The Gospel of John – Lesson 43 – John 17:1-12

After Jesus had spoken these things, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you. For you gave him authority over all flesh, so that he may give eternal life to all those you have given him. This is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me at your own side with the glory I had at your side before the world existed. “I revealed your name to the men you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me, and they have held on to your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me, and they received them. They learned the truth that I came from you. They believed that you sent me. 9“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, because they are yours. 10 All that is mine is yours, and what is yours is mine. And I am glorified in them. 11 I am no longer going to be in the world, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by your name, which you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept those you gave me safe in your name. I protected them and not one of them was destroyed, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture might be fulfilled.

Jesus’ quiet time with his disciples in the Upper Room in Jerusalem was coming to an end. Soon he would head to the Garden of Gethsemane where the final battle for our salvation would begin. But, before he departed, Jesus looked up to heaven to speak to his heavenly Father in prayer. Jesus needed to pray for himself, for his disciples, and for us and all who would one day trust in him as our Savior.

Jesus knew what was about to happen. He was about to endure sufferings that we cannot begin to comprehend. We can’t fathom the crushing burden of sin that was placed on Jesus. We can never fully understand the sorrow Jesus would feel as his own heavenly Father needed to reject his Son, so Jesus could face all of God’s anger against sin. But the Son of God did fully understand that all these things needed to happen. Our salvation depended on it.

Jesus didn’t complain about the unjust treatment he was about to receive. He didn’t ask for his suffering to be removed or even reduced. He prayed that God the Father would glorify his Son and that Jesus would glorify his heavenly Father. Jesus would be glorified when his mission was brought to a successful completion through his suffering, death, and resurrection. The power of Satan would be crushed as God promised after mankind fell into sin. (Genesis 3:15) The Father would also be glorified because he sent his Son to do this gracious work for our salvation, Both Father and Son are glorified with every soul that comes to eternal life in heaven through faith in Jesus.

Jesus also prayed for his closest followers who were there with him on that night. They spent the better part of three years with Jesus. They heard his teaching. They saw his miracles. God graciously worked in them so that Peter could boldly confess the faith they all shared, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16) Jesus prayed for these men. He protected them for the last three years from all harm and danger. But now his time in the world was almost over. But the disciples would remain in the world. Jesus lovingly placed them into the hands of his heavenly Father. He prayed that his Father would continue to protect them. This wouldn’t mean they would never suffer. Most of the disciples eventually died martyr’s deaths. But Jesus prayed that his Father would protect them that they would remain one in faith and finally come to the eternal inheritance Jesus won for them.

Sadly one of the disciples would be lost. Psalm 41:9 foretold, “Even a man who was at peace with me, a man whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has raised up his heel to step on me.” Judas wasn’t lost because Jesus’ divine protection failed. He was lost because his love of money caused him to reject Jesus to satisfy his greed.

Notice that Jesus’ prayer also applies to us. In verse 9 we hear that Jesus prayed for all whom God the Father gave him. We have heard Jesus’ teachings in the Holy Scriptures. The Holy Spirit convinced us through Word and Sacrament that Jesus is the Christ. He is the true Son of God. He brought glory to his Father and himself by winning our salvation also. He continues to place his divine protection over us, so the devil, the world, and our sinful flesh will not overcome us. By the grace of God through faith in Jesus we remain united as one with all those who share this precious trust with us.

Discussion Questions

1 – Before Jesus departed for the Garden of Gethsemane he prayed to his heavenly Father. What was the main focus of the opening portion of Jesus’ prayer?
Jesus prayed that he would bring glory to his heavenly Father by completing the work of saving us from our sins. He prayed that his Father would glorify him by allowing him to successfully complete his mission by his suffering, death, and resurrection.

2 – What did Jesus teach us about eternal life in verse 3?
Eternal life comes to us through faith in Jesus Christ as our Savior. This means we believe that Jesus Christ is true God, who also became true man in order to carry out our salvation. We confess that we could do nothing to save ourselves because we are sinners. Jesus alone completed the work of our salvation when he gave his life to forgive us of our sins. He then rose again to give eternal life to all who trust in him. There is no other means by which we are saved.

3 – Jesus prayed for his disciples. How had these men become his followers?
Our Lord graciously revealed himself to these men through the saving message he proclaimed. By the grace of God these men believed the truth. Convinced by God that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, they held onto his message so that they remained disciples of Jesus.

4 – It has been said that, “Christians are in the world but not of the world.” How would you explain that statement?
We are residents of this world. But this world is only our temporary home. We look forward to the day when our Lord Jesus will return to take us to our true home, which is heaven.

If you have any questions about the Word of God we studied in this lesson please contact Pastor Greg Tobison. You can send your questions to