Faithlife Sermons

HG151pt1 John 17:1-8

Harmony of the Gospels  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  28:04
0 ratings
John 17:1–8 NIV
1 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. 6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.
The whole prayer in this chapter is called the High-Priestly Prayer. It is the longest prayer of Jesus that we have. Prayed from beginning to end not more than 6 minutes. But we know that He was going into the Garden of Gethsemane where he prayed for about 3 hours. Not much of that prayer is reported to us. We also know that Jesus spent whole nights in prayer but we know nothing of the content of these. So, chapter 17 is here in our Scriptures for many reasons;
one of which is to teach us how to pray for here we have The great example from the One who intercedes on our behalf, a prayer that Jesus could have prayed just between Himself and His Father but prayed within earshot of His disciples so that, we too, can know how to pray for others.
Another reason for this prayer to be recorded is to glorify Jesus,
another is to reveal God’s purposes
and yet another is so that we would believe the gospel.
And I am sure other reasons can be added as we go through each verse.
One of the great reformers,
John MacArthur Sermon Archive The Most Thrilling Prayer Ever Prayed, Part 1

Philipp Malengthen lectured on this chapter in the last lecture of his life. And in that lecture, he said this, and I quote, “There is no voice which has ever been heard, neither in Heaven or in earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime than the prayer offered up by the Son of God Himself.”

Thomas Manton, the chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, wrote at least 32 sermons, some say 45, on this chapter alone and each of them about 1.5 hours long. But amazing insights he had. I would loved to have read all 32 I have before coming to this passage today.
This chapter is split into three parts and will make up only three sermons: Jesus prays for Himself 1-8, Jesus prays for the disciples 9-19, Jesus prays for all believers present and future 20-26.
When I say that Jesus prays for Himself this is not strictly true for it is more that He prays for the Father’s will to be done in Him.
So, let us look at each verse in turn concentrating mainly on the first 5 verses:
In the NKJV it starts with ‘Jesus spoke these words’, in the NIV it says ‘after this’. Which words? After what? It is another way of saying ‘therefore’ and so we have to find out what it’s there for - and that is the previous 4 chapters but especially the last two which are collectively called ‘the last discourse’ given to His disciples which concluded with:
John 16:33 NKJV
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
And at that point Jesus lifted His eyes to Heaven, unlike the tax collector who could not raise his eyes through shame, for Jesus had nothing to shame Him or interrupt His perfect union with the Father. And the word Father here is like what a child would call his dad. They were in perfect communion with one another.
And so the prayer starts with the hour has come. In John’s Gospel this can only mean one thing as it is referenced throughout John’s gospel such as in:
John 2:4 NKJV
4 Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come.”
John 12:23 NKJV
23 But Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified.
The hour is when the Son of Man will reveal His true self in His glory and this will be accomplished principally through His death on the cross. The time has come, now is the time. The cross was no accident. It is the reason Jesus came and this was a plan set in motion sometime back in eternity. To pray here to glorify Your Son was to pray that God reveals to people how glorious and wonderful Jesus is. And this revelation was to show what God was really like because of the cross.
As Andrew Patterson said:
Opening Up John’s Gospel It Is about Present Glory (v. 1)

The wonder is that there is no clearer, sharper, brighter, more focused revelation of God’s character than at the cross.

The cross showed how seriously God regards sin. It showed the intensity of God’s opposition and anger towards all rebellion. There is no clearer demonstration in the whole history of the universe of the grace and mercy of God. That’s why Jesus was able to pray that he and the Father would be glorified through the cross—that they would be seen for who they really are.

In ‘Here is love’ one of our regular songs, we have the words:
And Heaven's peace and perfect justice Kissed a guilty world in love
The glory of the cross is the glory of the Father and Jesus revealing their heart for the human race.
In the next verse we read that Jesus has been given authority over all flesh.
As we go through these verses we see it is all about the cross. Christ reigned from the tree. The authority that Jesus has was given to Him at a certain past point in time and He indeed is the Judge of the world. He has the same right of authority as we have to become children of God when we put our trust in Him. And where did that authority come from? Jesus gave that right for He uses His authority to grant eternal life to people. Of course, though it is a gift, it is only for those who turn to Him. And then He is glorified in the lives of His followers.
And what is eternal life? Well, the answer is in verse 3! Which is to know the Father and the Son.
Jesus puts it clearly that knowing God is eternal life. We cannot choose to know God in whatever way we like or choose. I point out that Muslims are wrong. Hindus are wrong. Jehovah Witnesses are wrong. Seventh Day Adventists are wrong. Mormons are wrong. Buddhists are wrongs. Secularists are wrong. Humanists are wrong. And I know that some may not like the next one: Roman Catholics are wrong. How come I have basically put 95% of the world’s population in the wrong. Surely that can’t be right. But I am. There is a prescribed way of coming to God and that is only through Jesus Christ. So, it is thought Jesus alone, by faith alone, by grace alone, by Scripture alone, and glory to God alone which is why Catholicism is in the wrong too. And why the 95% are in the wrong. Religion cannot help you reach God.
Luke 13:23–24 NKJV
23 Then one said to Him, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” And He said to them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
To know God you have to know Christ. The ignorance today even in the so called evangelical church is astounding. To know Jesus you still need to know something about Him. A new dark ages is upon us in Britain for the lack of knowledge of the Scriptures and the person of Christ. Liberal theology has damaged the church even where the bible is supposedly held in high esteem. People simply do not read the bible, are ignorant of what it says or ignore what it says, they don’t know who Jesus really is or what the bible says about a whole raft of issues yet for those who do read and understand they know its effect upon them:
Hebrews 4:12 NKJV
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Today, Christians remain as babies when in the past they were trained and taught the basic doctrines of Scripture, and, of course, it does not help in a post-Christendom time that the general public know nothing about the basics having never gone to church or Sunday School or heard anything remotely Christian in a school assembly. Where is the admonition to Christians today:
1 Peter 2:2 NKJV
2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
Without the Word there is no growth and hence the Churches close at an alarming rate and the effect upon society is now practically non-existent.
Then, of course, knowing Christ is not simply just knowing about Him but being brought into a life-fulfilling relationship of truly knowing Him. And then the rest of life is growing in that knowledge.
Preaching the Word: John—That You May Believe Glorification in the Church (vv. 2, 3, 10)

