JESUS’ INTERCESSORY PRAYER John 17:1-26. :
“As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world” (John 17:18). Need for Prayer Jesus closed His last talk with His disciples with a prayer. Have you noticed how often Jesus prayed?
He was the Son of God, the second Person of the Holy Trinity; and He had power to give eternal life, to heal the sick, to raise the dead, and to forgive sins. All these things He could do because He was one with God. But though He was God, He was also man, and He drew His strength and power from Heaven through prayer. He realised His need for prayer more than we realise our need.
Jesus spent many nights on the mountainside alone in prayer -- all night long. Often He arose early in the morning and went out by Himself to pray. That last night when He prayed so earnestly in Gethsemane was not the first time He had been there.
The Scripture tells us that Judas knew where to find Him, for
“Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with His disciples” (John 18:2).
If Jesus, the Son of God, felt His need for communion with God, and prayed for divine help, how much
more do we need it! Jesus wants us to make known our needs through prayer, even though He already
knows what we need. And through prayer we express our gratitude to God for what He has already done for
us. There should be a constant prayer of praise and thanksgiving rising from our hearts to the One who has
bought us with His own precious Blood.
The Son Glorified Jesus opened His prayer with these words: “Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” Jesus had come to earth on a great mission. He had an important work to do. During His life He performed many miracles, and He caned people to follow Him.
But the hour of His greatest deed, dying on the cross for our sins, was now come. This was the work that God had given Him to do; and He now says that it is finished. He had yet to die, but His purpose was fixed; and He was so sure of going through with it that He could speak of it as already done. When Jesus lived in Heaven before He came to this world, He was adored by the angels and worshiped because He was the Son of God. He was one with God in the creation of the world, “and without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3).
Yet He laid aside that glory to come to earth as man, to teach men how to live, to feel our sufferings, and finally to give His life a ransom for us. Now the hour was coming when He would again be glorified -- even more so than before, because He had made the great sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the world.
“He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:8-11). Jesus went back to Heaven after He arose from the dead, and sat down on His Throne of mighty power, at the right hand of God, to make intercession for us.
The time will come when all people and things in the world will be under His power. Everybody will have to obey Him. That will be the time when righteousness will cover the earth, and God’s people will rule with Him in a reign of peace. A Prayer for His Own In this prayer Jesus was praying for His own people. He knew that there were dark days ahead for them. They did not under-stand that He was going to have to die while He was still so young -- only 33 years old.
They loved Him, and would be greatly disappointed when He would be out of their sight. More than that, they would suffer persecution because of their faith in Him. But Jesus knew they would finally be true. He was praying to the Father that He might give them grace to be faithful, no matter how much they would suffer; and He knew that God always answered His prayers. Many of the disciples were going to suffer martyrdom.
Peter would be crucified; James would be beheaded; John would be banished to the Isle of Patmos; Paul would suffer beatings and shipwreck, and finally be beheaded. Some would have to live and worship in caves, hiding from the Roman rulers. But we have the assurance of the Apostle Paul: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him” (II Timothy 2:12).
These people had their hearts set on the glory that Jesus had told them about, and what they suffered here did not matter at all to them. Peter said that he had witnessed the suffering of Jesus (for which He was glorified), and that he himself would also be a “partaker of the glory that shall be revealed” (I Peter 5:1).
He did not say that he had also suffered. That was unimportant. All that mattered to him was that
he was going to be glorified with Jesus.
The Apostle Paul speaks of the same thing when he tells, in Hebrews 11, of the heroes of faith.
Abraham had wandered through the land, living in tents, not worrying because he did not have a house to
live in. All he thought about was that heavenly city he was going to enjoy when he left this earth. “Others
had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned,
they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and
goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented” (Hebrews 11:36, 37). But did they care?