Day 17 – Nick
Summary of Chapter 17
Verses 1-5: It’s good to continue to hear the echo of 16:33 as we start with 17:1 because this unique window into Jesus’ prayer life starts with,
After Jesus *said this*, he looked towards heaven and prayed…
The ‘said this’ is of course the knock-out verse from the previous verse and chapter,
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
This short section teaches us to have a faith-filled confidence in the completed work of Christ when we approach God in prayer, a victory that demolishes any trouble that Satan, or any evil group, can muster. Jesus knows that we tend to pray more when we are more face to face with trouble and opposition but He means for us to have rock-solid faith when we pray so that we might experience the effectiveness of the communion of prayer.
Jesus, preoccupied with the truth that He had overcome the world, the glory that this brought to His Daddy, despite the unimaginable trouble He faced, turns His eyes towards heaven and prays to the Father from that foundation. These five short verses are like the first few degrees of a window opening on a scene of such beauty that it is quite literally impossible for us to take in: what it looks like for the Son to be fully and perfectly besotted with His Adonai and utterly obsessed with His glory.
Verses 6-19: Breathtakingly, the first of the two longer sections in this chapter capture Jesus’ personal prayers for His men – the people on the planet that He was closest to – His hard-core, elite, SAS, He Who Dares company of brothers. These verses carry the sense of His pride in His sons, (v 6, 7, 8), and their progress in the faith. But it’s a pride tinged with the sadness of ‘losing’ Judas. Jesus’ uses language here reminiscent in feel of chapter ten, of the protectiveness of a Shepherd, including this sadness of the one black sheep of the flock.
The emphasis is not only on the disciples’ protection but also their unity (verse 11) once Jesus has left.
Allow the sense of the disciples’ sadness of Jesus’ departure to wash over you, like Lucy’s missing of Aslan after the First Battle of Beruna. We’re supposed to miss Jesus and to feel the pinch of not ‘fully being with Him’. (See Philippians 1).
This homesickness is the driver for our fasting and prayer.
Verses 20-26: The final six verses from this chapter are all about you and me…well, God’s glory in you and me! It’s staggering to think that this short moment is the fleshed out example of something like Romans 8:34,
Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.
In a similar way that the writer to the Hebrews says, “…for the joy set before him he endured the cross..”, here Jesus is surveying the joy that had been set before Him (verse 2,6), i.e. you and me! Jesus is praying for all believers in the future church and has been praying for us ever since. Again, the emphasis is on unity in a way that reflects the perfect unity of the Trinity.
Key thoughts from Chapter 17
- Considering the number of verses throughout the gospel portraits that tell us that Jesus regularly ‘withdrew’ to pray on His own, through the night, up a mountain etc, I count this experience of looking through a window into the private life of Jesus’ devotions to be unparalleled in significance.
- We’ve tracked with Jesus and His disciples for 17 chapters now, and there is a strong atmosphere of camaraderie through the content of Jesus’ prayers towards His brothers. I watched the final episode of Who Dares Wins last night so a powerful scene comes to mind at the end of the interrogation stage where the Umpire embraces the exhausted recruits struggling to adjust to their release. This reminds me of two things: a) the tenderness and compassion of Jesus towards His men despite the brutality of the crash-course He has put them through and b) Adonai embracing the Son after the psychological, physical, emotional and spiritual horrors of His incarnation, life, death and resurrection. (*If you can tolerate the bad language, I recommend you watch this as a powerful visual aid of what’s going on here in this chapter and the remaining four*).
- John 17:26, the final verse, deserves a bullet point all of its own: Jesus prays that the love that the Father has for the Son would be the same love that we have for Jesus!! Think about that! Imagine loving God like that! Not only that but Jesus promises to continue to make the Father, our Adonai, known to us.
Prayers from Chapter 17
Jesus, it’s hard not to be in total, pole-axed awe as we reflect on these realities, especially of Your suffering and victory. When we ‘look at the Lamb’, when we consider the extent of Your pain and abuse and rejection we think about Your 16:33 victory in a different way – you overcame the world through such a quagmire of unbelievable filth so how can we not take heart? This is why the Father is well pleased with You and embraces You as You glorify Him. Embrace us as we glorify You as our lives increasingly conform to Your likeness. Have Your way in the Nations, God…have Your way. Come, Lord Jesus! Amen