In his message at TGC Chicago’s 2022 Regional Conference, Kevin DeYoung expounds on John 17, teaching us how to pray like Christ through his high priestly prayer.
DeYoung summarizes Jesus’s prayer in three sections: Jesus prays for himself to be glorified, his disciples to be sanctified, and his church to be unified. Jesus also prays for the safekeeping of his disciples, knowing they’ll sin and fail. In this way, we must also pray for protection and safekeeping from the temptation to sin and drift from God.
Jesus’s prayer illustrates the story of a God who gives good gifts. DeYoung says, “This is a prayer, start to finish, replete with God, the Trinitarian Giver of gifts. The Father gifts the Son, to give the disciples and the church eternal life and the words of life, that they might participate as a gift in this life of glory.”
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Kevin DeYoung: Let me pray as we get started. Gracious Heavenly Father, we do need your help that you might give us ears to hear so that these minutes together the close of this morning would not be wasted. religious activity. We don’t get any extra points in heaven for just sitting here. We want to learn something about you. I pray that You give me the right words to say, say it truthfully, with humility with authority and help us to hear just what you want us to hear. In Jesus name, amen. John 17 is the longest prayer of Jesus recorded in the Bible. And coming where it does before his arrest, betrayal, crucifixion, you could certainly argue it’s the most important prayer Jesus prayed on Earth. We call John 17, and probably says in your Bible, the high priestly prayer, and that’s a fine title for it. You could call it the Lord’s Prayer. Of course, the Lord’s Prayer is what we call the disciples prayer, what the disciples asked the Lord, to teach them to pray, and that’s a fine name. But this here is the prayer of our Lord. It’s the Savior’s prayer. Chapters 1415 and 16, are sometimes called the Upper Room Discourse. John, in distinction from Matthew, Mark, and Luke tells the last week of Jesus life and a little different way, not contradictory, but complimentary. And there they are, in these three chapters, as the world is about to come crashing in around them the world as they know it. And Jesus knows that his time has come just within hours, he will be betrayed, and shortly thereafter crucified. And as I think Sinclair Ferguson comments on his book on the Holy Spirit’s, what does it tell us about Jesus priorities, that in the last hours on the last night of his life, he would spend so much time teaching the disciples about the Trinity, we’re apt to think that the doctrine of the Trinity is sort of important but complicated math problem with heresies lurking around every corner, and not necessarily practical. But Jesus thought quite differently, that in the our, in the moment of their greatest need, he would spend so much time teaching them about the coming gift of the Holy Spirit, and about the relationship between the Father and the Son. And so that Trinitarian theme comes through now, as Jesus transitions to pray. It’s seamless from this upper room discourse and 1415 and 16th. To chapter 17. When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes. It’s almost as if the sermon is over. And now let us pray lifts his eyes to heaven. And he begins to pray this long, majestic, glorious prayer, and we have the opportunity to overhear Jesus praying, what could be better for our souls and for our prayer life than to hear Jesus Himself? Pray? Do you have people in your life I hope you do, that you just love to hear them? pray? Prayer is hard for most of us. And if we’re honest, we get distracted and feel aimless and sometimes a little bit bored. But you probably have those one or two people, probably senior saints, who are just delightful to hear, pray. When I went to seminary lo these many years ago now, and there was on campus housing, and I found out that my roommate was going to be a man named Ron. And as soon as everybody heard you’re you’re rooming with Ron just people started, Oh, you are in for a treat. Everyone knew of, of Ron he was I was in my early 20s. He was maybe in his early 50s. He was more than twice as old as I was a very godly, somewhat eccentric man very set in his principles. So he had been going to seminary for 12 years, he believed very strongly that it was wrong to go into any kind of debt. And so he worked in Alaska, doing really hard sort of Ship to Shore, sort of fishing boats sort of stuff to make enough money that he could come into a semester at a time and not have to get into any debt. Took him 1215 years he was we were all privileged that he was a part of our graduating class. Ron was much more of a charismatic in his theology than I was and am. But, man, could he pray? I love to hear him prayer. He could be eccentric at times he believed that the Lord would would wake him up for example, so he wouldn’t set his alarm for classes. He believed if he just prayed that God would wake him up in time and he was always late for class. I would sometimes see him go take a nap and I’d be looking at it say Ron, you want me to get you up know the Lord will get me up and I just be watching and just watch him when his class would start. and a few minutes late, but sure enough, oh, thank you, Jesus. And he’d go and he’d he’d go off to class, he would pray about anything, everywhere. So this was over 20 years ago before the First Lord of the Rings, movies came out. And there was some of us in the seminary and we’re watching TV and a commercial comes on for the Lord of the Rings, movies that are coming out. And he just stopped right there. Not uncommon for Ron and just prayed. And he would pray these very bold, specific prayers. And he prayed a curse upon Peter Jackson, if he should mess up the story in any way. And that it would lead people to Christ, just bold prayers. There was a time we saw each other in the grocery store. Oh, I didn’t know you were going to be in the grocery store. And so we met, and we’re there holding milk and holding juice. And we got talking about something, someone who was sick or something in the news. And Ron said, We should pray about that. And I said, Yeah, we should pray about it. Next thing I know is hands on my shoulder, hand is up in the air. I felt so unspiritual I thought, well, yes, of course, I to men right now in the grocery store. We should pray about it, obviously.
