Jesus' High Priestly Prayer, P.1!
Jesus prays! After the last supper and His most profound and imperative teachings, Jesus then prays for His Disciples, the Church, and us! He looked to God as our model, seeking His glory to glorify the Father who has ultimate authority and who gives us eternal life. We can go to God; we can know Him; we can choose Him because He laid the foundation by choosing us first, and we have been given to Him. Jesus modeled and did everything God the Father directed Him to do; now was the time to pay the ultimate price for our sins meant for the ultimate glory and God's ultimate purpose. We have to be careful not to be influenced and overcome by the world, rather focused on Christ, His precepts, and His way. He takes us out of the world into the presence of the eternal God for eternity; what a glorious gift that we neither earned nor deserved. We are to keep His Word, trust, and obey as we receive this incredible gift from God because we belong to God and His glory. At this point, Jesus is departing the world and leaving His Disciples and us to carry on His work and He does so with prayers that God will protect, keep, and empower us. And, of His Disciples, all were kept but one who refused, as the Scriptures foretold and were fulfilled.
Contexts and Background
This passage continues during the aftermath and afterglow of the Last Supper with a warning that those who are in the world will come against us. These Disciples, as well as many to come, would face great loss and depression; Jesus comes to them with His private lessons and hope. He then transitions to a passionate and personal prayer, called the "High Priestly Prayer" where He prays for the Disciples, His mission, and His Church to be. This further showcases His unique relationship to God the Father and how they share the Glory.
Commentary-Word and Phrase Meanings
· Looked toward / lift eyes up to heaven. A posture of prayer with the focus upon God and His way and concerns (Psalm 121:1; 123:1; 123:1; Matt. 26:39; Mark 7:34; John 11:41).
· Prayed. Meaning prayer echoes into eternity. Here, Jesus prays for His personal priorities (that are not self-centered) that the Church would be sanctified. For us, when we pray, we commune with God with not just words of want but with praise to Him for all He is doing and can do in our lives. Prayer is to be conformed to His likeness, to perceive before we receive. The key to a successful Christian life, ministry, and church is prayer. There is no way around it (Psalm 2:7; John 12:41; Philip. 2:11).
· Father. This Name for God occurs one hundred times in John, six times in this passage alone. This is the Aramaic word for daddy or papa-a very dear, intimate, personal honor to the head of the family. This is also a name of reverence and devotion, and not to be taken lightly as we say daddy. It is not a cheap saying or a word to put God in just a "friend" category. We are adopted into His family, and He loves us ever so deeply. Yet, He is still God and the Sovereign and Holy Judge, Creator, Savior, and Sustainer of all things! For this name also conveys the holiness, mightiness, omnipresence (He is everywhere transcending time and space), and omnipotence (All powerful) of God. He is God and sovereign who is active and involved in the universe as well as in our personal lives! So, we are commanded to keep His name holy, as decreed in the first two commandments (Ex. 4:22-23; 20:7; Num. 1:9; 1 Sam. 16:6, 2 Sam. 7:14-15; Psa. 2:7; Isa. 63:16, 64:8; Jer. 34:16; 44:25-26; Ezek. 13:19; 20:14; Amos 2:7; Mal. 1:6;Matt. 6:9; John 20:17)!
· The time / hour has come. Jesus, being fully God, was well aware of what lay ahead for Him and for us. The climax of Jesus' mission of His sacrifice for our redemption was soon to come. This is about Jesus' timing, and that mere persons cannot dictate to God their will or expect Him to do as they wish (Isa. 52:12; John 2:4; 7:6; 12:20-50; 13:1; 17:1).
· Glorify your Son. The life, work, and death and then resurrection of the Son points to the Father's glory. The Father glorifies the Son which is initiated by the incarnation and then fulfilled in completeness by the crucifixion, then the resurrection, and then the ascension. This is also a statement indicating Christ's return to his previous position of glory. This is a Trinitarian statement that showcases God and the uniqueness of the Three Persons and how each one brings glory to the other with the principle of glorifying the Father. The Old Testament seems to indicate God does not share His glory, and this is so, since there is but One God; thus, this passage says it is shared to the Godhood (Ex. 33-34; Isa. 42:8; 48:11; Luke 4:42; 6:12; 11:1; John 1:1-18; 4:34; 7:39; 12:23-37; 13:31; 19:30).
· Glorify you. A double wordplay indicating the Godhood shares the glory. This indicates the Sovereignty and Lordship and the Holiness and Supremacy of God as well as the uncreated, preexisting, and primacy of Christ. The application is for our utmost highest reverence and our call to give Him our praise for His glory by living for Him which is our chief and prime duty in life as we glorify God and enjoy Him forever (Deut. 6:4; 1 Kings 8:1-11; Matt. 17:1-8; John 1:1-14, 18; 6:25-51; 14:917:5; Rom. 11:36; 16:27; 1 Cor. 10:31; Eph. 1:6-14).
