Lesson 11

The High Priestly Prayer: Jesus

(John 17)
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Introduction: Do you wish you had someone to watch over you? Someone who really cared about your problems and your future? Do you show this kind of care and love for others? This week we see God's unselfish compassion for us as we continue our study of Jesus' last hours on earth. Last week we studied Jesus' words of comfort to His disciples before He was taken from them. This week we look at His prayer for His disciples. Let's dive in!



  1. Take Heart!


    1. Put yourself in the place of one of the disciples at the Last Supper (Jesus last meal before being crucified). Compare your dreams of the future versus what we now know happened? (They were dreaming of being earthly rulers. ( Acts 1:6) Instead, Jesus was crucified and their dreams of earthly authority were shattered.)


      1. Read John 16:32-33. When our world turns upside down, what is Jesus' desire for us? (To give us peace and courage.)


        1. Is having trouble just a normal part of living on earth? (Verse 33 suggests just that.)


        2. What do you think is the most important of Jesus' statements in verse 33? (Jesus has overcome the world! Whatever problem or trouble you have, He has already overcome it!)


          1. Do you agree? Are there any problems in life that Jesus has not overcome? (This week I met a man whose two (and only) children and were killed in the same automobile accident with his parents. That problem makes most of our "problems" pale. Jesus in the next chapters is poised to overcome the ultimate problem: death.)


  2. Glory to the Son


    1. Read John 17:1. Jesus was about to be brutalized and cruelly murdered. How can Jesus pray for glory? Was there glory in what happened to Jesus?


      1. Read John 12:23-24. Explain to me what Jesus is saying about glory in wheat dying?


      2. Should we apply this principle to our life? If so, how?


      3. Jesus says that He is bringing glory to His Father. We can now understand how he was bringing glory to us by the wheat comparison, but how was He bringing glory to His Father in Heaven?


    2. Read John 17:2-4. How does verse 4 say that Jesus was bringing glory to His Father? (It is the Father's work to cure the sin problem and bring us back into harmony with Him. It is also God's work to reveal His heart for us.)


      1. Look at the logical sequence in verses 2 and 3. Jesus first tells us that His Father gave Him authority over us to give us eternal life. Then He tells us how to obtain eternal life under His authority. How do we do that? (Verse 3 says by knowing the Father and Jesus.)


    3. Read John 17:5. What does this verse say to those who believe that Jesus was simply a good man? (He is either God or He is liar. He clearly states in this verse that He had a glorious pre-existence in heaven before the world began!)


    4. Read John 17:6-7. What link do you find between verse 4 and verse 6? (Jesus now clearly says His work is to reveal God.)


      1. Does it glorify Jesus to say that everything He has came from the Father? Doesn't this undercut Jesus' glory?


        1. If it glorifies Jesus to say this, are you glorified by attributing your success in life to God?


          1. We started out (v.1)talking about how Jesus' crucifixion and death was about to bring glory to Him. Can your failures and problems bring glory to God? If so, how?


    5. John 17:6-8 indirectly says something about Jesus' disciples (and us). What was Jesus hoping to accomplish in His disciples? (They would see a revelation of God through Jesus, would believe that Jesus was God, sent from the Father. Would hear, accept(v.8)and obey(v.6)God's words.)


      1. Is this also God's goal for you?


  3. Prayer for the Disciples


    1. Read John 17:9-11. Jesus says that He is praying for His disciples and not the world. (Later, in John 17:20 we find Jesus praying for future believers.) Jesus refers to obtaining glory from His disciples. How can He get glory from them? (This goes back to the John 12:24 idea that we discussed earlier. By producing more "seeds" (followers) through self-sacrifice, the disciples would bring glory to Jesus.)


      1. Are you bringing glory to Jesus today?


      2. In verse 11 Jesus asks for protection by the power of God's name. This idea of invoking God's name is common in the Bible. (For example 1 Samuel 12:22: "for the sake of his great name the Lord will not reject his people.") What does it mean to claim protection through the power of God's name?


