Jesus Prays For Himself & His Disciples, John 17:1-19, 28 July 2013

Big Idea: We can learn much from listening to someone’s prayers.


Have you ever eavesdropped on a conversation? Why? Perhaps you wanted to obtain some secret information or learn what is being said behind your back.

I believe you can learn much about a person by eavesdropping…on their prayers! I love listening to people pray because it often expresses their deepest thoughts and feelings, especially when those prayers are unedited.

Children are, of course, the greatest example of this. Their prayers are brutally honest. Imagine overhearing some of these actual prayers from kids:

"Dear God, I went to this wedding and they were kissing right there in church. Is that OK?"

"Dear God, thank You for the baby brother but what I prayed for was a puppy."

"Dear God, it must be super hard to love all the people in the world, especially my brother. I don't know how You do it."

"Dear God, I love Christmas and Easter. Could you please put another Holiday in the middle, there's nothing good in there now."

"Dear God, are you actually invisible or is that just a trick?"

"Dear God, I want to be just like my daddy when I grow up but without so much hair all over."

"Dear God, I wish you would not make it so easy for people to come apart I had to have 3 stitches and a shot."

"Dear God, did you mean for giraffes to look like that or was it an accident?"

"Dear God,maybe Cain and Abel would not kill each other so much if they each had their own rooms. It works out OK with me and my brother."

"Dear God, I heard the moon was made of cheese. Tonight half of it is missing. Did you get hungry?"

"Dear God, if You can't make me a better boy, don't worry about it. I'm having a real good time like I am!"

"Dear God, I say your prayer every night, 'lead us not into temptation and deliver us some e-mail' but I never get an e-mail from you. Do you have my right address?"

John 17

Today we turn to the seventeenth chapter of John, one of four biographies of Jesus. If you have a red-letter Bible with Jesus’ words in red, you’ll notice this entire chapter is a quote, but unlike His teachings, this is a record of His prayer to the Father before His arrest and crucifixion, the longest prayer in the Bible.

In Deuteronomy 32-33 we read Moses’ farewell prayer and Jesus’ here is similar.

The prayer has three sections that have parallel themes. We will look at the first two parts of the prayer today—Jesus’ prayer for Himself and His disciples—and examine His prayer for us in two weeks.

What is the LORD’s Prayer? It’s not “Our Father.” That is what He taught His followers to pray, but it was not His prayer. He had no sins to to be forgiven.

This is the prayer of our LORD Jesus Christ, a prayer that will summarize Jesus’ heart and ministry.

Jesus Prays For Himself

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

Before we look at His words, notice His posture. For some reason, evangelical Christians tend to ignore our bodies when we pray, yet people from other traditions and even religions are conscious of the physical when they engage the spiritual. It says that Jesus looked toward heaven, a common Jewish prayer posture. Although it is not explicit in the text, He likely raised His hands as well (Ex. 9:33; 17:11; Ps 28:2).

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. (1-5)

Prayer is not about you. It’s about the Father, our loving Father. Jesus’ Aramaic title for God was
Abba. He’s Daddy. Even the adult children of my friend, Clark, call him Papa. I love that! It’s not a distant, formal “Father” but Daddy. He’s the focus. Jesus prays first for Himself. We can pray for ourselves, too.

What do you need? What do you want? Tell Daddy!

My kids have developed the ability to communicate what they want/need!

Jesus prays to the Father and knows it is time for Him to die.

The hour comes for all of us, our hour of suffering and/or death. We usually pray that suffering doesn’t come. Where do you go when you face trials? Alcohol, food, sex, gossip,…the best place to go is to your Daddy.

Jesus didn’t pray, “Get me out of this” but rather “get me through this.”

If you’re going to suffer, don’t waste it! Use it to honor and glorify God. To glorify means to praise or bring homage. Jesus was preparing for the cross, the most shameful place imaginable, yet for Jesus a place of honor as He is obedient to the Father’s mission.

Jesus has been given all authority…all authority! He even has the authority to forgive sins and reconcile sinners with their heavenly Father.