In “The Great Stone Face” Nathanael Hawthorne tells of a boy who lived in a village below a mountain. On the mountain was an image of a great stone face, looking down solemnly upon the people. A legend claimed that someday someone would come to that village who looked just like the great stone face, and he would do wonderful things for the village and would be the means of great blessing. The story so gripped the young boy that he would spend hour after hour looking at that great stone face and thinking about the one who was coming. Years passed, and the promised one did not come. The boy became a young man, and he kept contemplating the majestic beauty of that great stone face. By and by his youth passed, and middle age came on. The man still could not get that legend out of his mind. Finally, he reached old age, and one day as he walked through the village, someone looked at him and exclaimed, “He has come —the one who is like the great stone face!” The old man had became like the object he had contemplated. And so it is with us.

When Moses returned from Mt. Sinai, his face radiated the glory of God. Paul, in expounding on this in 2 Corinthians 3:18, gave us the supreme practical application of Moses’ experience:

And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

The more we look to Christ, the more we are changed.
A hundred years ago...
Preaching the Word: John—That You May Believe Glorification in the Church (vv. 2, 3, 10)

Sadhu Sundar Singh (the great Christian evangelist of India) once knocked on the door of a village home, and a little girl answered, running back to call her mother. Her mother asked, “Who is it?” The girl replied, “I don’t know, but he has such a lovely face, I think it must be Jesus.”

The more we know Christ the more love and obedience is required to Him. The more we contemplate what He has done for us the more we know we owe our very selves to Him for as we heard earlier - He is the only God there is and to Him we owe our allegiance.
In verse 4 we are told Jesus completed and finished the work that He was sent and told to do. Jesus speaks in the past tense as if it had already happened when, as yet, it was still future. But we read in:
Revelation 13:8 NKJV
8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
Jesus had glorified His Father by being perfect; by doing miracles; by complete obedience but it was the cross that would the supreme way of glorifying the Father.
Preaching the Word: John—That You May Believe Glorification in the Cross (vv. 1, 4)

Jesus is the explanation or the exegesis of God. What do we learn from the cross? We see the holiness of God in the cross as nowhere else. We see his love of holiness and his hatred of sin and his refusal to compromise with it. We also see his love of justice in his condemnation of sin, even exercising his wrath upon his Son who bore our sins. Finally, we see God’s love for us in the vast cost he paid for our redemption.

Preaching the Word: John—That You May Believe Glorification in the Cross (vv. 1, 4)

The cross proves there is no limit to God’s love.

We would have not known this without the cross! God who created the universe saw his son hanging on the tree of Golgotha, covered with the spittle of those he came to save, gasping his final breaths while the sins of the world were showered upon his pure heart. Jesus is “the Lamb, who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The cross was the only way we could see the infinite depths of God’s love for us.

In the cross of Christ I glory,

Towering o’er the wrecks of time;

All the light of sacred story

Gathers round its head sublime.

Our Savior had come to glorify the Father by showing what he is like, and the cross would show that as nothing else could. The deeper our contemplation of the tragedy of the cross, the deeper is our understanding of God, and the more profound our glorification of him.

When Jesus walked the earth His glory was veiled - nobody truly knew who He was though a glimpse of it came through to Peter, James and John on the Mount of Transfiguration. Indeed He is glorious. We realise that verse 5 is one of the clearest from Jesus own lips of His deity and pre-incarnation existence for He, being God, has been around forever.
We know very little about the glory He had before the creation of the world yet we do know He made Himself nothing coming into this world but a particle in all of space to take on our likeness and because He suffered He we are told in:
Philippians 2:9–11 NKJV
9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
His return to Heaven meant He was no longer the same - He went back with a glorified body which He did not have before and we have a description of Him by the same John who wrote the Gospel as the Book of Revelation. This is Jesus today:
Revelation 1:12–18 NKJV
12 Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, 13 and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. 14 His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; 15 His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; 16 He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. 17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, “Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.
And the way to all this glory was through the cross:
Isaiah 53:3–7 NKJV
3 He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth.
The greatest thing that we can do is to know the Father and the Son and have an accurate understanding from the Scriptures. We need to meditate on the cross which clearly demonstrates God’s love. And we must spend time getting to know Him. And finally, a way we can glorify Him more is to pass on what we have learned.


Ephesians 3:16–19 CSB
16 I pray that he may grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with power in your inner being through his Spirit, 17 and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. I pray that you, being rooted and firmly established in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love, 19 and to know Christ’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.


Hughes, R. K. (1999). John: that you may believe. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.
Leadership Ministries Worldwide. (2004). The Gospel according to John. Chattanooga, TN: Leadership Ministries Worldwide.
MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2014). John MacArthur Sermon Archive. Panorama City, CA: Grace to You.
Manton, T. (1872). The Complete Works of Thomas Manton (Vol. 10). London: James Nisbet & Co.
Morris, L. (1995). The Gospel according to John. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Newman, B. M., & Nida, E. A. (1993). A handbook on the Gospel of John. New York: United Bible Societies.
Paterson, A. (2010). Opening Up John’s Gospel. Leominster: Day One Publications.
Exported from Logos Bible Software, 14:51 31 January 2020.
Related Media
Related Sermons