John 17:1-26 shows a close-up look into the Lord’s heart for His men.
Jesus took time for His closest friends to encourage them for the days ahead and said,
“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” (John 17:20)
In addition, may you see with new eyes that eternal life is not only something you will experience in the future; you experience it now as well. As you move through John 17 the model is simple, yet powerful and life-changing.
“Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You.” (John 17:1)
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is deep and rich with relationship.
“When we give glory to God, we do not make Him greater, or more powerful, or more glorious. God can not change; so when we glorify God, we make Him greater in our perception.
Perhaps this is one of Paul’s meaning when he explained,
“But we all. . . are changed into the same image from glory to glory.”(II Corinthians 3:18). And if we truly recognize God, we give Him the control of our life, that’s what God wants and He is glorified, says Dr. Robert B. Thompson.”
Jesus uses the expression “Father” six times in John 17. “O Father” in verse 5,; “Holy father” in verse 11; “Father” in verses 21, 24; and “Righteous Father” in verse 25. To know His name is to trust Him fully.
Why do you think Jesus lifted His eyes to heaven instead of closing them like most of us do when we pray? What if the Father was so close to Him and heaven was so real it was like speaking face-to-face.
As Jesus kept His attention focused on the Father, there was a flow of communication (a back and forth talking to one another). And it can be the same way for you.
“Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ, that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective.” (Colossians 3:2)
In John 17 Jesus is showing His disciples the priority of prayer. He’s attentive to His Father’s will, and no matter what happens, He remains in contact with the Father.
He looked toward heaven and prayed,
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, that your Son may glorify you.” (John 17:1)
The hour of His weakness and the hour of His death were fast approaching. Jesus was a mature son and one of the proofs is His awareness of the Father’s timing.
Immature (carnal) Christians don’t see God’s timing as important but maturing sons/daughters of God see his timing as a sign of maturity just as Jesus.
As you grow up in Christ, you realize there is a time, and a season for you too. You have your hour of testing, your hour of weakness, your hour in the wilderness.
In addition, His timing is always right on schedule and when you submit to Christ’s Lordship you learn to move with the Spirit’s timing.
Pastor Robert Thompson points out, “In some ways, the Christian discipleship is a dance in which Christ does the leading. When we attempt to lead and direct Christ, confusion and discord result.”
Have you ever sensed confusion when you didn’t wait on God’s timing? I have in more time than I’d like to think.
When Jesus prayed this prayer He was only 33 years of age. Submitted to His Father’s will, He did not cry or throw a tantrum or become bitter and angry. Because He was a mature Son, He waited patiently for the Father’s timing.
Jesus looking toward His hour prays, “Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say” ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28)
In John 17:1 Jesus prayed first for Himself, and it wasn’t selfish or self-centered and His one concern was to glorify the Father, because He was a Father pleaser.
“And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:5)
Sonship gave Jesus His identity. Before Christ did any ministry, act of service, or miracle for His Father, He had His identity confirmed. He heard an audible voice from Heaven saying,
“This is my beloved Son.”
Before I knew my identity in Christ, I looked to other things to give me self-worth and affirmation.
I was a wife, mother, pastor’s wife, women’s ministry leader, taught Sunday school, led worship, played the piano, etc. I was addicted to performance. Sad to say, many believers try to get their identity from what they do:
- bible teacher/Sunday school teacher
- sing in the choir
- worship leader
- play an instrument
- pastor’s wife
- full-time ministry
- pray harder
- study the bible more
- attend prayer meetings regularly
These all speak of what you do, not who you are. Using these things to try to gain validation or a sense of identity will never bring fulfillment because they were never meant to.
I mistook performance with closeness and filled roles that looked spiritual but lacked closeness with the Father.
“Awakening to who we are in Him does away with the alleged being versus doing tension. What I do is simply the overflow of who I am (being/essence). I experience the rest that I am promised in Him, and the world is blessed and beautified by who I am functioning consistently with my new nature.”
You need to embrace the reality that you are a son/daughter of God first and foremost, and out of that, comes what we do.
- Are you addicted to performance?
- Have you confused performance with closeness with the Father?
- How important is it to know God’s timing? Do you think you are maturing in this area? How will you know?
- Why is it important for you to know your identity in Christ?
Father, I recognize You as my loving Father. I want to know You more intimately and to submit to Your will in every area of my life.
As I grow and mature in Christ, may I know Your timing and the season I’m in. I praise Your name Father – all glory, and honor, and power belong to You.