The Portrait Gallery of Jesus – Part 17
Pastor Randall Floyd
Clayton A/G – Church for the REST of Us!
(All Scripture quotations are from the NIV, unless otherwise stated.)
The Apostle John Gospel Wing – Portrait 17
John 17:1-26 – Great Intercessor
(Scripture not printed due to space considerations. Please read on your own.)
Most of us have been raised calling the prayer found in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 the “Lord’s Prayer”. There is nothing wrong with that, per se, but I have felt for many years that we should call it the “Disciples’ Prayer” or the “Model Prayer”. The real “Lord’s Prayer” is found right here in John 17. In this prayer Jesus opens up His heart, revealing both His humanity and His deity, interceding for three distinct items, asking that the Father’s will be done in each instance.
Before we take a quick look at those three, let us define intercessory prayer. A very simple, but accurate definition is praying on behalf of another. This tends to be the most overlooked mode of prayer in most people’s lives. We spend too much time asking God for ourselves and toss the needs of others in as an afterthought. Even though we find Jesus praying for Himself at the beginning of this prayer, it is most definitely NOT for selfish motives. Even His self-request is for the benefit of others.
In verses 1-5, Jesus prays for Himself, asking that the Father “glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you”. Jesus is asking that the Father will give Him the strength, power, and courage to follow through with the task at hand – willingly going to the cross so that we might have reconciliation with the Father. While Jesus’ deity was quite willing, His humanity needed the help of the Father to complete the assignment He was born to fulfill.
In verses 6-19, Jesus prays for the disciples that were following Him while He walked this earth. He had revealed to them everything the Father required, and now He prayed for their protection, their sanctification (being set apart), and the necessary power to carry on the mission that He had started – the building of the Church and family of God in this world.
In verses 20-26, Jesus prays for every believer that would come after the disciples; those who would place their faith in Him because of the message these first disciples would share during their life of ministry. Jesus also asks that all believers throughout history will have the same unity as He and the Father have. He is not requesting uniformity, which is best described as cookie-cutter followers, but unity that is evidenced by working together for a single purpose – sharing and living out the Gospel message in our daily lives.
Let us determine today and every day to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be intercessors, praying for the needs of others more than we pray for our own needs. In so doing, we will benefit the Kingdom of God and its subjects, and will become a major participant in the great harvesting of souls for that Kingdom.