Jesus’s “high priestly prayer” in John 17 is worth a lifetime of reflection as we get to “listen in” to the Son’s prayers to his Father. I once tried to break down the petitions and organize them a bit:

The Father Gave the Son… John 17
authority to give eternal life v. 2
people out of this world vv. 2, 6, 9, 24
work to accomplish v. 4
words v. 8
his name vv. 11, 12
glory vv. 22, 24
The Son Gives Believers… John 17
eternal life v. 2
Father’s word vv. 8, 14
manifestation of Father’s name vv. 6, 22
glory v. 22
The Son Asks the Father to… John 17
glorify him vv. 1, 5
keep believers in the Father’s name v. 11
keep believers from the evil one v. 15
sanctify believers in the truth v. 17
make believers one v. 21
Jesus’s Followers John 17
are sent into the world v. 18
are in the world v. 11
are not of the world v. 16
are hated by the world v. 14
have unity with each other and union with God—which may cause the world to believe that the Father sent the Son v. 21

One of the things that Jesus teaches here is that various “indwellings” serves the cause of unity. For example:

  1. The Father is in the Son (John 17:21, 23)
  2. The Son is in the Father (John 17:21)
  3. Believers are in the Father and the Son (John 17:21)
  4. The Son is in believers (John 17:23, 26)

If we do not recognize that these are different sorts of “indwellings,” we’ll quick descend into heresy! But it still may be instructive to see this illustrated:

Jesus’s high priestly prayer is worthy of our greatest study, as we seek to learn from and imitate our great co-heir as he approaches our Father.

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4 thoughts on “How Jesus Prayed for You”

  1. THOMAS says:

    Justin,

    First of all, thank you so much for the blog and your labor of love. It is always a blessing to me. Your blog and David Alan Black’s (SEBTS) are my main blog views each day.

    I had an essay published this year by Liberty highlighting the petitions of Jesus’ prayer. The study uses discourse analysis methodology and identifies the structure of the prayer based on these petitions (instead of the typical three-fold division). Feel free to check it out here: http://digitalcommons.liberty.edu/eleu/vol2/iss1/4/.

    Again, thanks for being such a blessing.

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Justin Taylor


Justin Taylor is senior vice president and publisher for books at Crossway and blogs at Between Two Worlds. You can follow him on Twitter.

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