Prayer Points to the Purposes of the God.

John 17 contains Jesus’s longest prayer, known as the high priestly prayer. Jesus is the perfect priest. Jesus prays this right after the upper room discourse, after telling the disciples to not let their hearts be troubled because He is going away and they cannot come. Jesus is praying this prayer with the agony of the cross before Him.

Each believer desperately needs this prayer which has been recorded for our instruction and growth. We need to know and understand the heart of Jesus, properly responding when our hearts are troubled and turning first to Jesus who knows us best.

It is important to understand the timing of this prayer. Jesus states in John 17:1 that "the hour has come." The event of the cross has come and is in the Father’s care. Rather than being overwhelmed with anxiety, Jesus models the proper response to trials, a confidence with anticipation in what God has promised to do.

Prayer points us to the purposes of God. Jesus teaches us to submit to the purposes of God even at the darkest of times. We see great unity between the Father and the Son (John 17:1) as Jesus prays for Himself (John 17:1-5) with the purpose of the Father being glorified.

Resurrection of Jesus

When looking to the purposes of God, we first see the results of Christ’s resurrection (John 17:2) in the power of giving eternal life. Jesus is given authority from the Father over all flesh, an authority unlike that gained by position, possessions, wealth, or popularity. We cannot overcome the reality that our flesh will fail us and die. Only Jesus has authority over all flesh, and He alone gives eternal life. We have the hope of eternal life in Jesus because the resurrection demonstrates the power of God and His authority over all flesh.

We must submit to the salvation of Jesus by living a life submitted to the authority of Jesus, who is the resurrection and the life. Accepting this free gift of salvation requires our submission to Jesus in the way that He says. We can trust in the power and authority of Jesus and salvation in Him alone.

Relationship with Jesus

Salvation and eternal life through Jesus requires a relationship with Him and knowing the Father, the only true God (John 17:3). This relationship is based on Jesus alone, not on anything related to a believer’s works or circumstances.

This saving relationship is not based on feelings but on truth. Knowing Jesus is knowing the truth of why He was sent: God’s love for us (John 3:16) made a way for us to be saved from our sins (Rom. 5:8). Knowing Jesus means understanding the gospel truth of salvation.

When life is difficult and trials come, in prayer, a believer runs to Jesus, the one true God, with whom there is relationship, and to His Word.

Redemption by Jesus

Jesus glorifies the Father and accomplishes the work given to Him by the Father (John 17:4). Christ glorified the Father on the earth through His incarnation, His perfect life, His signs and miracles, and His words that we might believe and have eternal life.

Jesus’s life points to our need for a redeemer. Jesus accomplishes the work given to Him by the Father, the work of redemption by the cross. Jesus speaks with certainty of this work as completed because God is not bound by time. Believers can be comforted by the truth that ‘it is finished.’ Nothing more needs to be done for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus accomplished everything required by the Father.

Return of Jesus

Jesus returns to the Father (John 17:5), reminding us where glory lives. A proper perspective on where glory lives gives us a proper purpose for how to live today.

We often confuse our salvation now with what it will look like when we see Jesus. Jesus has left with us His peace for this time (John 14:27). We are to cling to the glory to come and not to the life we have now.

Jesus reminds us that though He is our Friend, Brother, Savior, Teacher, God, Lord, Master, and Head, He is deity. Jesus submits to the Father’s will and makes the glory of God His purpose.

It is not just the acceptance of Jesus’s free gift of salvation that is the measure of being a disciple, but the response to the things that Jesus says will cost us, picking up our cross to follow Him. We must submit to His salvation for the glory of God.

In John 17:1-5, Jesus is praying for Himself for the Father’s glory. This helps us understand the need to submit to the power of the resurrection and to trust in the authority that Jesus has, to cling to the relationship that is offered to us in eternal life through the Son, to only hope in His redemption, and to look for the return of Jesus Christ.

Each believer needs to be looking to and submitted to the Father’s purposes in their lives, and through prayer, a believer’s heart will yield to the purposes of God.

Application Points

  • Are you resting in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of your sins? There is nothing more you can do for the forgiveness of your sins. Salvation is in Christ Jesus alone.
  • Have you submitted every area of your life to the Lord Jesus, or are you doing things your way in some areas? Salvation in Christ Jesus requires you to submit your entire life completely and wholly to Him.

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore

Isaiah 53

A Hymn to Encourage: "I’ve Found a Friend in Jesus, He’s Everything to Me"

I’ve found a friend in Jesus, He’s everything to me,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul;
The Apple-tree of trees, in Him alone I see
All I need to cleanse and make me fully whole.
In sorrow He’s my comfort, in trouble He’s my stay,
He tells me every care on Him to roll:
He’s the Apple-tree of trees, the Bright and Morning Star,
He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul.