John 17 is so sweetly unique. In chapters 13-16, the Lord spoke to His disciples. Now in chapter 17, He turns and speaks to His Father. In the presence of His disciples, the Lord Jesus prayed this loving intercessory prayer. They were privileged to hear these words and John was led to pass them on to us in his writings. The Lord’s earthly ministry was now completed and it was time for Him to give Himself “for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.” (Ephesians 5:2). We cannot give a complete commentary on this chapter, but let us consider a few verses.

In verses 1-5, the Lord Jesus speaks of His completed work. Notice how that in verse 1 He asks His Father, “…glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” This is what is referred to as His ‘ACQUIRED GLORY’. That glory that He earned by His sacrificial work while on the earth. His desire was that, being glorified, He might glorify His Father. Now, notice that in verse 5, the Lord prays, “…glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” This is what is referred to as His ‘ESSENTIAL GLORY’…the glory that belonged to Him before He came to the world as a babe in the manger, even before the world was created. This certainly is a comment on the eternal existence of the Lord Jesus.

In verse 9 we read, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.” In this prayer, the Lord did not point out any shortcomings or sins of the disciples. No, He speaks of them as the recipients of His grace. Notice, too, that the Lord did not ask for worldly riches, acclaim, or an easy life. His desire is not that we become comfortable in this world that hates and has rejected Him. His desire and prayer is that we live for Him in this present evil world. He prays:

“Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” (Verse 11)

“That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” (Verse 13)

“I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.” (Verse 15)

“Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” (Verse 17)

In these verses, the Lord was praying specifically for His present-day disciples. However, He prayed in verse 20, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” Here, the Lord prayed specifically for US…for all who would believe on Him through the passed down Gospel of Christ! So, in that sense, all the things that the Lord prayed for his disciples, He also prayed for us!

Verse 24 says, “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.” This prayer has not yet been fulfilled completely yet. It is true that whenever a believer dies, he is ushered into the presence of the Lord. We read in 2 Corinthians 5:8, “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” But, one day it will be completely answered and all the Lord’s redeemed ones will be with Him and share His glory.

Let’s close this meditation with these encouraging words from our savior. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3) (328.6)