Study Notes

John 17:4-26


Jesus is spending the last evening with His disciples. At the end of chapter 14, they got up from the last supper and began to head out toward the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus will be betrayed and arrested.

Chapters 15 and 16 documented the warnings, teachings, and encouragement that He gave the disciples on the way as they walked. As they are about to about to enter the Garden, Jesus begins to pray aloud, lifting His eyes to heaven, and saying,

John 17:1-3 ..."Father, the hour has come; glorify Thy Son, that the Son may glorify Thee, even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life. And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.

Now, continuing, He prays,

17:4-5 Glorify Us

"Glorify" is one of those "Christian" words that isn't really understood by a lot of people. It means "to honor, to praise, to extol something or someone."

Jesus is saying, "Father, I have glorified you on earth. Now, glorify Me in heaven - right back to the place that I had with you before I came to earth."

17:6-8 Manifested Thy Name

"I manifested Thy name," Jesus prayed. Paul said that Jesus Christ...

Col. 1:15 the image of the invisible God...

And John told us earlier in chapter one,

John 1:18 No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has explained Him.

Jesus was demonstrating and living the very nature of the Father. He pictured and personified the Father in every way. At the last supper,

John 14:8-9 Philip said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and {yet} you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father..."

Jesus manifested the Father to us.

17:9-10 Jesus' Intercession

Jesus here is interceding for the disciples. It was the job of the High Priest to make intercession for the people. The writer of Hebrews pointed out that...

Hebr. 7:23-25 ...the {former} priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers, because they were prevented by death from continuing, but He, on the other hand, because He abides forever, holds His priesthood permanently. Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.

Jesus will never die again. Therefore, as our High Priest, He will always intercede for us. Paul told the Romans,

Rom. 8:34 ...Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.

Here we have insight into the intercession that Jesus made and continues to make for us.

17:11-12 The Son Of Perdition

Here Jesus talks about the "Son of Perdition," Judas Iscariot. Remember, that Judas is, at this very moment, making the final preparations to bring the cohort of men to arrest Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Jesus says that the Scripture was fulfilled in Judas. This could mean the many Scriptures that spoke of Jesus' death. Judas was the instrument by which He was betrayed. There are, however, two Old Testament Scriptures that I can think of that are attributed to Judas in the New Testament (Jn 13:18, Acts 1:20):

Ps. 41:9 Even my close friend, in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me.

Ps. 109:8-9 Let his days be few; Let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, And his wife a widow.

There is one more possibility that some people point to. Jesus calls him the "Son of Perdition." This title is also ascribed to the antichrist in 2Thessalonians.

2Ths. 2:3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for {it will not come} unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction,

Some people believe that the antichrist will actually be Judas Iscariot, brought to life by the devil himself. I don't personally believe that, but it's an interesting theory.

17:13 Joy Made Full

The Scriptures demonstrate that joy comes from obedience and faithfulness. Whether it is the parable in which Jesus taught,

Matt. 25:21 ..."Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master."

Or the disciples bring sent out to preach,

Luke 10:17 And the seventy returned with joy, saying, "Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name."

Or Jesus teaching,

John 15:10-11 "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments, and abide in His love. These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may be in you, and {that} your joy may be made full."

If you're looking for real joy, you're only going to find it in being faithful and obedient to God.

17:14-16 In The World, Not Of The World

The word "world" shows up in this prayer 13 times. What is the "world?"

The New Testament describes the world as being ruled by the devil. The world brings worries, stumbling blocks, and sorrow. The world doesn't know Jesus Christ, it hates Him. The world is dark, sinful, unrighteous, and ripe for judgment. It is full of lust, coveting, swindling, and idolatry.

And yet God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son. He sees it as a field in which to sow the seed of His Word. That's why He's left us here: to be the light of the world, to be a witness to the world, to preach the gospel in the whole world, that the world should be saved through Jesus. This is why Jesus is praying for us to be in the world, but not of the world.

