Jesus’ prayer: relationships

Father and Son (vv. 1–5) By lifting up his eyes toward heaven (17:1), Jesus strikes a customary posture in prayer (cf. Ps. 123:1; Mark 7:34; Luke 18:13). The first unit in this prayer is Jesus’ intercession for himself (17:1–5). Jesus’ opening petition, “Father, … Glorify your Son, in order that the Son may glorify you” (v.1), implies Jesus’ claim to deity, as the OT affirms that God will not give his glory to another (e.g., Isa. 42:8; 48:11). God’s granting of authority to Jesus (17:2; cf. 5:27) marks the inbreaking of a new era (Isa. 9:6–7; Dan. 7:13–14; Matt. 11:27; 28:18;). Continue reading

Jesus’ prayer: petitions

These chapters of farewell discourse (chs. 13–17) are brought to a fitting conclusion by Jesus’ prayer in chapter 17. This whole chapter is one long prayer directed by Jesus to the Father, his own solemn expansion, one might say, of the simple “Our Father” he taught his disciples in Matt 6 and Luke 11. Positioned between heaven and earth, between his Father and his disciples, Jesus prays for believers present and future. There are many schemas for understanding this chapter, however, it is perhaps best considered by simply following the context of Jesus’ prayer as follows:

  • Father and Son
  • Son and current disciples
  • Son and future disciples

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Jesus’ prayer: context

1 When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, 2 just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. 3 Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. 4 I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. 5 Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began. 6 “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you gave me is from you, 8 because the words you gave to me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you, and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, 10 and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them. 11 And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.

Introduction. “Jesus’ prayer in John 17:1–26 is the final scene of his farewell meal with his disciples. Since the sixteenth century, the traditional title of this prayer has been ‘Jesus’ high priestly prayer.’” (O’Day, 787) It shares many similarities with farewell speeches in the OT, e.g., Moses in Deuteronomy (31:30-32:47) as the Israelites are entering the promised land and Moses is at the end of his life. Continue reading