With this prayer, recorded by John in chapter 17 of his gospel, we are on holy ground. It makes us close witnesses of the intimate relationship between the (eternal) Father and the (eternal) Son. In this prayer, the Lord Jesus also speaks as a Man to the Father, who is holy and righteous (vv. 11, 25). Thus, John 17 introduces us to the mystery of Christ’s Person – God and Man in One, yet distinct – and to the mystery of the divine Trinity (One in Three and Three in One). All of this is besides the mystery of the divine inspiration of Scripture, something that is implied in John 17. While we will never fully grasp these mysteries, they have been made known to us so as to stimulate us to adore the Father and the Son: just worship!
When looking closer at this amazing chapter, John 17, we notice several series of seven points; this is left for your further study and meditation. In Scripture, the number seven usually indicates what is complete and perfect. For now, my point is that this can certainly be said of this prayer: its perfection is yet another reason to worship the Lord, and our God and Father.
Considering the circumstances the Lord found Himself in – on His way to the Garden of Gethsemane, or perhaps in it – we notice that He is not crushed under the difficult circumstances in anticipation of the cross that is before Him. Absolute confidence in, perfect communion with the Father, a harmonious relationship with Him and real dependence on Him, are some of the features that characterize this prayer. This we see right from the start, for we read that He lifted up His eyes toward heaven. Adorable Savior, may we follow Your example!
At the age of twelve, the Lord Jesus said, “I must be about My Father’s business” (Lk. 2:49). Then, at the beginning of His public ministry, He showed Himself to be fully committed to God’s interests (Luke 4). The Devil was not able to make Him sway from this objective, even though Christ was rejected by His own people – right from the beginning (Jn. 1:11). Now, toward the end of His earthly service, the Lord, in His spirit, places Himself after the work of the cross, and can request that the Father glorify the Son, as the Son had glorified the Father (Jn. 17:1). When we compare this request with verse 5, we may catch a glimpse of His greatness. There He asks to be glorified as a Man, in the presence of the Father, with the glory He already had from before the foundation of the world! As human beings, these are things that are “mind-boggling” to us. But, rather than criticizing Scripture, such issues lead us to worship.
Looking back over His life on earth, the Lord could say, justly and honestly, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (v. 4). Wonderful words, wonderful facts! Here is another reason to worship Him, while at the same time, these words are written for our encouragement, that we might follow Him and commit ourselves to do God’s will in our lives. Also with the Lord’s help, to complete things that we start; and not only begin them, but finish …
This wonderful prayer introduces us also into a further enjoyment of our relationship with the Father and the Son (v. 3). The moment we believed we received eternal life (Jn. 3:16; 3:36a), and the Lord Jesus is “the eternal life” (1 Jn. 5:20). The Lord’s desire is that we may cultivate this relationship with Him and with the Father, and so enjoy eternal life He has given us. Verses 3-4 of John 17 summarize Christ’s mission, of the One who has power (authority) over all flesh (v. 2) and who completed it. We can truly say: mission accomplished.
Another amazing matter is the objective of, or the reason for, this mission. It was – and still is – that we would have fellowship with the Father and the Son and have fullness of joy (read 1 Jn. 1:3-4). God so designed all this that we would be true worshippers, “for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (Jn. 4:23). Just worship!
For Your Further Study And Meditation
A Few Sevens in John 17
(Verse numbers listed below.)
Seven is the symbol of perfection—the sense, however, being sometimes evil, though prevailingly good … [In Revelations] the seven addresses to the churches give in like manner the complete inspired Church-history. The seven seals secure the book completely. In the seven vials [bowls] is “filled up the wrath of God.” The seven more wicked spirits which the unclean spirit associates with himself (Matt. 12:45) is an example of the bad sense; and the seven heads of the beast … Perfect divine accomplishment we may take as the meaning of this number in a good sense.
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org