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Find out what the author of this site and its contributors adhere to in regard to theology.

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These writings are either devotional in nature, or an in-depth look at a specific Bible passage.

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By Tyson Thorne

October 1, 2019

John 47 Large

Chapter 17 closes out section five, The Preparation for the Departure of the Messiah. This chapter contains the longest of Jesus' prayers contained in the Gospels, so we'll break it down into bite-sized pieces. Today we're covering the first eight verses which, while they contain a lot of theology, make a very simple point. Topically, Jesus prays for himself and his glorification. In verses 9-19 he prays for the disciples and their sanctification. Then in verses 20 through 26 he prays for all believers throughout the rest of time and their unification. Now there are three points that will preach!

Before getting into the passage properly, there is a term that needs to be understood. Jesus begins his prayer by asking God to "Glorify your son". He asks this twice, for two separate reasons. The first reason is so that the Father may be glorified, and the second is obtain the glory he left when he became incarnate (verse 5). This indicates his work is finsihed (or soon would be). To understand these requests we need to understand what "glorify" means. In English, it means to cause to be more splendid or excellent, but in Greek there is additional meaning infused. The Greek word (doza) also includes the idea of God's revealed presence.So in this case, and through most New Testament usage, "glorify" means to be revealed as more splendid or excellent in the presence of God."

The first thing one will notice reading these verses is there is a whole lot of "giving" going on. The Father has given the Son all authority over humanity; the Son gives eternal life to the disciples; the Father gave the Son his mission on earth; the Father gave the Son the disciples; everything the Son has came from the Father; the Son gave the disciples the words of God. The bottom line is that as Jesus depended upon the Father for everything, we are to depend upon Jesus for everything in our life. That's the message on the surface, but there is a lot more here.

As we mentioned, there is also a lot of theology packed into these verses. Verse two, for instance, iterates the Great Commission in Matthew 28 telling us that Jesus in fact now has complete authority over humanity. While we may have sold ourselves to sin and Satan early in our history, Jesus has taken back what was rightfully his to rule. Jesus defines salvation as knowing God and himself; a relationship that grows closer as one grows older. Interestingly, he refers to himself in the third person in verse three. This is probably because he is praying aloud and for the benefit of the 11 disciples who were with him. (Remember that Judas left already, and will be returning with the Temple Guard. In verse five Jesus gives evidence of his pre-existence and godhood.

In verse six Jesus makes a curious statement: "I have revealed your name to [the disciples]..." What name did Jesus disclose? John frequently represents Jesus as God, and Jesus states that he, through his life and his words, perfectly revealed the Father to the disciples. We've made mention on a couple occasions when Jesus likely referred to himself as "I Am", meaning that Jesus gave them the same name God had given to Moses back in the day.

Jesus then turns to praying for his disciples. What is interesting is what he prays for, and why, which we'll discover… next time.

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