1. David Chryteaeus, one of Luther's students, called John 17 Jesus' High Priestly Prayer. In this prayer He intercedes for the Church. Cf. Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24 and I Jn. 2:1.
2. In vss. 1-5 Jesus prays for the glorification of Himself and of the Father and for the salvation of all people. In vss. 6-19 He prays for the disciples. In vss. 20-23 He prays for the Church of all ages. In vss. 24-26 He prays that His own be with Him and see His glory.
3. This chapter tells us much about the Word of God. This Word is the Father's gift to His Son. This Word reveals the true God to man, brings man to faith, preserves him in this faith and is absolute truth.
4. Vs. 20 says that there is no revelation outside the Apostolic Word. The word "their" refers to the Apostles who received the Word from God.
5. The word "one" in vs. 22 is used in two senses. Christians are one in the faith. Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one in essence. The two unities are analogical, not identical.
6. The word "in" in vs. 23 is used in two senses. Christ is in us by grace through faith. The Father is in Christ by nature. The two are analogical not identical.
7. This chapter was spoken by the incarnate Christ, the God-man. In vs. 2 He notes that the Father gave the human nature of Christ authority over all flesh. The Father gave the human beings to Christ's human nature. As true God Christ already had these things. In vs. 4 the Father gave the human nature a task. In vs. 10 He says: "All that is mine is yours and yours is mine." That was already true of Jesus' divine nature. He is speaking of what God gave Christ's human nature. In vs. 24 Christ speaks of "that which you gave Me." He already had it as true God. And so the "Me" must refer to His human nature. Also in vs. 24 Christ speaks of the "glory which you gave Me." He already had this glory as true God. The "Me" refers to His human nature. The union of God and man in one person in Christ Jesus is a great mystery.
8. In vss. 1-5 Christ speaks of glorification. In the suffering, death and resurrection of Christ, the Father and the Son glorified each other. The angels at Bethlehem said: "Glory to God in the Highest." That was fulfilled when Jesus suffered, died and rose again.
9. All men were redeemed and saved by Christ Jesus. Vs. 2.
10. We have eternal life when we know and believe in the only true God and Jesus Christ. Vs. 3. He is the only true and genuine God. All others are false. Truth is found only in Him.
11. In vs. 11 Jesus calls His Father "Holy Father". Only here in the Bible does that title occur. The Pope in Rome blasphemously uses this title of himself.
12. We became Christians only because the Father gave us to His Son. Vs. 6 Jesus gave us the Word of God. Vs. 14. Jesus has kept us from evil. Vs. 15. We are sanctified in the Truth because of Jesus' prayer. Vs. 1. We are one in the faith and in union with the Triune God only because of Jesus' prayer. Vs. 21. We don't cause unity. Jesus does that. We shall see the glory of everlasting life only because Jesus prayed for it. Vs. 24.
13 When a Christian feels his sins and weaknesses he should read this chapter to realize that he is safely in the keeping of Jesus Christ.
14. Christians have Christ's joy in themselves because of what Jesus said and did. Vs. 13. It is true even when we don't feel the joy.
15. The unbelieving world hates Christians because they are not worldly. The world hates Christians just as they hate Christ. Vs. 14.
16. Christians are in the world but not of the world. The word "world" occurs with higher frequency in this chapter than anywhere else, 18 times. It has various meanings. In vs. 5 it means "the universe." Also in vs. 24. It means "the world of people" in vss. 6, 11, 13, 15, 18 and 23. It means the "unbelieving world" in vss. 9, 14, 16 and 25.
17. The verb "give" occurs here 17 times, more than anywhere else in Scripture. Thirteen speak of the Father giving to Christ. The remaining four speak of Christ giving to mankind.
THEME: Jesus Prays For Us (cf. Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24 and I Jn. 2:1)
Jesus prayed and still prays for us. And the Father always hears and answers Jesus' prayers. Jn. 11:41.42. He is our High Priest Who sacrificed Himself for us and stands between God and us. In His prayers He prays for two things:
I. THE THINGS WHICH HE DID FOR US
The verb "to sanctify" means "to set aside for a sacred purpose." The verb "to sanctify" is used three times. It is once of Jesus, once of the Father, and once of Christians. Vss. 17 and 19.
A. Jesus sanctifies Himself for us. Vs. 19. This is something that only Jesus did. Only He is our Savior. How did Jesus sanctify Himself? By becoming a human being, by taking the sins of the world upon Himself, by conquering Satan, by dying for us. Jesus says in vs. 18: "You sent Me into the world." The Father gave His Son to all of mankind. "God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself.
B. The Father sanctifies us. Because of what Jesus did for us, the Father now applies this to us. How does He do this? By means of the Truth, God's Word. His Word is Truth. This world is a world of darkness, doubt and uncertainty. God's Word is a lamp for our feet and a light to our path. Ps. 119:105. Paul told Timothy (I Tim. 4:2) "Preach the Word. Do it whether you or the people feel like it or not." The Word means law and Gospel. The law shows us our sin and how to please God. The Gospel brings us forgiveness of sins and strength to serve God and man.
C. We are sanctified in the Truth. The Word of God gives us faith in Jesus and love for our neighbor. If we reject the Word of God we become like King Saul and Judas, lost, despairing and wanting to kill ourselves.
II. THE THINGS WHICH HE WORKS IN US
Jesus said: "I will not abandon you as orphans. I will come to you." Jn. 14:18. Three times in this great prayer Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit (Jn. 14:16-17; 15:26; 16:8-11).
A. The Apostolic Word works in us. In vs. 20 Jesus prays for those who will believe through the Apostles' (their) Word. Paul said in Eph. 2:20: "You are built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself the chief cornerstone." Jesus comes to us through the Apostles' Word which is God's Word. The Triune God, Father, Son and Holy Ghost come to us in the Apostolic Word. The Triune God gives us faith in Jesus and love to our neighbor. The Apostolic Word makes us one with the Triune God. We do not cause unity in the church. Only God and His Word do that. Read vss. 20-23 again. Because of this unity the world believes that the Father sent Christ. Vs. 21. Because of this unity the world realizes that the Father loved the world just as He loved Christ. If the world believes and realizes this, how much more don't Christians believe and realize it? We are attracted to other people who believe just as we do.
B. The Apostolic Word sends us. Jesus says in vs. 18: "Just as You, the Father sent me into the world, I likewise have sent them, Christians, into the world." See the Table of Duties, Russian Catechism, pp. 29-32. God tells pastors, hearers, husbands, wives, parents, children, servants, workers, employers, governments, citizens, children, and all what to do and how to live. All Christians are servants. None are masters. They are like Christ Who came to serve, not to be served.
Why did I become a Christian? Because Jesus prayed for me. Why do I believe in Him and love my neighbor? Because the Triune God and the Word of God live in me. Why do I look forward to everlasting life? Because Jesus daily forgives all my sins and gives me the hope of being with Him forever.