· Authority over all people/ flesh. Meaning all of humanity will be affected by God's climax of redemption-a new life and a new age of grace via the cross (Isa. 9:6-7; Dan. 7:13-14).
· Eternal life. Christ's blood was shed in our place to pay our sin debt to please God's price and wrath so we could be forgiven and have eternal life. Christ's most amazing and wondrous gift is imputed to us so our most inward being is transformed and renewed! Without this, we cannot be justified or do any good. The gift of eternal life is not just a reward or great prize; rather, it is Christ Himself! The fruit of sin is death; the fruit of obedience is eternal life! Jesus makes it clear that He is the only way, and we must believe and trust Him by faith. It is faith in Christ, not faith in one's self or belief system that saves, no matter what the origins are, even from Moses himself. The popular belief that one can secure heaven by one's own means-being a good person, being a descendant of Abraham (for a Jew), and so forth-is not so, and wrong (John 3:15-16, 36; 14:6; 17:2-6, 24; Acts 16:31; Rom. 6:15-23; 8:18-30; 10:9-10; 1 Pet. 1:1)!
· The work. Referring to the cross and the victory cry of God's plan of redemption (John 19:30).
· Revealed / manifested. This refers to God revealing His name and showing the shadow of His glory to Moses. This is a demonstration of holiness to sanctify God's Most Holy Name, likened to the Jewish prayer "Kaddish:" May God's great name be exalted and sanctified. Here, Christ reveals God to us in a very deep, intimate, and real way. At the same time, we must realize our privilege and the awe, fear, and reverence we are to have toward Him. We can know God, His role, holiness, attributes, and character and emulate the ones that apply to us and His church (Ex. 3:13-15; 20: 7; 33:19; 34:5-14; Job. 25:1; Isa. 5:16; 29:23; 52:6; Jer. 34:16; Ezek. 36:23; 38:23; 39:7, 27; Amos 2:7; Zach. 14:9; Matt. 6:9).
· Gave / given them to me. Referring to God's sovereignty, who first chooses us and initiates our redemption by His purpose. Our Sovereign and Holy God gives us the faith and means, and does all the work so we can be saved. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Light. This also means God is active in the election of our salvation, picking us up where, because of sin, we can't lift ourselves and He gives us the faith to choose so we can come to Christ and be saved. This also means we have the responsibility to receive His gift of grace and we also deserve any damnation for rejecting Him (John 6:44; 10:29; 12:20-32; Rom. 3:1-19; Eph. 2:1-3; 2 Cor. 4:4; 2 Tim. 1:9).
· Obeyed your word. After Moses received the Law and the precepts of God, he then passed them on to the people. We pass on the example of our relationship to Christ as His display. When we act in good character and live rightly as His representatives, we prove His name. When we act in the flesh, we prove the world and show our disobedience and disrespect, even profaning His Name. The call to make every effort indicates that we are to pay close attention to Christ and take the spiritual initiative and be productive with our faith and lives! Always be willing to acknowledge the difference between what is counterfeit and what is true Truth and be willing to repent and seek forgiveness when you are wrong! True Christianity and its practice never retires or becomes counter-productive (John 16:33; 21:18-19; 1 Cor. 10:31; 2 Pet. 1:12-21).
· Everything you have given me comes from you. Everything in the universe is created by God and belongs to Him (Heb. 2:10-13).
· Not praying for the world. Jesus prays for His enemies that the world would stop being worldly, hostile, and sinful so He can help them. Scripture tells us the Holy Spirit enables a person to receive Christ and the Father sends them to Him; this is called "Definite Redemption." Yet, there are those who refuse and therefore are not in the Kingdom of God. They are so self-deluded by pride, they can't see beyond themselves to what disables their eyes and ears, like sin, prejudice, and/or damage to emotions and thinking and conceit, all of which can easily be reversed in Christ. This is a call to trust and obey and cease to be worldly (Ex. 33:12-17; Isa. 43:1; John 3:3-7; 10:14-29; 16:13-15; 17: 21-23; Rom. 5:4-5; 8:14, 26-27; 1 Cor. 12:3; Gal. 4:6).
· Holy Father. The Beauty, Majesty, and Perfection of our Most Holy God; He is LORD God, so, we are commanded to keep His name holy, as in the first two commandments. In Jewish teaching, right living declared God's name as hallowed (Isa. 5:16; 29:23; Ezek. 36:23; 38:23; 39:7, 27; Zech. 14:9 and in the New Testament, Matt. 6:9; 2 Tim. 1:2; James 1:17)! If they lived profanely, it made God's name profane amongst the nations; this resulted in their misunderstanding of Jesus and why they attacked Him-even when they realized who He was and still attacked Him to protect their positions (1 Pet. 1:15-16; Rev. 4:8; 6:10).