And we would sometimes in the evening, he would say, Kevin, let’s pray. And he would pray such specific prayers, such bold, faith filled prayers. Even though our theology sometimes didn’t match. I love to hear him pray. I love to just overhear him in his own times of prayer. And if you have someone like that in your life, a prayer warrior, a grandparents, a pastor, friend, you know what a privilege it is. And we have something so much better, so much richer, to overhear, to listen in to Jesus, in his moment of extreme anguish, and to listen to him pray. The prayer divides neatly into three sections, I hope you have your Bible open or swiped on. And you can see in most of our Bibles, the three sections marked off by three paragraphs. First, Jesus prays for himself, you see that verses one through five. Second, Jesus prays for his disciples, that immediate band of disciples, verses six through 19. And then third, he prays for us those explicitly, who will come to know Him based upon the message of his disciples. That’s verses 20 through 26. So first, Jesus prays for himself, then he prays for his disciples, and then he prays for us, or you might say, he prays for the church. Let’s look at each of those. First, Jesus prays for himself. beginning at verse one, when Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour has come glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given him. And this is eternal life that they know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now Father, glorify me in Your presence, with the glory that I had with you, before the world existed. Jesus prays for himself and this prayer can be summarized in one word, glorified. You see it several times in this paragraph several times throughout the chapter. And it’s there explicitly in verse five. And now, Father, glorify me in Your presence with the glory I had with you before the world existed. glorified. That’s a familiar word to most of us. It’s a very Bible word, a very churchy word, and that’s good, but it also means it can sort of pass by our subconsciousness without really thinking about what the word means. You may have heard before the word in Hebrew is covered, which means wait. Heaviness, is the word dosa in the Greek from which we get our word. doxology. The glory of God refers to his splendor, his majesty, His beauty, his weightiness, we might say his gravi toss his Wow, his awesomeness to glorify God means to honor God when you glorify someone, you celebrate them. You rejoice in them, you honor them. As I mentioned, I was born in Chicago. I had been a lifelong Bears fan. And I have now though my children have never lived in Chicago. They are Bears fans. They asked me the other week Dad, why am I a Bears fan? I said, I’m so sorry. My son, my oldest son is in college and he was watching the Thursday night game five, four chances on the five yard line and he’s texting me. And I just said, I’m so sorry that I pass this on to you. I never knew when I was in third grade, and the 85 bears that I would make it this far in my life, never having another Super Bowl. If someday the bears win the Super Bowl again, and they may play it just down the road here. Isn’t that isn’t that going to happen? Arlington Heights? Yeah, just somewhere. Maybe the ticker tape parade comes through here. Maybe Colin preaches for them. They need prayers. If that were to happen, it would be a moment to celebrate, to honor her to rejoice in to exclaim the weightiness of this once in a two generation experience and encounter. We understand, though we don’t use the word glory, our culture has moments of glory, all over the place. One way to think of this prayer glorify is to use the colloquial almost childlike expression. To make a big deal of someone to what it means to glorify, just put that colloquial phrase into some of these other verses in John that use the much more exalted language of glorify. For example, John 854, Jesus replied, If I make a big deal of myself, my big deal means nothing. My father, whom you claim as your God is the one who makes a big deal of me, John 11, for when he heard this, Jesus said, The sickness will not end and deaths, speaking of their friend, Lazarus, no, it is for God’s big deal, that God’s Son may be made a big deal of through it, John 1228, father, make a big deal of your name, that voice came from heaven, I have made a big deal of it, and I will make a big deal of it again, and on and on, more than a dozen times in John’s gospel, this language of glorify, so in verse five, the central prayer, as Jesus prays for himself, is now Father, make a big deal of me. Now, when you put it in that language, you move out of glorify, which sounds very appropriate, a big deal. Most sounds off, it certainly would be off if I said, the purpose of my church is to make a big deal of me, or the