An integral part of our mission is the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20. The key to the commission is to make disciples, but we are only able to make disciples because Jesus has all authority.

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Notice that “eternal life” comes from knowing God—not possessing knowledge about God as the religious leaders did, but rather the Hebrew knowing which includes experience and intimacy, obedience and love for God.

In verse five, Jesus clearly states He was with the Father in the beginning, Genesis 1:1, before the world began. Only God has glory (Isaiah 42:8).

Jesus prays for Himself, that He would suffer so sinners would know and follow Him.

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. (6-8)

Here again we see this intimate relationship between Jesus and Daddy.

Verse 9 shifts to His followers. We see Him speaking like a shepherd about to lay down His life for His sheep.

Jesus Prays For His Disciples

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.
All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. (9-12)

The word “world” in the Greek has several different meaning. Here it’s not that Jesus doesn’t love everyone—He will die for everyone—but that He doesn’t love the world’s system that hates Him.

Here again we see the intimate, shared relationship between the Father and Son.

Protect them. Jesus knows that there is a very real enemy that wants to steal, kill and destroy (Jn 10:10). Sheep without a shepherd are especially vulnerable. Daddies know their kids and keep an eye on them. God’s a good Daddy.

Make them one. There is one God—Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This prayer for unity will be echoed later. A house divided cannot stand. The goal is not unity for unity’s sake, though, but rather a common focus, mission, and relationship with the Father. We are to reconciled to God and to one another as Christians. Sometimes we fight and sin against one another but unity is God’s desire for us.

Many people in our culture see everything through the lens of “me.” What’s in it for me?

Jesus wants us to glorify Him first and think “we” next. Families have to love and submit to one another. Jesus prays that we are one.

What about Judas? He betrayed Jesus and hung himself. Judas never loved Jesus. He stole money from Jesus and sold Him out for thirty pieces of silver (see Zechariah 11:12-13; Matthew 27).

“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (13-19)

The mark of the Christian is joy, not the pursuit of happiness. As we said last week, joy comes from the Holy Spirit. It is not dependent upon our circumstances. When, not if, we suffer and die, it can glorify God and be used to grow us and others. Joy only comes from the LORD. Jesus said in chapter sixteen that He would send the Holy Spirit (Acts 2). The world is not where we find joy, but where we love and serve others. This world is not our home.

Jesus prays that He would suffer well and that His disciples would suffer well.

We can’t do everything. We need wisdom to know how to live within our many limits.

Again He prays that the Father would protect them.

His final prayer is that they be sanctified, separated, made holy for a divine mission.

“For them” Jesus was sanctified and set apart. He was about to give His life for His followers…and us.


Jesus’ prayers reveal His true heart and mission. He wants to glorify the Father, Daddy. He affirms His deity and intimacy with the Father as one-third of the Trinity, one God in three Persons. He underscores what it means to know God and have eternal life. Joy, mission and unity are strong themes, and finally sanctification, being set apart.

We live in the now and the not yet, citizens of heaven yet residents of earth, called on mission to be in the world and love the people of the world but not become of the world and its systems and values that refuse to glorify God.

We are in the midst of a very real tension between heaven and earth, good and evil. In this life we will have trouble, Jesus said in the previous chapter, yet when we fix our eyes and hope on Jesus, we can pursue His mission for His glory.


Some ideas from The High Priestly Prayer sermon by Mark Driscoll, Mars Hill Church and The NIV Application Commentary, John by Gary Burge.

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Presence & Peace, John 16:16-33, 21 July 2013

Big Idea: No Jesus, no peace. Know Jesus, know peace.


We conclude the sixteenth chapter of John. We read Jesus’ final words to His followers as His arrest and crucifixion approaches.

Before we begin I want to remind you of three things:

  1. Your Daddy loves you if you trust in Jesus
  2. The presence of God is here, not in Jesus’ flesh and bones, but the Holy Spirit
  3. Peace is available to those who follow Jesus, regardless of the circumstances


Jesus went on to say, “In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me.”

Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does he mean by saying, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” They kept asking, “What does he mean by ‘a little while’? We don’t understand what he is saying.”