We have to be in this world. However, I must admit that there have been times that I've desired to find a cabin in the hills or an island in the ocean where the world can't get to me. To go live among the Amish or find a monastery or commune somewhere. But God always reminds me that if I live my life in seclusion, I am going against the prayer of Jesus Christ that we be in the world.

So on one hand, we have the command to be in the world. But we also have stern warnings about keeping ourselves from being defiled by the world:

James 4:4 you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.

1John 2:15-16 Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.

Paul told the Romans how to keep from being corrupted by the world.

Rom. 12:1-2 I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, {which is} your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

How can we practically be kept from the defilement of this world? How can we keep our minds renewed when surrounded by the corruption and sin of the world? We just need to walk in our faith. John said,

1John 5:4 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world - our faith.

Let's be faithful to both commands: Be in the world. Don't be of the world.

17:17-19 Thy Word Is Truth

Now He wraps up everything we need to be set apart in this world:

John 17:17 "Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth."

To be sanctified means to be set apart. We will be set apart from this world's corruption in the truth. What is the truth? The Word of God is truth.

The world is assaulting you from every side. "If you drink our beer, women will flock to you!" But the truth says,

Eph. 5:18 not get drunk...

1Cor. 6:10 ...drunkards (shall not) inherit the kingdom of God.

"If you use our credit card, you can have whatever you want!" But the truth says,

Luke 12:33 "Sell your possessions and give to charity..."

The world cries, "Adultery is a private matter between two adults!" But the truth says,

Hebr. 13:4 Let marriage {be held} in honor among all, and let the {marriage} bed {be} undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge.

The world sympathizes, "Your problems are all your parents' fault. Blame your miserable life on the way they raised you!" But the truth says,


Phil. 3:13 ...forgetting what {lies} behind and reaching forward to what {lies} ahead

If you know the truth and live by the truth, then you will be sanctified from the world. That is why the Word is so necessary to your life on a daily basis. Read it through completely. Make a New Year's resolution to read through the Bible in a year. Have a daily time of devotional reading, allowing God to speak to you and address your life. Study it in-depth. Memorize verses that minister to you. This is how you are sanctified from the world.

17:20-23 Perfected In Unity

Jesus now prays for every believer throughout history. That includes you and me! What is His prayer? That we all may be one, united in love. Love between Christians is supposed to be a sign to the world:

John 13:35 "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another."

Is this what the world has seen? By and large, they have seen division, fighting, backbiting. Like it or not, there are many denominations that we disagree with doctrinally that we are still called to be united with in love relationally.

You may feel one way about spiritual gifts, I may feel another. You may feel one way about the Rapture of the church, I may feel another. You may feel one way about predestination, eternal security, or any number of other doctrines, I may feel another. And God doesn't want us to be mindless automatons, blindly believing a universal creed or doctrinal statement. But He does want us to be united in love.

Paul the apostle pointed out the things that we are to be unified around:

Eph. 4:1-6 I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, entreat you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing forbearance to one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.

There is one body of Christ, and regardless of the name of the church we're attending, every born-again believer is part of the one true church.

There is one Holy Spirit, who indwells every member of the one true church.

There is one hope that every born-again Christian has: eternity with Jesus Christ.

There is one Lord, who has called us to one faith, commanded us to one baptism, and reconciled us to one God and Father.

These should be points of unity that we can meet at: sharing love and fellowship with all who are born again. The Psalmist wrote,

Ps. 133:1 BEHOLD, how good and how pleasant it is For brothers to dwell together in unity!

If you're a member of the Body of Christ, then you have a lot of siblings - not only in this church, but in churches all across the earth. And our Father wants us to get along!

17:24-26 With Me Where I Am

Jesus earnestly desires our fellowship in heaven. He prayed for each of us, that we will someday go to be with Him. That is why the Scriptures say,

Ps. 116:15 Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His godly ones.

When we pass from this world and into the presence of the Lord, it will be a wonderful reunion.

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