purpose of your life. This is not the prayer you pray to God. And now God, I pray my central prayer for me, you make a big deal of me. That would be self centered. But the problem with you and I being self centered, is that we are not the center. Jesus, however, is the center to center on the center is not selfish. It is the purpose of the cosmos. So Jesus to pray, make a big deal of me, he is the deal. And so he’s right to pray, what we would be blasphemers to pray. The other thing to notice, and you know this because you know what’s coming in John’s gospel, how is Jesus going to be made a big deal of if you and I were to pray that prayer, we would have in our mind, God, give me things make me famous, give me a ticker tape parade, we would want that make a big deal, but what is about to happen to Jesus? First one, lifted up to his eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour has come. Throughout John’s gospel, he has been saying it’s not the hour, way back in chapter two, the miracle at the wedding of Cana in Galilee, he says, Woman it is not my hour. The hour is the climactic purpose of his mission. It’s the point of his whole life, His death and His resurrection. That’s what’s coming. Arrest. Betrayal, flogging crucifixion. Now is that our so when Jesus says Father, make a big deal of me. It’s not at all how you and I would expect to be made a big deal of we would mean give me accolades, give me awards. Throw me a parade. Jesus knows In praying this prayer, he’s saying crucify me. It is the mystery of the cross the supreme moments of Christ. glorification comes in the moment that seems to be a cataclysmic defeat. Jesus, his father, make a big deal out of me by handing me over to be killed. This is why we are so focused on Jesus and the cross, why we sing about Jesus in the cross, why we will not be content with a vague content list spirituality, no, it’s Jesus and the cross He is glorified supremely. So in that moment, as he says earlier in John, like that bronze serpent in the wilderness, I will be lifted up and I will draw all men unto me. Notice verse two, since you have given him speaking of the sun, authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to whom all you have given him.
This could be a whole theological lecture on its own, but this language you have given him, you’ve given him, a people, you have given some to him from eternity to be saved. The Latin phrase is a Packham. salutis just means a covenant of redemption. And in most species of Covenant Theology, whether you’re Presbyterian or Baptists, there is this understanding that from eternity, God, the Father, and God the Son, in a mysterious way, also God, the Holy Spirit, entered into a compact a covenant with each other, such that the father is the one appointing the son, to accomplish the work and the spirit to apply. And we see hints of this language hear, we hear it all the time in John’s gospel, and we’re likely to just skip it over, but that the Father has already given an elected number of persons, that Christ is the surety. He is the covenant keeping Messiah, who has been given this gift of a people and now he will accomplish all that father and son have agreed on. This is one of the reasons why it is so wrong. They blasphemous, any sort of notion that the cross is cosmic child abuse. That was 15 years ago, you had some people saying that, that this idea of penal substitutionary atonement, that the sun is a propitiation to assuage the wrath of God that’s like cosmic child abuse. Well, that’s wrong on so many levels. But one of the reasons is that Christ is not a victim. He is a victim if we mean someone who suffers at the hands of others, but he’s not a victim, if we mean that he is a passive recipient of something that he himself does not willingly choose. He says, this can only happen, because I freely give myself to it. And this is letting us pull back the curtain to look in eternity, and see that this has been the plan, no tearing asunder of the Trinity, no ripping apart of Father and Son. This has been their plan, from all eternity, a people given to the son that he might redeem. Jesus praise therefore, in working this eternal plan out in time, Father, now the hour has come. And would you glorify Me? Jesus reminds us that He is the point we are pointers. So John the Baptist does when he says, I’m the, the best man at the wedding. And Christ is the bridegroom. And the church is the bride. Were there to attend. We’re there to point to the groom. We’re not the point. And this is special word for, for pastors, lest we get in the way. At the wedding note were to join hands with Christ, the groom, and the Bride, His people. It’s a very bad best man who starts making googly eyes at the bride. No, me, me, me, me. Know, every wedding. I’ve done the doors open and the bride resplendent and