When it comes to the topic of prayer, there is no better example to follow than that of Jesus himself. In John 17, we see Jesus praying for his disciples and for all those who would believe in him through their message. This particular prayer is often referred to as the High Priestly Prayer, as it showcases Jesus’ role as our great High Priest who intercedes on our behalf.
The Context of the Prayer
Before we dive into the specifics of the prayer, let’s first set the context. In John 17, Jesus has just finished sharing his final words with his disciples before his arrest and crucifixion.
He has washed their feet, predicted Peter’s denial, and promised them the Holy Spirit. Now, he lifts up his eyes to heaven and prays for them.
The Content of the Prayer
The prayer can be divided into three main sections:
1. Jesus Prays for Himself (verses 1-5)
In this section, Jesus acknowledges that he has fulfilled the work that God had given him to do on earth. He prays that God would glorify him so that he may glorify God in return. He also affirms that eternal life is found in knowing God and himself as sent by God.
2. Jesus Prays for His Disciples (verses 6-19)
This is where we see Jesus specifically praying for his disciples – not just those present with him at that moment, but all who would come after them and believe in him through their message (that includes you and me!). Some key themes in this section include:
- Protection: Jesus asks God to keep his disciples safe from the evil one.
- Sanctification: Jesus prays that God would sanctify his disciples – that is, set them apart for holy purposes and make them more like him.
- Unity: Jesus desires that his disciples would be one, just as he and the Father are one. He knows that their unity will be a powerful witness to the world.
- Mission: Jesus commissions his disciples to go out into the world and testify about him, just as he has testified about the Father.
3. Jesus Prays for All Believers (verses 20-26)
In this final section, Jesus extends his prayer to all who would believe in him through the message of his disciples. He prays that they too would be united in love and that the world would know that God sent him.
The Significance of the Prayer
So why is this prayer significant for us today? For starters, it shows us how much Jesus cares for us – enough to pray for us even before we were born!
It also gives us insight into what Jesus values: protection from evil, sanctification, unity, and mission. As we seek to follow him, these are things we should also prioritize.
Finally, this prayer reminds us of our unity with other believers. We may come from different backgrounds and have different opinions on various issues, but ultimately we are all one in Christ. Let’s strive to love and serve each other as he prayed we would.
In conclusion, the prayer that Jesus prayed for his disciples – and by extension, for all believers – is a beautiful example of his heart for us. As we read it and meditate on its words, may we be inspired to live out its values in our own lives.