· Power of your name. Christ is the mold for the form that we use to display God's love to the world (John 13:34-35; 15:13-17; Gal. 5:22; 1 John 2:10; 3:14-16)!
· May be one. As God is in unity, He calls us to be so in community to identity with His purpose, plan, and call to have a proper concept of God and work collectively as a church as we are the body of Christ. To do so, we must increase in faith and thinking so Christ is all and working in and through us all (John 14:10; 1 Cor. 1:10-13; 12:25; Gal. 5:20; Eph. 4:12-16).
· Lost. God hates unfaithfulness, betrayal, treachery, disloyalty, deceit, disobedience, faithlessness, contempt and evil, and pride and dysfunction-which is treason against our Holy Lord. Thus, He deals more harshly with those who are apostate-who know the Truth and yet reject it or fight against Him-more than with those who are pagans and fight against Him, as He justly should (Psalm 41:9; Matt. 26:25; Luke 9:5; 10:11; John 13:18)
· Doomed to / son of destruction. Referring to Judas, who was not saved, and everyone who is an anti-Christ, everyone who fights against His purpose and precepts and the resulting betrayal. This is also how one can be so close to the Kingdom and still be steeped in pride and lost. It also shows the foreknowledge of Jesus who knew Judas would betray Him. Judas secretly used his position to seek to get his way and enable his plan to go through to tip Jesus' hand to become a warrior messiah as the Zealots wanted. Contrastingly, Jesus models goodness and humility and love as keys to happiness and commitment in life and ministry (Psalm 23:6; 41:9; Luke 22:24-30; John 6:66-71; 13:11-18; Phil. 2:1-11; 2 Thess. 2:3; 1 John 2:19).
Devotional Thoughts and Applications
Jesus prays for us as we pray to Him! If you are too busy or too preoccupied with life and the struggles thereof, how can you solve them with just adding more stress to them? If your faith is in Christ, then you must rest in Him; pour over His Word, glean the biblical knowledge, and apply it to your life for success in life and in faith. If not, you will fail at everything! Keep in mind this very important point: when we engage the text of the Bible, we engage God! We experience His essence; we are enfolded not just within His precepts, but also within His presence! We are with the living, eternal God of the universe. Thus, when we open up the Bible, we are opening it up to receive Christ and His intimate, personal instructions to us. If we really read the Bible, paying attention to not just the words, but also the essence, we will receive not just our direction; we will become transformational in our lives and work!
We have to see the glorious position that is given to us by what Christ has done for us. Then, we will see the joy (James 1:2-4) and then the hope (Heb. 6:18-19) that we have. God's purity gives us who are not pure an undeserved gift of grace by His love. This is given even though our sinful nature is very much alive and in play. Then, we see that our Lord God is pure and we are sin. However, we have to also see that what we may think is love is not; the will of our hearts may think that we can do as we please since we are in Christ, but that definition of love is simply wrong. This is not love; it is annoying noise, a form of relativism, perhaps even evil. Such thinking and behavior equal a life that is meaningless and produces little to no fruit or real, effectual love.
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
1. Have you ever heard a great argument for not being a Christian? Did you know all the argumentation for this is based on one's hurt and the desire to hurt others?
2. What would a will surrendered to God's do for you? This is the key to successful Christian life, ministry, and church prayer. Why?
3. How do you give Christ your praise for His glory? How about by living for Him? What does that look like? Why is our chief and prime duty in life to glorify God and enjoy Him forever?
4. What does it mean to you that Jesus prayed for His Disciples, the Church, and now for you? How is Christ your model as you seek to glorify the Father? Why is this so important?
5. Have you fully realized that you received the incredible gift of grace from God because you belong to God and His Glory?
6. What does it mean to your spiritual development that God will protect and keep you and empower you?
7. If you are facing great loss or depression, what would it mean to you that Jesus comes and gives you His private lessons and hope?
8. How has Christ taken you out of the world? What does it mean to you that you have the presence of the eternal God for eternity?
9. What needs to happen in your thinking to keep His Word, trust and obey Him better, and not fret over things?
10. How have you been careful not to be influenced by the world? How do you focus on Christ? What do you need to do to keep the world from influencing you, and rather to center your mindset and emotions on Christ?
11. Does God need to stir you up? Are you spiritually lazy or apathetic? Does your Christian activity line up to His revealed truth or is it based on your plans and agenda? Is your teaching from His Word or is it counterfeit?
12. Because you have fellowship with God, how can you be a better instrument of praise and worship to know and model His Love?
© 2010, R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org/