beautiful and the man is just he’s just, I can’t I can’t believe this is happening. We better do this before she changes her mind. And that’s right. And he’s he’s transfixed those 240 Whether the bridal party is there to support them not to get in the way they are pointers, not the point. And so it is with Jesus as he prays, now is the time to glorify Your Son. know, when you have a have a birthday or your kids have a birthday, it’s a lot of pressure, we get a lot of birthdays, it’s always somebody’s birthday. And they have a lot of let’s just call demands on their birthday. And I understand because I was sort of like this. It’s one day, it’s one day, out of the year, where it’s all about me. My niece, my wife’s sister’s daughter, who’s 25 years younger than me, just the same birthday. And I’ve had to, yeah, I’ve been with her family. My wife’s family sometimes and I’ve had to, well, let’s just say I’m not as sanctified as I’d like to think I am. But it’s no years ago, it’s like, Well, okay, the 13 year old well, okay, she’s got a special day, it’s my birthday to forget about me. What my birthday I was always fixated on my birthday, I was born at 11:41pm. And Ingalls Memorial Hospital, some of you know it. And because I was born in the Central Time Zone, I lived most of my life in the eastern time zone, I just counted both days as my birthday. Because in the eastern time zone, I was born on the 24th. I would wait until it would turn and everyone would be in bed and I’d have this moment of euphoria and then then then sadness because ah, 364 more days before I kept my birthday, and that’s fine for our kids to feel that way. It’s even understandable. It’s good, be special. On your birthday. Just realize some some of us live our life thinking every day is our birthday. It ain’t. Every day is about what you’re doing for me what special thing you got for me. You got my meal. You got my president’s got the what do you have? That’s not the way to live. Jesus says, I’m the point. My supreme prayer now, Father, is that you glorify Me. And lest we think that’s sort of bad news. All right. Well, I just, you know, I guess it’s all about let Jesus have his birthday. Here’s the good news. As the Westminster shorter catechism puts it, the chief had demanded to glorify God and enjoy him forever. As John Piper has taught for 40 years, we glorify God by enjoying him forever. It’s actually the people who want it to be their metaphorical birthday every day, who want everything to be about their glory, who end up most miserable. It’s people who can forget themselves, who learned to be happy. When you lose your life. Jesus says, you find it when you make your life about the glory of another, you can find joy, unspeakable. Jesus prays for himself. Second, Jesus prays for his disciples follow along, picking up at Verse six, I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world, yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. For I’ve given them the words that you gave me. And they have received them and have come to know and truth that I came from you, and they had believed that You sent Me, I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world. But for those whom You have given Me, for they are yours, all mine are yours and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world. And I’m coming to you, Holy Father, keep them in your name which You have given Me that they may be one even as we are one. Well, I was with them, I kept them in your name which You have given me, I have guarded them and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. And these things I speak in the world that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves, I have given them Your Word, and the word has hated them, because they are not of the world just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world just as I am not of the world, Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth, as you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world and for their sake, I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. Jesus prays for his disciples, and he’s thinking specifically, of the 11 disciples, we know that because he says, I’ve been with them, and they’ve all kept your word. And that may seem strange because we know What a bumbling lot of disciples they are, but in comparison to everyone else. Well, they’re still with Jesus on his last night. And though Peter will deny Him, and though they’ll scatter, yet they will gather again in the upper room and wait for further instructions. And so compared to everyone else, yes, they’ve stuck with him they’ve kept except the one. Judas, who went as the scripture for told. There are two petitions. So the first section, there’s one petition, Jesus’s glorify here, there are two petitions and the first of these two, keep, see in verse 11.
