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Jesus Prays for Himself

John 17: The Prayer of Jesus  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Introduction

I remember from an early age the fact that when my Dad told me to do something, it needed to be done. In fact, I, perhaps like you, learned it is always in my best interest to do the work he said to do or my life would get very unpleasant. Once I understood that the work that my Dad had asked me to do had meaning and purpose, my desire to do the work grew. Actually, the desire to get finished is what grew! There is a great feeling in accomplishment!
Jesus demonstrates this in our study we will be undertaking over the next three weeks in . This passage has been called the High Priestly Prayer. In it, Jesus prays for Himself, His disciples and then prays for all believers. Today, we are looking at Jesus praying for Himself.
esus demonstrates this in our study we will be undertaking over the next three weeks in . W
John 17:1–5 NIV84
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
There are several things we can learn from this prayer and things that we can implement in our own lives today. First, look at the proclamation that occurs before the prayer.

Proclamation

The first few words in this passage point us backwards. The phrase, “After Jesus said this” refers to not only the preceding verse, but all the way back to chapter 13. Jesus had been preparing His disciples for His departure.
John 13:7 NIV84
Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
John 13
John 13:36 NIV84
Simon Peter asked him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow now, but you will follow later.”
John 13:
John 14:8 NIV84
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
John 16:16 NIV84
“In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”
John 16:
John 16:32–33 NIV84
“But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
John 16”32:
Jesus says all of these things to the disciples in a way that sows God’s word into their lives just like a farmer would sow seed in a fertile ground. You and I can learn from this example that we should always strive to God’s word into the lives of others. The next step He takes, as we should also, is to incorporate prayer. Teachers, students of God’s word, preachers and churches should sow God’s word and mix that with prayer.
In this passage, we see next the position that Jesus took.

Position

The Bible says in , “After Jesus said this, He looked toward heaven.”
This phrase is an amazing statement that is worth much study. Jesus looked up when He prayed. We see this happening at the tomb of Lazarus just before Jesus raised him from the dead.
Psalm 42:5 NIV84
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and
Psalm 42
John 11:41 NIV84
So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
The Psalmist talks about lifting up one’s soul.
Psalm 25:1 NIV84
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul;
Psalm 31:15 NIV84
My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and from those who pursue me.
Psalm 31:15
Psalm
The essence of the Christian life is to look toward heaven.
We see throughout the Bible passages that teach us that we have a hope and that hope is a place where praising God can replace being downcast. 11 is a perfect example:
Psalm 42:11 NIV84
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
We also see that heaven is a place of reward.
Matthew 5:11–12 NIV84
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
:
Heaven is a place of comfort and a place that is prepared.
John 14:1–3 NIV84
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
John 14:1-3
Heaven is a place where there will be no sadness or pain.
Revelation 21:4 NIV84
He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
Revelation 21:4
Jesus positioned Himself to look toward heaven. He knew well what is in front of Him. He knew there would apparently be no hope; seemingly, He was facing punishment instead of reward; discomfort instead of comfort; sadness and pain instead of every tear being wiped away.
Jesus positioned Himself to look toward heaven.
Yet Jesus, looked toward heaven.
He saw the other side. He saw the glory of God. He saw saw the redemption of His people.
And then He prayed.

