I love it when our kids call home. Often, it becomes a three-way (or even four-way) conversation, but sometimes our sons call and ask specifically to speak with their dad. When that happens, I know there’s likely a decision in the pipeline, or they’re working through a wrinkle in a relationship and want to vent and pick up some wise counsel.
Listening in to one side of a father/son conversation, I gain delightful insights into the unique relationship that exists between my boys and their dad, and I am reminded that the father/son bond is the oldest relationship in the universe, having its origins in the Trinity from before the creation of the world. The seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel is an overheard interaction between God the Father and God the Son, a face-to-face communion rooted in unbroken fellowship and perfect unity.
Susan Shipe has done the work of careful listening to this passage of scripture, and in John 17: The Real Lord’s Prayer, she travels verse by verse through the thirty-two sentences of Jesus’s heartfelt prayer. Even as he was nearing the end of his earthly ministry and the beginning of his suffering that would lead to his death, his chief concern was for his first-century disciples and for us today! Just as I learn what’s important to my sons by paying attention to what they bring to their dad, Jesus’s heart is revealed in his poured out prayer to his own Father.
Focus on the Glory of God
Shipe begins with the glory of God because that’s where Jesus began with his first request:
Glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…”John 17:1
In this, I’m challenged to make that my focus when I come to God in prayer, and the challenge is reinforced by well-chosen quotes from Oswald Chambers with each section heading:
It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.”
Jesus Prayed for YOU!
Jesus knew the “end” for him would not be pleasant, and yet he persevered in his equipping prayer for his disciples then and his disciples today. As I consider each specific request, I am challenged to ask myself, “Am I focused on and praying for the concerns that occupied Jesus’s prayer life?”
Keep them in your name. (v. 11)
Let them have my joy fulfilled in themselves. (v. 13)
Keep them from the evil one. (v. 15)
Sanctify them in the truth. (v. 17)
Let them all be one. (v. 21)
Let them be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. (v. 24)
Pause for a moment and put your own name in place of them. With the cross only hours away, Jesus was praying for his much-loved disciples. And he was praying for you and me.
I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.”John 17:20
Jesus Is Still Praying for You!
As she rejoices in the impact of these requests for us today, Susan Shipe shines the spotlight on each of the twelve disciples, one by one, sharing highlights from their following life, failures that shaped their growth, and encouragement for present day disciples. John’s faithful record of their Lord’s prayer must have sustained and challenged them as they each became leaders of the fledgling church and carried the Gospel to the far corners of their world.
Click here to read Jesus’s intimate conversation with God as recorded in John 17.
Do you see why it’s sometimes called Jesus’s High Priestly Prayer?
In coming before God on our behalf, he fulfills once and for all the Old Testament role of priest.
If you are a believer in Christ, your position before God is secured by the truth that “He always lives to make intercession” for you! Jesus’s ministry of prayer continues on our behalf as he beholds the face of of the Father and serves as our advocate before the throne of grace.
Rejoicing in our great salvation,
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