Keep them in your name. I’m leaving, he says, I’m going but they’re staying. Keep them in your name. We can say this petition is fortify, fortify them, keep them loyal to you. Keep them in the love of God. There is this interplay in Scripture, that we are eternally and forever kept. And at the same time, we pray, Oh, God, keep me in the love of God. You see that in the book of Jude, for example. So we know in John, Jesus will say that they have received eternal life, believers regenerate justified believers are in current possession of eternal life. You can’t be regenerated and unregenerate it you can’t be justified and unjustified. That golden chain from Romans eight will always lead to final glorification for the believer. So we will persevere. At the same time, God uses means by which we persevere. So I think we need to be honest with the warning statements in Scripture and Hebrews and elsewhere. Sometimes people get very nervous and even pastors shy away from them, because he’s well, isn’t it once saved, always saved? I don’t know if I, I need to safeguard all of these these, these statements of warning. Note, listen, God keeps those who are His Chosen Ones who are truly saved. He keeps them by warning them. Those who know Jesus love Jesus, they hear the warnings of Scripture, and they don’t fall on deaf ears. They say, Oh, God, please, don’t let me make shipwreck of my faith. Keep me didn’t didn’t you hear last night from from Colin and in the Lord’s Prayer? lead me not into temptation. Deliver me from evil or deliver me from the evil one? We pray those sorts of prayers too infrequently. Do you think? Do you think you’re above falling? Do you think you can’t make in but an instant? One of the one of the little sayings I have in my head is that sin makes us stupid. Sorry, if you don’t want your kids to say that word, but But Calvin said it once. So sin makes us stupid. It’s true. Very few people wake up, think today’s a good day to ruin my marriage. In fact, if you know people who have who have done such foolish things you think, why for a moment of pleasure for one day? Why do you throw away everything that you had built up or your reputation or your family, your spouse? Why sin makes us stupid? We make a bad calculation. Jesus knows what he’s doing. When he prays for the disciples, Father, keep them in my name, they’re going to need your help. Do you pray that for yourself? Keep me. Do you pray for your kids, for your pastors for for your elders, the people in your Bible study? From a human vantage point, no one is beyond the point of making shipwreck of their faith. Keep them think about all the precautions that people took during the pandemic and set aside whether you think they were good, bad should have done more should have done less. But we all recognize, especially at the beginning. We didn’t know what we were dealing with. Is this is this going to be the Spanish Influenza from 1918 and bodies piling up on the street and everyone took precautions? And people quarantined and people wore masks and warp speed to get a vaccine. Everyone was absolutely intent because we didn’t know how dangerous everyone wanted to be. Safe from the virus. We take so little energy most of us to be safe from Vice virus. Yes, vice. It’ll all work out. Surely there is something for us to learn. Do you pray? lead me not into temptation. Don’t put a pot of furs wife or Potiphar hymns. Don’t put a temptation in front of me. And don’t let me crumble when people hate me. You see what verse 14 says, the world has hated them because they’re not of the world. The world hated Jesus. The world will hate you. That doesn’t mean you go out. You make it your mission. The more people hate me, the better I’m doing. It’s usually a good if everyone loves you. Something’s wrong. If everyone hates you something is wrong. But some of us get such a panic. Or we think if we just are nice enough, we soup kitchen enough. We’re just polite enough, no one, could we just keep our head down. No one will hate us. You’re gonna be more loving than Jesus. Be more compassionate than Jesus help more people than Jesus. No, and they hated Jesus. We don’t we don’t court it. We don’t go looking for it. But if you live a faithful life, we should expect it, which is one reason Jesus is keep them because most of us don’t like to be hated. And if you’re one who says I do, you got problems. We don’t like people to hate us. And so we compromise. Jesus says, keep them. And then the second thing he praises in verse 17. Sanctify, sanctify, so he says, fortify you say that keep fortify. And here he says, sanctify, Make holy, set apart to be sanctified in the Old Testament was reserved for priests, for utensils you had holy people who are holy clothes, who dealt with holy objects who went to a holy place and ministered on Holy Days. To be holy was something that was different than profane. profane didn’t necessarily mean sinful. It just meant ordinary, common, to be holy. To be sanctified was something of a special person, a special article, a special time a special place, set a part. Jesus says, now all of your disciples are to be set apart. You’re different from the world. That’s why the world is profane. Meaning that’s what