In chapter 17, Jesus has prayed for himself and for his disciples. In this passage, he prays for all of those who would believe in himthroughout the ages, including us. The unity that believers have with each other is to be so profound that it mimics the unity that God the Father has with God the Son. It is based upon a common belief, and it results in love for one another and a common purpose in glorifying God. This unity is to be so uncommonly unusual and powerful that it causes non-Christians to desire to know Christ. Jesus then prays that believers will be able to see the glory of God. As they see this glory, they will be changed by it, so that they will know God fully and love each other fully.
Jesus has finished listing off the reasons why he is praying for the disciples, and he now turns his attention to specific requests for them. He prays for that they will be set apart for the sake of the world.
Jesus’ earthly work is coming to a close, but the work of the disciples has just begun. In order for them to be successful in this work, they must continue to remain in Jesus by remaining in his word. Yet, to the extent that they do so, the rebellious world will surely hate them. They may be tempted to reject Jesus, or make compromises with the world, or to withdraw from the world altogether, but taking any of these options would be sin. If they did any of these things, they would cease to be the witnesses that they need to be.
Jesus prays that the disciples would be set apart for God’s service. Specifically, he is setting them apart as witnesses to a lost world, though this calling will involve unpleasant consequences. Just as he is set apart for pain and suffering, so they shall be also.
Jesus has just finished praying for himself; that
be glorified through his death. Jesus now turns his attention to his
disciples, and he prays that God would be glorified through them as
well. In this passage, Jesus says that there are four reasons that he
is praying for them.
First, Jesus prays for the disciples because God the Father gave them
to Jesus. He will use this precious gift to bring glory to himself
and the Father. Second, Jesus prays for the disciples because they
know him. Though the disciples did not perfectly understand
everything that Jesus had ever told them at this point in their lives,
they did understand that he was God and man, and that he would save
them. Third, Jesus prays for the disciples because he loved them very
much. It is true that Jesus loves all people, but the love that he
has for his own is a special love. Fourth, Jesus prays for his
disciples because he is about to leave them. They will have to face
temptations and hostility without his physical presence.
Chapter 17 records Jesus’ farewell prayer. This prayer embraces every
aspect of his mission, and it begins with an request that God be
glorified in his death and resurrection.
God the Son had perfect and complete glory before the world began. He
has always lived in unapproachable light, and has always been
perfectly honorable (1 Tim 6:16). When God the Son became man, he
remained perfectly glorious in himself, but he veiled that glory in
human flesh, so that he appeared to be a man like any other. At
times, however, Jesus’ inward glory would peek through, such as the
time on the mountain when “his face shone like the sun, and his
clothes became white as light” (Matthew 17:2). Jesus is praying that
he would once again be clothed in splendor, such as he was before the
There is a sense in which Jesus’ inward glory can be seen on the
cross. Though he did not shine with light, he did display God’s glory
to the world as he died for our sins. In the cross, is
glorified through God the Son.
The glory of God in the cross of Jesus Christ is made clear whenever
someone believes in Jesus. As Jesus seeks and saves those sheep that
the Father has given to him, he brings . We should praise
him for redeeming us.