the "I AM".

The Bible gives us God's name, Yahweh, or "I AM"

Exo 3:14 And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.

Jesus Himself had identified Himself with Yahweh's name, causing the Jews to want to stone Him for blasphemy:

John 8:58 Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

Now, to me, a typical question someone might want to ask God about His name is, "I am what?"

Throughout His ministry, Jesus is answering that question, with His famous "I AM" statements (there are seven of them ... nice number)

I am the bread of life (John 6:35)

I am the light of the world (Joh 8:12)

I am the door of the sheep. (Joh 10:7)

I am the good shepherd (Joh 10:11)

I am the resurrection, and the life (Joh 11:25)

I am the way, the truth, and the life (Joh 14:6)

I am the true vine (Joh 15:1)

What was He doing?

He was explaining God's name, to His disciples.

Some have suggested that God's name means "I AM all you ever need".

2. Jesus explained God's nature.

A person's name in the Bible is often tied to their nature.

Example: Jacob, meaning "heal-catcher" was a tricky con-man.

In this sense, Jesus is saying, "I have revealed Your nature to these men ..."

John 17:6 (NIV) "I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world.

When God explained His name, His nature, to Moses ...

(Exo 34:6-7) And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, {7} Keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children's children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.

In this sense, Jesus explained God's nature by being the world's greatest example of mercy, grace, patience, goodness, and forgiveness that there ever was.

John 14:8-9 Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. {9} Jesus saith unto him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? he that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?


What do people know about God from watching you?

Jesus could say that His disciples knew all about God by not just listening to His words, but by seeing Him in action.

If people are watching your life, what do they know about God by observing you?

Men, what kind of concept do your children have of God their "Father" by knowing you as their Daddy?

Do they think God is someone who says, "Go away kid, you bother me ..."

Last night in our family Bible time, David read a verse about God being a merciful Father. I asked, "Is your Daddy a merciful father?" He replied, "Not very much!" (When we don't spank for something that deserves a spanking, we tell the boys we're giving them "mercy".)

Paul wrote:

2Co 3:3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. (NIVUS)

Some people may never pick up their Bible to read God's Word directly.

Your life may be the only thing they'll read that will tell them what God is really like.


The tombstone of J. Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China, was discovered a few years ago in the cluttered storage yard of a museum in Zhenjiang by his great grandson, James Hudson Taylor III. The graveyard where it stood had been razed years earlier, the younger Taylor said at a conference session. He told of efforts by local believers and others to have the memorial stone mounted at another site. Permission was granted, he said, but the museum director demanded $13,000 payment for the 26 years it had laid in the storage yard. Pastors in China overseeing the restoration project recently informed the curator he could keep the grave marker, Taylor said. In their letter, they said that what was etched in the hearts of people as a result of the ministry of the revered missionary who died in 1905 was more important than what was written on stone.

-- Mission For the 1990s: Chinese Reaching Chinese, by Edward E. Plowman.


Charles Spurgeon: "A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you, and were helped by you, will remember you when forget-me-nots are withered. Carve your name on hearts, and not on marble."

What do people know of God when they see you?

:6 unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world:

Jesus, here, is talking at least about the eleven disciples.

He had a sense that these men had been given to Him by God.

It's kind of like how my wife sees the gals that help her in the women's ministry.

She calls them "her maids".

She sees them as women that God has given to her, to help her in her ministry.


How to identify your leaders.

Some of you are in a place of leadership, and in a place where you are looking for those people that God wants to give you to help in your ministry.

How did Jesus know which ones were the ones that God had chosen for Him?

Was it because of their good looks?

Was it because of their advanced education or seminary degrees? (they had no formal education)

Was it because of their wealth of experience in ministry and evangelism? (they were just fishermen and tax collectors)


I came across an article this week that gave ten qualities of a potential leader (Spotting a New Leader, by Fred Smith, Leadership Journal, Fall 1996):

1. Leadership in the past.

2. The capacity to create or catch vision.

3. A constructive spirit of discontent.

4. Practical ideas.

5. A willingness to take responsibility.

6. A completion factor.

7. Mental toughness.

8. Peer respect.

9. Family respect.

10. A quality that makes people listen to them.

Were these the things that Jesus looked at to find out whether these men had been given to Him by God?

These are good qualities, and some of them even fall in line with qualifications for an elder as listed in 1Tim.3 and Titus 1, but I don't find Jesus ever talking about a list of qualifications.

Instead, He knew them through the process of prayer.

Before He chose His twelve disciples, Jesus said:

Mat 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

Luke records another detail about Jesus' choice of His disciples:

Luke 6:12-13 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. {13} And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

It's our tendency to want to make up a list and check it twice.

Not that this is all bad.

Jesus made His decisions after ALL NIGHT in prayer.