the world is. That’s what you expect from the world. Disciples are meant to be set apart, and how are we set apart, Sanctify them in the truth. Your word is truth. Jeremiah says at one point is not your word, like a hammer that breaks the rock into pieces. We have such little trust in the Word of God and I’m preaching to myself even as a preacher, I need to constantly remind myself of this so many of my sermons I feel like what? Just I’d like to think they’re hand grenades. They so often just feel like spit wads. And people have six feet of concrete around their hearts and God just gives me spit wads. What’s going to happen? All I have is words. Jeremiah reminds us no, it’s to hammer. The word is strong enough to break the rock into pieces. We don’t apologize for being people who are fixated on truth. Of course, there’s a way to do that. And it’s just shorthand for saying I’m a jerk. Get over it. No, that’s not what we mean. But you are made holy by truth. And we love experience experiences great. Even as a Presbyterian I’ve had an experience once or twice before. But it does not say Sanctify them by their feelings Sanctify them by inexperience. And when churches take a shortcut, there’s a way you can go right you can go right to the experience that bypasses the mind. And you just smoke machine, the lights the chord change the right sort of story. People want to feel something okay. But lasting change comes when those experiences come through the renewing of the mind that are from truth. That’s how we’re made into Christ’s likeness, by truth and look at what Jesus says in verse 19. For their sake, I consecrate myself that they may be sanctified in truth. Now, if Jesus said this and he was sinless, he doesn’t mean now I’m going to work really hard to not sin. He means I am setting myself apart for this holy work that God has given me, namely, the cross. His self consecration, like the priests of old are like an animal sacrifice he set apart, he set aside, he’s saying, I am consecrating myself to be used by God. If Jesus did that, how much more do we have to consecrate ourselves parents? Do you see some relevance here?
Jesus who had no sin, consecrated himself, surely we who are full of sin ought to pray the same thing. Now our children are going to see our sin. Many, many times, I’ve had to go into my kid’s room and say, sit down, I want to apologize and ask that you. Forgive me, I did not respond to you. As I showed, I raised my voice, I’m sorry. Our kids need to see us repenting for our sins. And yet, hopefully, they see a consecration a set apartness if you want your children to be turned off from Jesus, now, I know we everyone’s got stories in here. And it’s often not it’s so out of our control, we all realize that. So I’m not impugning. If your child is wayward, you did something wrong. But listen, one of the surest ways to get our kids turned off from Jesus and turned off from the church is to tell them to do one thing. And live a life that’s not consecrated to those things. And they’ll see it. Teenagers will see it, they have highly tuned, non consecration sensors. And even when they may go through a stage and you pray, it’s just a stage where they’re not interested in Jesus. They’re not interested in the church. Yet if they have this, this bit of dissonance in their head. And I like the church. And I’m like, Jesus, I don’t like the way they’re telling me to live. Yet. They’ll have this dissonance. But I know mom and dad love me. And I do see what sort of people they were, that will stay with them. And you can give that holy dissidence to people at work to people in your school, you will never see it some some of us until heaven, and they’re going through life and they want to discount Christ. They want to discount the claims of the Bible. And yet the Christians they know, look and live differently, and it gives them a pause. Pastors, church leaders here, we too must set ourselves apart for the sake of the flock. There’s that famous line from Robert Murray McShane, what my people need from me most is my own personal holiness. More than they need any pastor to be with it, they need the pastor to be with God. To see that this man, it’s not an affectation. It’s not that you mow your lawn and your your Sunday suit in case someone from church comes by. That’s easy. It’s to set yourself apart, so that they may be consecrated. And then finally, Jesus prays for the church. Verse 20, I do not ask for these only. So he’s turning now from the 11 disciples, or perhaps for the larger number who are gathered there in the upper room, but also so now he’s looking into the future for those who will believe he speaking of us, believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you father are in Me and I and you, that they also may be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent me the glory that You have given Me I have given to them that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you and me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and love them even as you love to me, Father, I desire that they also whom You have given me may 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. Oh righteous father, even though the world does not know