Prayer

John 17:1 NIV84
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.
John 17:1
The King James Version has “the hour has come.” The tragedy of the crucifixion, death and burial of Jesus was certainly longer than an hour. However, I think it is safe to say that Jesus could reference a time frame because He knew what was on the other side. How many times do we worry excessively about a situation when in reality it is just a moment in time? How often do we panic thinking the worse is inevitable yet some how we are able to make it through through to the other side? How often do we feel despair by seeing a little bit instead of looking at the whole picture?
Jesus is giving us a lesson in perspective and reminding us with His attitude exactly what the Psalmist wrote:
Psalm 30:5 NIV84
For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:
Dear friend whatever you are facing, whatever trial comes your way, whatever tough time stares you down, it is temporary and you will overcome.
Jesus says “Father, the time or hour has come.” The ordained time. The appointed time. In Jesus says:
:
Matthew 26:18 NIV84
He replied, “Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, ‘The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.’ ”
Recognizing that this is His appointed time, Jesus pleads with His Father. Jesus begins to pray for Himself. Matthew Henry says, “Though Christ, as God, was prayed to, Christ, as man, prayed.”
Psalm 2:8 NIV84
Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.
Jesus opens up a prayer for Himself and we will see in our future study that it does not end there. We will note that although Christ prayed for himself a short prayer, He prayed much longer for His disciples and believers.
Jesus prayed as the Son of God and as the Head of the Church.
Jesus prays, “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify You.”
Hebrews 5:7 NIV84
During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.
Hebrews
The great design of Christ, throughout His life on earth, was to glorify the Father. Our design is the same. We are to glorify the Father in all we say and do as we unashamedly point others to salvation in Christ.
In His reverent submission
Jesus continues praying.
John 17:2 NIV84
For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.
John 17:
The Glorifying of the Father and Son brings life to lost sinners. It is done out of love for the world that the Father has sent the the Son and the Son lays down His life.
John 3:16 NIV84
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
The Father granted to the Son authority over all people. This is evidenced in other places as well:
Matthew 28:18 NIV84
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Psalm 22:28
Psalm 22:28 NIV84
for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.
John 3:35 NIV84
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
Psalm 72:
Psalm 72:8 NIV84
He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
This is the same authority that the Father has had all along.
John 3:25 NIV84
An argument developed between some of John’s disciples and a certain Jew over the matter of ceremonial washing.
John 3:35 NIV84
The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands.
Psalm 22:28 NIV84
for dominion belongs to the Lord and he rules over the nations.
Psalm
Psalm 72:8 NIV84
He will rule from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.
Psalm 72
As Lord of all, Christ has authority to give life to all. However, not all choose to receive.
reminds us that this gift of eternal life is designed by God to cause thanksgiving that overflows for the Glory of God.
Romans
Romans 1:4 NIV84
and who through the Spirit of holiness was declared with power to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.
2 Corinthians 4:15 NIV84
All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.
All Christ is, every command He has given, every action He did were to give eternal life. Eternal life is more than just going to heaven, it is the opportunity to know God personally. Eternal life is not just knowing about Him but experiencing God through a relationship through Jesus.
Eternal life is a gift. It cannot be earned by character of conduct. I recently saw a statement that said, “We don’t come to Jesus for a better life, we come to Jesus because He is life.” In fact, Jesus said
John 14
John 14:8–9 NIV84
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.” Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
John 14:8 NIV84
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
John 14:6 NIV84
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John
Jesus continues His prayer.
John 17:3 NIV84
Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
John 17:3
Eternal life is explained as a relationship built on the knowledge and affirmation of God the Father and God the Son. To see God’s glory is to experience personal knowledge of Him. Do you know Him?
This is not an intellectual knowledge but an intimate one. Knowledge of God and Jesus Christ involves fellowship, trust, personal relationship and faith.
Eternal life becomes a communion with God and Christ that becomes sweeter and sweeter. Just like the old song, “the longer I server Him, the sweeter it grows.” Do you have a sweet relationship with your Lord and Savior?
Jesus proclaims in His prayer “that they may know you, the only true God.”
Psalm 18:30 NIV84
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.
2 Samuel 22:33 NIV84
It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect.
1 John 5:20 NIV84
We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true—even in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
2 Samuel
1 John 5:20
Isaiah 44:8 NIV84
Do not tremble, do not be afraid. Did I not proclaim this and foretell it long ago? You are my witnesses. Is there any God besides me? No, there is no other Rock; I know not one.”
We can be assured through this prayer, Jesus is teaching us there is only One True God and through Him we can have eternal life. Jesus also shows us in this prayer more about His mission. Using the words “Jesus Christ” together, we see the genealogical fulfillment found in .
Matthew 1:16 NIV84
and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.
Jesus means “He saves His people.” Christ means “anointed.” This is a rare time in scripture where Jesus says this about Himself.
Jesus continues this beautiful prayer.
John 17:4 NIV84
I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.
There is great comfort in going before your Father and telling Him the job has been done. Jesus doesn’t complain about the poverty in which He has lived. Jesus overlooks the sorrow and disgrace He has experienced. He shows great satisfaction in the service He has done for His Father. The work was to go about doing good and fulfilling all righteousness. The Father gave Him His work. The Father appointed the Son and assisted Him in it. The Son finished the work.
We must make it our business to be about the business of our Lord. We are to do it for no other reason than to give God the glory. Jesus glorified His Father on earth to the end of His earthly days. We must glorify our Father. We are encouraged by the example of Jesus to finish the work which we are called to do and to do so wholeheartedly and to complete it! Are you working halfway for Jesus or are you all in?
Will you be able to say like Jesus you have completed the work? Or like Paul when he wrote in 2 Timothy 4:7:
2 Timothy 4:7 NIV84
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
Jesus continues this prayer with one more plea for Himself.
John 17:5 NIV84
And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
We see in many places in Scripture that Jesus existed with God before He became a man.
Genesis 1:26 NIV84
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
Proverbs 8:30 NIV84
Then I was the craftsman at his side. I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence,
Daniel 7:13 NIV84
“In my vision at night I looked, and there before me was one like a son of man, coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was led into his presence.
Proverbs
Hebrews 8:1 NIV84
The point of what we are saying is this: We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven,
Daniel
John 1:1–2 NIV84
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.
Hebrews 1:3 NIV84
The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.
Jesus laid down His glory for a short time to carry out the assignment God had for Him. Now He resumes this glory. Jesus could have gloried in the kingdom of this world as He was offered it in the wilderness. Yet, He chose a greater glory. The example for us is that we also can choose and have the glory in the world to come!
Isaiah 53:10 NIV84
Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
Isaiah 53:1
Psalm 17
2 Peter 1:3 NIV84
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
Psalm 17:15 NIV84
And I—in righteousness I will see your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.
Isaiah 53:12 NIV84
Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
What can we learn from this beautiful prayer that Jesus offered for Himself?
Prayer helps us keep God’s glory as the absolute priority in everything we face.
In other words, we decide what we would rather have the Presence of God instead of dwelling on our pain.
We can experience God’s glory instead of dwelling on our goriness.
We can behold God’s beauty instead of acting from our backsides.
We can marvel at His redemption instead of wallowing in our recklessness.
We can focus on the salvation of God instead of our stinking slothfulness.
We can thrive at God’s grace instead of trying to work for our gain.
We can delight in His Wonders instead of being lost in our wanderings.
We can embrace His Holiness instead of living our horrors.
Get the picture? All of this because Jesus prayed this prayer.
Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that Your Son may glorify You. For You granted Him authority over all people that He might give eternal life to all those You have given Him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. I have brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in Your presence with the glory I had with You before the world began.
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