John 17:1-10

Sunday Morning Bible Study

February 20, 2011


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision

Jesus is on His last evening with the disciples.

He's been giving them lots of instruction, preparing them for the tough days ahead.

And now He stops to pray.

This is not what Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. He doesn’t come to the garden until after this prayer (18:1).

This prayer has been called the “High Priestly Prayer”.

Some call this “the Lord’s Prayer” because this is how the Lord prayed for us.

Some call “Our Father who art in heaven …” the “disciples’ prayer” because it was how Jesus taught His disciples to pray.

In the prayer, you see three sections:

·        Jesus prays for Himself (:1-5)

·        Jesus prays for His disciples (:6-19)

·        Jesus prays for future believers (:20-26)

17:1-5 Jesus prays for Himself

:1 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,

:1 lifted up His eyes to heaven


Focus on prayer

Prayer should be done with our eyes on heaven.
Too often we have our eyes on other things when we are trying to “pray”.
Our eyes can be on others:

(Mt 6:5 NKJV) “And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

Sometimes we are trying to impress others with our ability to pray.

Sometimes we are trying to “send a message” to someone by saying it in a prayer over them instead of just telling them.

Our eyes can be on ourselves:

(Lk 18:9–12 NKJV) —9 Also He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other men—extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess.’

I think that if we’re not careful, we can find ourselves simply talking to ourselves.  We’re not looking anywhere but in the mirror.

Our eyes should be on heaven.

I don’t think it necessarily means that we have to have our eyes open and looking upward.

It means that our hearts are pointed toward heaven.

In a prayer that Jesus commended, the praying man couldn’t lift his eyes:

(Lk 18:13–14 NKJV) —13 And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”


The Best Position To Pray Is…

Three preachers sat discussing the best positions for prayer. A telephone repairman who was working nearby happened to overhear the conversation. “Kneeling is definitely best,” claimed the first minister. “No,” the second pastor contended. “I get the best results standing with my hands outstretched toward Heaven.” “You’re both wrong,” the third preacher insisted. “The most effective prayer position is lying prostrate, face down on the floor.” The repairman could contain himself no longer. “Hey, fellas,” he interrupted, “the best prayin’ I ever did was hangin’ upside down from a telephone pole after my safety strap broke.”

It’s not the position of the body as much as it is the attitude of the heart.

Point your heart toward heaven.

:1 the hour has come

Through the gospel of John we’ve seen this phrase about an “hour” that was “coming”.

(Jn 2:4 NKJV) —4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
(Jn 7:30 NKJV) Therefore they sought to take Him; but no one laid a hand on Him, because His hour had not yet come.
(Jn 8:20 NKJV) —20 These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.

The “hour” started back in John 12 after Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a donkey.

(Jn 12:23 NKJV) But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.

This is an “hour” that will last a week. It started on the Sunday that Jesus rode into Jerusalem. It will end on a Sunday with Jesus rising from the dead.

:2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.

:2 authorityexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; physical and mental power; the power of authority (influence) and of right (privilege); the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed)

just as you gave to Him authority over all flesh, in order that all whom you gave to Him, He should give to them eternal life.

:2 to as many as You have given Him

This theme of “the ones that the Father has given to Jesus” is found several times throughout the entire prayer (vs.2, 6, 9, 11, 12, 24)

There is a sense in which we have eternal life because of the act of the Father choosing us and “giving” us to Jesus.



One of the great mysteries of the Bible to me is that we have been chosen by God.
Jesus said we couldn’t even come to Him unless the Father chooses us first:
(Jn 6:44 NKJV) No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.
“But I thought that we received eternal life when we made the choice to believe?”
After all, the Bible says -

(Jn 3:16 NKJV) For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

How does this all work? Who chooses who?
(Jn 6:37–40 NKJV) —37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of the Father who sent Me, that of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
Here we see the two ideas side by side.

The Father “gives” a person to Jesus. God chooses us.

But eternal life comes when a person responds by choosing to believe in Jesus.

I think we make a mistake when we choose to focus too much on either idea.
Some folks choose to only think that God chooses us.

They will say that God didn’t love the whole world by sending His Son for it, but only those who have been chosen.

This kind of thinking can cause a person to stop reaching out to the lost – after all, if a person is “chosen”, then God will take care of it (they say).

Some folks refuse to acknowledge that God makes choices.

They will have a hard time with some of the verses we’ve looked at.

The fact is that both sides are taught in Scripture.
The Bible teaches that God chooses us.
The Bible teaches that we need to make a choice.

Charles Spurgeon used to describe it this way: In heaven there’s a big sign hanging over the gates of heaven that reads: “Whosoever will, come”. But once you pass through the gates, if you turn around and look back you will see another sign on the inside of the gates that reads, “Chosen before the foundation of the world”.

I’d rather teach the fact that the Bible says that both are true, even if I have a hard time understanding how they can both be true.
How do I know if I’ve been “chosen” by God? I only know of one way of finding out – by choosing to believe in Jesus.

:3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.

:3 eternal life

When we think if “eternal life” we often think of heaven.

Heaven seems to get connected to a lot of things …
Burger Heaven – Is this where good burgers go when they die?
Motorcycle Heaven – it looks like they have “free delivery”
8-track heaven – where those old tapes went to die
Cigar heaven – though I thought cigars would be in the “other” place
Hollywood sometimes makes heaven to be some foggy place where people walk around on clouds and play harps

Jesus said that eternal life was about knowing God.

Eternal life = knowing God
Heaven is a part of the deal, but our focus ought to be on knowing God.