you, I know you and these know that you have sent me I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known that the love with which You have loved Me, may be in them and I in them. Here Jesus prays for us he prays for the church. And what is that singular prayer in this paragraph? Oneness unify. I worked really hard to get those all to fit glorify, fortify, sanctify, unify. This unity is not first of all a denominational organizational ecumenical unity, though that is a cambia A wonderful expression of it. This is a spiritual unity grounded in truth. So we’re not talking about papering over real core disagreements just to say, well, we have to do Jesus prayer in John 17. Now the Unity we’re talking about here is the unity that comes from being sanctified by truth. We’re not having a unity that’s apart from truth. And yet, let’s not be so nervous that unity language is something that liberal churches talk about that we discount that this was a central concern for the Lord Jesus. We see here we see it in Ephesians, four, we see it throughout this upper room discourse, those who are spiritually one ought to do everything in their power to be relationally. One. I say everything in your power, because Romans 12 tells us insofar as it depends on you be at peace with all people. Sometimes you can only do all that you can do. And you can go this far and the person doesn’t want anything and they turn the other direction you do what you can do. So we all know we live in a fallen world. And even in the church, even among Christians, relationships break down Paul and Barnabas separate for the time that happens. But the goal, and what Jesus prays for us, isn’t that amazing of all the things looking to the future that he could pray for those who will believe through the witness of the disciples says this is what’s uppermost in my mind, I want them to be one I want them to be unified. And this brings us into the mystery in the inner recesses of the Trinity, he says, just as you and I Father are one. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one essence, equal and glory, rank and power, and yet they are three persons. There are all sorts of important theological planks to help us understand the Trinity. And we don’t have time to do that here. What I want you to understand is that the oneness of the Trinity is not like three friends, coming together in a big hug. Sometimes we think of father, he’s over here hanging out in the sun, in the Holy Spirit. They are not three existences the technical language is three sub assistances sharing one essence, think the same godness and yet they are distinguished as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. What you can say about the Father and not about the son in the spirit is that the father is a father who begets the son and what you can say about the son is he is begotten of the Father. And what you can say of the spirit, but not of the other two is that he proceeds from the Father and the Son give you a technical theological term.
In Greek, it’s called Perry clarice’s, Perry clarice’s Latin, it’s circumvent session. But Perry curry says it refers to what Jesus is praying here the referring to the mutual indwelling of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. When we talk about the Trinity, analogies don’t work. So as soon as you say well, it’s like an apple, just heresy alert. Okay, just don’t. It’s very hard. Because it’s, it’s, it’s not irrational, but it’s super rational. There are things in the Christian faith. They’re not unreasonable, but they are beyond reason. So we’re not believing in contradictions. But we do believe in things that we say we can’t fully explain in the Trinity is one of them. But this notion, which Jesus had set here, and later theologians have called para Currys, this means that the oneness of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not a a social three buddies hanging out, but rather than those three persons, to put it in language that is dangerous, you might say they all occupy the same divine space. Now it’s dangerous there because not actually space as we think of it. But what Perry curry says wants to guard against is looking through your divine yearbook and flipping and say there’s the father, out of the fire, sat next to him in chemistry and flip over here and there’s, there’s, there’s the son, I remember his son, and then over here, and there’s the Holy Spirit, rather than we’re looking at the same God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and yet they’re not just modes of being like water, ice and vapor. They’re not just different names. For the same person. They’re one God. They operate and occupy the same space or another metaphor, they’re all dangerous. But some of the Church Fathers use the language of circulation, bloods circulating through your body, that the the divine essence circulates through Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and that the Father and the Son circulate in and through the Spirit in the Spirit of the Son in and through the Father. So that where one is you have the inseparable work of the other. So Jesus is saying more than just, hey, I want you to be really tight. Like Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are