Friday, April 16, 2010

Preparatory Persuasion: Jesus Prays For Himself And Believers: John 17:1-26

Text: John 17:1-26

Theme: "And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name." (20:30-31).

3. Preparatory Persuasion
     C. Of disciples (13-17)

Jesus prays for Himself (v1-5), and believers (v6-26).

Jesus prayed for Himself (v1-5). Jesus asked the Father to restore His former glory. Philippians 2:6ff says that Jesus did not consider His equality with God something to cling to, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and becoming obedient to the point of death on a cross. In order for Jesus to take the place of sinners, and pay their debt of sin, Jesus had to leave heaven, become a man, and die on the cross. This work reveals God the Father's love for man, as well as His righteous requirements for payment of sin (Romans 3). Through Jesus, believers see the grace, love, and justice of God which offers payment of sin through Christ, and results in "eternal life" for those who trust Christ as Savior. Having all but finished this work, Jesus now asks God to restore Him to the glory He formerly shared in the presence of God.

Jesus prayed for believers (v6-19). He asked the Father for their security (v6-15), sanctification (v16-19), unity (v20-23), and glorification (v24). 

With regard to believer's security, the world would hate and sometimes kill believers (v14, 15). The type of security Jesus is talking about seems to involve protection from the "evil one"--probably Satan--and from loss of faith or salvation (cf. "while I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled"; v12). Jesus seems to be asking the Father to keep them saved in His name, just as Jesus had been doing while He was with them on earth. Jesus prayed for believer's security.

Concerning believer's sanctification, Jesus asked that they may be consecrated to God, and set apart from sin, through faith in the Word of God (v17-18). 1 Peter 1:23 says we are born, spiritually (saved), by the power of God's preached Word. 1 Corinthians 12:13 says that the Holy Spirit places every believer into the body of Christ. Ephesians 1 indicates that God blesses every believer in Christ with "every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus".  This is our permanent position of sanctification in, whereby God places us into Christ, and makes us "saints" (cf. 1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11, etc.).

But God also works a progressive sanctification in believers, as He gradually conforms them to the image of His Son, during their life on earth (Romans 6-8; 8:29; *2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Thess. 4:3, etc.), and ultimately glorifies them in heaven (Romans 8:29ff). 

Jesus also prayed for believers' unity (v20-23). This involves making them one with each other, by placing them into one body in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 2:11-22), and also making them one with God, by placing them in Christ (cf. Ephesians 1; Romans 6:1ff), and by  God indwelling them (v20-23, 27). As believers live in accord with this position of unity (cf. Ephesians 4:1-16), by demonstrating love for one another, it gives a strong testimony for the world to believe that Jesus truly came into the world, and that believers are loved by God (John 17:23). 

Jesus prayed for believers' glorification (v24). This would mean, among other things, they would be with Him in heaven if they die, or if He came back to "catch them up" first (cf. Romans 8; 2Cor. 5:8; 1 Thess. 4:13-18; John 14:1ff, etc.).

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