        1. I have children in boarding school. Could my name protect them? How about you, can your name protect your children? (If you knew and liked the parent, you would be kind to the child. If you feared the parent, you would be careful with the child.)


          1. Do you think this is what Jesus meant when He said protect them through the power of Your name?


        2. Can your children affect your name and reputation? (Sure. If your children are unusually smart, someone may be fooled into thinking you had something to do with that!)


          1. When my brother and I were young, my father would say, "Remember, you are Don Cameron's sons!" He wanted us to behave for the sake of his name. Does this idea (children affecting the parent's reputation) apply here when Jesus says to His Father, protect the disciples by the power of Your name? (I think that is the principal point Jesus in making. That God has a great interest in this entire operation. Therefore, Jesus asks that He bless and protect the disciples in their work because it affects the Father's interests.)


      3. What does verse 11 suggest is the goal of protecting the disciples? (That they may be one.)


        1. What does it mean to be one with Jesus? (While on earth having common goals and walk. Being together in heaven.)


          1. Is there a "oneness" with our fellow disciples that should also be our aim? (Let's skip ahead and read John 17:23. This shows that unity with fellow disciples is important to show that we are followers of Jesus.)


    2. Read John 17:12. Jesus seems to be using the "name protection" idea in a different way here. How do you understand Jesus to be able to protect the disciples in the name of the Father? (It is hard to escape the conclusion that there is spiritual power in calling on the name of the Father for protection. Calling on His name can provide a type of shield.)


    3. Read John 17:13. Do you want joy in your life? If so, how does Jesus say He is giving joy to His disciples? (The disciples can have joy in knowing that even though Jesus will be physically gone, they have the protection of the Father.)


      1. Quickly review 2 Corinthians 11:24-26. Paul adds in subsequent texts that he has been cold, hungry, thirsty, sleepy and pressured with worries about his churches. Is this protection? Is there a "legal loophole" in this promise because Paul was not one of the twelve disciples? (Think again of what Jesus was about to suffer. If you look at John 17:12-13 carefully, Jesus says none of the disciples were "lost" except Judas. The ultimate protection of God's name is the promise to give us eternal life. That brings joy!)


    4. Read John 17:14-16. Does verse 14 explain why we sometimes suffer?


      1. What would it mean to take the disciples out of the world? Was that an option? An option the disciples would have liked? (Elijah was taken out of the world. 2 Kings 2:11-12. I feel confident they would have liked that!)


      2. What does it mean that you are still in the world? What is Jesus' solution (v. 15) to us still being in the world? (To protect us from Satan.)


        1. Does this mean protection from physical pain? (Again, Jesus seems to be focused on a mental attitude and eternal life.)


    5. Read John 17:17. Want to be a saint? How do we learn the truth that sanctifies us? (Through the study of the word of God!)


      1. Do you realize you are being sanctified right now?


  4. Prayer for Others


    1. Read John 17:20-23. Explain God's process for giving the message to the world? (The Father sent Jesus into the world(17:18)so that the disciples would believe. Jesus then sent His disciples into the world (Id.)that others may believe. Then those others who believe reveal to the world (17:23) the love of God. This unity of love is proof that Jesus came from God.)


      1. Where are you in this proof chain? Are you in it at all?


      2. What is key to the success of the revelation of this last group to the world? (Unity! It is our love for each other that brings the unity that the world will notice and take as evidence this has Godly origins.)


        1. Is there unity in your church? How about Christian churches in general?


          1. If not, why not?


        2. Some Christians feel compelled to attack fellow Christians out of a concern about their theology or a fear they will spark religious persecution in the future. Is this appropriate?


    2. Read John 17:24-26. How does the cross make known to us the Father's love?


    1. Friend, Jesus' sacrifice on the cross to give us eternal life reveals the unbelievable depth of God's love for us. Given His love for you, will you give Him your heart? More than that, will you reflect His love in your dealings with others - especially fellow Christians?


  1. Next week: Prayers for the Church: Paul

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