:3 may knowginosko – to learn to know, come to know

This is a knowledge based on personal experience as opposed to just intellectual acknowledgment.

How many of you know who the President of the United States is?
How many of you personally know Barack Obama?

This is speaking of have a relationship with God.

God doesn’t just want you to know about Him, God wants you to know Him.


Knowing God

How does this happen?
It’s helpful to understand why knowing God is such a difficult thing.

Mankind has a huge problem when it comes to knowing God, and until you understand the problem and how to deal with that problem, you still have a problem.

The problem is that we are all sinners. Every one of us.

(Ro 3:23 NKJV) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Our sin carries a high price, separation from God.

(Ro 6:23 NKJV) —23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you are employed at “Sin Incorporated” (and we all work there), then at the end of the day you get your wages – death – which is separation from God.

For God’s justice to be met, someone must pay the price of your sin.

You can pay it yourself, but that would involve going to hell. Forever.

The wonderful thing about God’s justice, is that He allows for someone else to pay for you, as long as they are qualified to pay.

To qualify, that person must be sinless – if they had sin, their death would only pay for their own sin.

If you wanted that death to cover more than one person’s sins, then that person has to have more than a regular, finite, human life – they must be more than a man.

There has only been one person in history who fits those qualifications – Jesus Christ.

(2 Co 5:21 NKJV) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Just because Jesus died for the sins of the world doesn’t make the world automatically saved.

God offers to the world the gift of salvation, but like any gift, it doesn’t do the recipient any good unless it is received.

If you gave your kids the world’s greatest video game for Christmas, but here in February it is still sitting wrapped under the Christmas Tree – is that gift any good to them? No.

We need to receive God’s gift of salvation.

(Jn 1:12 NKJV) But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

We receive salvation by faith.

(Eph 2:8–9 NKJV) —8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, 9 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

What does that look like? It is about opening your heart. It’s about making a choice. It’s about choosing to believe that Jesus died for your sins. It’s about putting your life into His hands.

:4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

:4 finishedteleioo – to complete; to accomplish; to carry through completely

This is related to the word that Jesus cried out on the cross:

(Jn 19:30 NKJV) So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

:5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.

:5 glorifydoxazo – to praise, celebrate; to honor; to make glorious, clothe with splendor


Glory Road

Our passage gives us a little clue as to what “glory” is all about.
We have our own ideas about what “glory” is all about.

PlayAmerican Idol” David Cook clip

Part of the glory that Jesus is talking about is the glory that He previously had in heaven, the glory that He was going back to.
Before being born in a manger, Jesus lived in heaven:

(Jn 1:1–2 NKJV) —1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God.

After the cross, Jesus would go back to the glory He had before:

(Php 2:6–9 NKJV) — 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name

Note that Paul connects God’s glorifying of Jesus not with the resurrection, but with the cross.

Jesus came from glory. Jesus would be going back to glory.
Finished work
Jesus already prayed,

(Jn 17:4 NKJV) I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.

God is glorified when you finish the work He’s given you.

But ... we live in such a disposable society.

We eat off of paper plates so we don't have to do the dishes (not a bad idea!)

We put disposable diapers on our kids so we don't have to wash the dirty diapers (not so bad either!)

But some things aren't meant to be thrown away -

Your life

Sometimes we catch ourselves entertaining the idea of suicide, of throwing our lives away. God wants you to finish the race.

Friends or Family

I see a disturbing trend that some people would rather throw away their friends or family, than learn how to forgive or apologize.

We need to finish the work that’s ahead of us.  We need to keep going until we learn what we need to learn.

PlayThe Force” Volkswagon Commercial.


“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”

-- Thomas A. Edison

We need Jesus' attitude of finishing the race before us:

(Heb 12:1–3 NKJV) —1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.

Jesus finished His race. If we look to Him, we can finish too.


I like the example that Dick Hoyt sets as a father.  He has learned to finish his race, even when it’s difficult.

Play “Team Hoyt”

I like that “together thing.  We are together in this race.  We are also “together” with Jesus.

The cross
Even though Jesus hasn’t been crucified yet, His greatest “finished work” was on the cross.

Remember Paul’s connection in Philippians 2 of the cross with glory?

(Php 2:8–9 NKJV) …became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. 9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him …

Even though the resurrection is VERY important, Paul connected glory with the cross.

Paul also wrote:

(Ga 6:14 AV) —14 But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.

I find this interesting.

I would think the glory of the Son is all about parades, trumpets, and such.

But in reality, the greatest thing that Jesus ever did, was dying for mankind.

Warren Wiersbe: “From the human point of view, Calvary was a revolting display of man’s sin; but from the divine point of view, the cross revealed and magnified the grace and glory of God.”

When Jesus died on the cross for us, it showed us God’s great love and compassion for us, by taking care of our greatest problem, sin, in the greatest way possible, by having someone die in our place.

Greatest hurt / Greatest glory

Could your greatest hurt be your greatest good?

We like to think that the greatest glory comes from winning an Olympic gold medal in front of 100,000 cheering fans.

Could it be that in God’s way of doing things, our greatest glory might actually come from our greatest pain?

Paul wrote:

(2 Co 12:7–10 NKJV) —7 And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

vs. 9 KJV has “glory” instead of “boast”

In Paul’s life, his great thorn in the flesh was the thing that brought him closest to the Lord’s grace.

And for this, he was grateful. He “gloried” in it.

Think twice beloved before cursing the thing that’s “holding you back”.

Maybe it’s the thing God wants to use the most in your life.