Pastor Mark used to say to me that if Jesus prayed all night before choosing His disciples, then he felt he had better pray at least four months before choosing a new elder.

Pray for your helpers.

When I ran the Children's Ministry at Anaheim, I found many times that the more prayer I got going from people, the more people the Lord brought into the ministry.

I remember one time when we were needing quite a few teachers, and I got on the phone and called up as many people as I could think of, asking for prayer.

That Sunday we had FIVE people come forward to help.

:6 and they have kept thy word.

Though the disciples were far from perfect, for the most part, they have been obedient to the Lord in following the things He's said.

:8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them,

Jesus mentioned several times earlier that He was very careful to tell the disciples all that the Father had told Him to tell them.

He was just passing things on from the Father.


Giving what you've received.

If we follow Jesus' example...

We ought to be receiving from God.

Then turning around and sharing it with others.

Paul wrote:

1Co 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (AV) (see also 1Cor.11:23)

What greater thing can we share with others than something that we've received from the Lord?

Pr 25:11 A word fitly spoken [is like] apples of gold in pictures of silver. (AV)

I know that I kind of panic now when I get a distress call from someone, and I haven't had my Quiet Time yet.

Not that I'm legalistic in thinking that God can't use me if I haven't had my Quiet Time.

It's just that so many times I've seen how God will use the very thing that I've been reading about, to minister to the person I might be talking with.

Spend time with the Lord.

Receive from Him.

Then you'll have something worth sharing with others.

:8 and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

As imperfect as their faith is, this is just what the disciples had told Jesus a few minutes earlier:

John 16:30 Now are we sure that thou knowest all things, and needest not that any man should ask thee: by this we believe that thou camest forth from God.

But remember how Jesus kind of gently rebuked them for thinking their faith was so "great"?

John 16:31-32 Jesus answered them, Do ye now believe? 32 Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. (AV)

Yet, amazingly enough, now Jesus is telling the Father that these guys really do believe.


Jesus even honors our imperfect faith.

Look at another incident in Jesus' life:

Mark 9:17-27 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; 18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. 19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.

If we stop here, we can kind of get the idea that we'd better be careful about coming to Jesus if we don't have enough faith! But read on!

20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. 21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child. 22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. 23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. 25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.  26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. 27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

The man admitted he had an imperfect faith, but Jesus still honored what little faith he had.


A little girl who loved the Lord longed to share the message of salvation with those who had never heard it. So she contributed a penny to a missionary to help with the work of evangelizing the people of Burma. That small coin was all she had, but it was given from her heart. The worker on the foreign field was deeply touched by the child's earnestness and decided he would do the most he could with the money. After careful thought he purchased a Gospel tract and personally gave it to a young chieftain. Apparently the Christian did not know that the tribal leader was not educated well enough to read it. God instilled within the ruler a burning desire to know the meaning of the leaflet, however, and he traveled 250 miles to find someone who could translate it for him. After he heard the Gospel message, it wasn't long until the young chief was gloriously converted. Returning to his people, he told them what the Lord had done for his soul. Later he invited missionaries to come and preach to his entire village, and many tribesmen who heard the good news accepted the Savior.

All this and probably much more resulted from one dedicated penny given in Christ's name by a little girl who wanted the lost to hear about Jesus!

The Point: Our God can do great things, even with the little faith that we give Him.

Don't feel condemned because you don't feel that you can trust Him like others you know.

Start where you're at, and trust Him as much as you're able.

He'll honor your faith.

:9 I pray for them

We look at this and think, "Well, He's just praying for the eleven disciples".

In truth, He's praying for us as well.


Jesus is praying for you.

Paul wrote:

Rom 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

I find it interesting that I've heard that some people seem afraid to talk to me if they've fallen into some kind of sin.

They somehow think that I might not like them anymore.

We ought to be like Jesus, not condemning, but praying.

In Hebrews, we read,

Heb 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

He is able to take care of us, getting us into heaven, because He is praying for us.

Because He's praying for you, you can make it through.

:9 I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me;

Does this mean that Jesus never prays for those that aren't "His"?

Some people would go so far as to say that He doesn't even love or care for those that aren't "His".

The answer is simple enough, if you keep reading the prayer.

Later in the prayer, Jesus will pray for future people who are yet to believe, as well as the rest of the world:

John 17:20-21 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; {21} That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

Jesus is simply meaning that at this point in His prayer, the things He's praying for are meant for His disciples.

Specifically, He's going to be praying for protection and sanctification for His disciples later on in verses 11-19.

:10 all mine are thine, and thine are mine

Martin Luther: "This no creature can say in reference to God"

:10 and I am glorified in them.

Isn't it odd that the God who created the Universe has chosen people like us to give Him glory on this earth?

Paul wrote:

2Co 4:7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. (AV)