just good friends. Remember the end of the Don McClane American Pie song, the three men I admire most, the Father, Son and the Holy Ghost, they caught the last train for the coast. Great song, don’t get your Trinitarian theology there. They’re not three men. They’re not on a train together. Three Persons sharing one divine essence. So that mystery of para creases of Trinitarian oneness is the very sort of oneness we are meant to have in the body of Christ, to know the fellowship and the presence that the father and the son have with one another, that are fulfilled in and through the Holy Spirit. Now, you may say, Well, Jesus mentions the Holy Spirit and 14 1516. But this is really father and son. It’s not even mentioning the Holy Spirit in John 17. But think about it. In here drawing on the theology of Agustin and others, though the spirit is not named. The spirit is the answer to every one of the sons petitions that we would know the glory of the Father and the Son is answered by having the Spirit poured out upon us that we would know the love of the Father and the Son for one another is to have the love of the Spirit shed abroad in our hearts, to know the fellowship and presence that the father and son have with one another is to be fulfilled, as we are joined to Christ in the presence and the power of the Holy Spirit. Everything that Christ is praying for is going to be enacted by the coming of the spirit. Let me finish here, with one more insight from this prayer. Just to stretch our thoughts here, they’re not stretched enough. You can look at this prayer. So we’ve looked at these three different prayers for different petitions. You can look at this prayer and the story of the Trinity as the story of a God who gives gifts Did you notice how many times we read of giving verse to since you have given him authority, the Father gives the gift of authority to the Son, and it gives to them eternal life, all that He has given to you? He has given a gift of a people to the son who will in turn, be given the gift of eternal life. Or look at verse six, I’ve manifested your name to the people you gave me. Have you ever thought that you are a gift from the Father to the Son? God’s people are a gift when the father said have a hike got a precedent for you? So much, of course, Christ loves us, of course, he will love us to the end, we were that most precious of gifts given by the Father, to the Son, verse nine, I’m not praying for the world, but for those whom You have given me, verse 24, I desire that they also whom You have given me, verse four, I glorified You on Earth, I mean, accomplish the work you gave me. So the work was a gift, verse eight, I have given them the words that you gave me. The Divine Name is a gift, verse 11, they are in the world I’m coming to you keep them in the name which You have given me. Verse 22, verse 24, verse seven, now, they know that everything you have given me is yours. This is a prayer start to finish replete with God, the Trinitarian, giver of gifts, the father gifts, the son, to give the disciples in the church, eternal life and the words of life that they might participate as a gift in this life of glory. the unfolding of this Trinitarian plan is from start to finish from a God who loves to give gifts the father gifting the son, the father and the son together, gifting the Holy Spirit. That’s what Jesus prays. It’s an amazing prayer. It’s a breathtaking year. inducibly Trinitarian prayer Do you think and pray Trinitarian thoughts that a friend years ago, marginally Christian, whose idea of Heaven very common was just a wide open field, your mother would be there and they’d be running through beautiful flowers and enjoying nature and reunited at last well, it’s wonderful to think of being reunited with our loved ones. But there’s your vision of heaven have Jesus there? Does your vision of the glory of heaven have the triune? God, there? When is the last time we contemplated a Trinitarian vision of heaven? When is the last time this vision that Jesus had flooded our souls in our prayers, and so as you pray, and inevitably, we’re gonna pray about health and sickness and boyfriends and girlfriends and kids and marriage and insurance and diagnoses? Do all of that don’t feel bad for any of that. Jesus has cast all your cares. But as we reflect the hearts and the desires of our Lord Jesus and his perspective, if we are to pray like Christ, and as he is at the right hand of the Father, praying for us now, let us pray something like this high priestly prayer, Lord, I want to see Jesus in His glory. I want my life to make a big deal of the Son, that He may make a big deal of the Father and protect me, oh, Lord, do not take me out of the world. But fortify me, sanctify me, make me one with my brothers and sisters are you as you are one and may we together, know in joy and delight, in your perfect glory, your perfect love, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Let’s pray. Father in heaven we pray, in the name of Jesus by the power of the Spirit that you would glorify Your name. You would fortify us from sin, the world flesh and the devil. You would sanctify us by your truth. You unify us as your people. Amen.