John 17

Today’s reading is John 17.
Open your Bible or journal to mark some observations:

+ Underline every appearance of the word glorify in any form.
+ Who does Jesus pray for in this passage?
+ What specific requests does Jesus pray?
More than 2000 years ago, Jesus prayed for this Christmas Day.
He prayed for you and for me, for our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren, even the ones not yet born. The miraculous infant that we celebrate today grew just as our children grow. Jesus became a toddler, a boy, a teen, a young man, a student, an apprentice, a teacher, a carpenter. And before his flesh would touch the common materials of his trade—wood and nails—one final time, before this One who is both the Way and the Life for us, walked the way of suffering to lay down his life, Jesus paused to pray.
We read his prayer in John 17.
Knowing the hour has come to pass from death into life, for his great sacrifice to become our great salvation, Jesus asks the Father to glorify him that he in turn may glorify God. I wonder if the multitude of heavenly hosts knew the full depth of their words when they praised God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Charles Spurgeon writes, “In truth, our Lord’s lowest stoop was his highest glory. He was never more resplendent than when he hung upon the cross, that was his true spiritual throne, so he prayed, ‘Glorify thy Son,’ — Enable him to bear the agony, and to pass through it to the glory.’ ‘That thy Son also may glorify thee.’ The death of Christ was a great glorifying of God. We see his love and his justice rendered more glorious in the death of Christ than they would have been by any other method.”
Understanding that the time has come to pass through death to glory, Jesus turns his prayer to the ones he is dying for, for you and me. Since he will no longer be physically present on earth, he prays for those of us who will. He prays for all of us who are in the world but not of the world.
This phrase should make us pause—in the world but not of the world. Wherever we are, whatever we are doing, whether we are physically in a place of grief or celebration, we are of a different place, an eternal place untouched by suffering, a place Jesus Christ prepares for us, even as he intercedes for us.
Jesus prays for all the believers who walked with him, and not for them only, but also for all who will believe in him through their word (John 17:20). He prays for both the writer of these words, John, and the readers of them, you and me. He prays that we would be kept in the name of Christ, that we who believe would be one, just as Jesus and his Father are one. He asks that we would be protected from the evil one, and he prays that we would be sanctified in truth. He prays that we would have his very joy fulfilled in ourselves.
Jesus prays all of this so that the world will know that God loves them so much that he sent his Son, that God loves them even as God loves his very Son.
Just for today-

  • Jesus describes believers as in the world but not of it, and he prays that we would be sanctified in truth. How does the world celebrate Christmas? How do you celebrate it differently? In addition to the joyful unwrapping and dining and revelry, take time to treasure up the true Christmas story and ponder it in your heart.
  • In this passage, Jesus prays for our children, for all who will believe in him through the words of the first believers recorded in the bible. If you have young children or unbelievers celebrating in your home, what can you do today to point them to true story of Christmas?
Rebecca Janni | Author

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