He would be arrested, crucified, then resurrected.

Jesus knew they wanted to know what He meant.

Jesus saw that they wanted to ask him about this, so he said to them, “Are you asking one another what I meant when I said, ‘In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me’? I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. (19-20)

“Little while” may refer to Him leaving to die and then appear.
“Little while” may refer to Him leaving earth and then, someday soon, appear.

Joy is coming. Our sorrow will be turned into joy.

He cares about the broken hearted. He is close to them.

He gives this example:

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. (21)

He continues

So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete. (22-24)

This is the third time Jesus says to pray in His Name, to abide in Him, to obey Him.

Pray to the Father in Jesus’ Name. You can pray to Jesus, but He’s with the Father praying for us.

God wants to hear and answer prayer from those who follow and obey Jesus.

Followers of Jesus have instant, direct access into the presence of God Almighty.

Those that belong to Jesus—the branches connected to the Vine—have the same access to the Father that Jesus enjoys. When we pray in Jesus’ Name and for His glory, the Father gives whatever is asked. Why? As we will see in this next passage,
the Father loves you!

“Though I have been speaking figuratively, a time is coming when I will no longer use this kind of language but will tell you plainly about my Father. In that day you will ask in my name. I am not saying that I will ask the Father on your behalf. No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. (25-27)

Jesus often spoke in parables. Many of them are obvious to us because the Bible records His explanation, but so much of what He said was cryptic and mysterious. In fact, He frequently responded to questions with more questions rather than a simple answer.

In verse 25, He acknowledges how He has been speaking figuratively.

Mark Twain famously said, “It ain’t those parts of the Bible that I can’t understand that bother me, it is the parts that I do understand.”

The Holy Spirit will later guide them and remind them of Jesus’ words, both those things they understood and those that were unclear.

Some believe John 20:30-31 is the key to the book of John

Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)

Verse 28 is also vital.

I came from the Father and entered the world; now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.” (28)

Only Jesus could make this declaration.

Then Jesus’ disciples said, “Now you are speaking clearly and without figures of speech. Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.” (29-30)

Jesus is God in the flesh. They finally get it!

“You believe at last!” Jesus answered. “But a time is coming, and has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.

These men will desert Jesus.

Later in the week there will be a moment when the Father is not with Jesus, on the cross forsaking Him as He bore our sins (Ps 22).

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (33)

This is the last thing He says to them. He wants these words to ring in the minds as they watch Him suffer and die. He wants them to remember His presence, power and peace when He ascends into heaven. When they suffer persecution and ten of them martyrdom, He wants to be certain that they have a peace that endures.

We can have peace in this life, only through Jesus.

No Jesus. No peace.
Know Jesus. Know Peace.

The only thing you can find in this world is trouble. Trouble and peace do not negate one another. As Don Miller notes, “We are not saved
from trouble, but rather saved in trouble.”

Jesus doesn’t say, “Have courage and overcome the world.” Rather, the Greek emphasis is, “Have courage—
I have overcome the world.”

Jesus’ victory is our victory. Only in dying to ourselves and receiving new life in Christ can we have peace and joy.

As Gary Burge concludes

“Christianity is the offer of God to live in His followers and achieve in them the victory demonstrated in His Son Jesus Christ. And in that indwelling, an indescribable peace will be ours despite the fury and foment of the world around us.”

- The NIV Application Commentary, John

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The Holy Spirit, John 16:1-15, 14 July 2013

Big Idea: When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we experience the fruit, gifts, and fullness of God in our lives to glorify Jesus.


It could be said that one challenge people have with Jesus is that they can’t see Him. He’s not here. Jesus has left the building…and the planet. We worship a God who visited us for 33 years and then ascended into heaven more than 2000 years ago. But God is here; God the Holy Spirit.

Throughout the book of John, Jesus talks about the Holy Spirit. He predicts the events of the second chapter of Acts (one of the most exciting chapters in the entire Bible). We actually looked at the first verses of John 16 three weeks ago, but we’ll review them here. The context is Jesus predicting His death.

“All this I have told you so that you will not fall away. They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God. They will do such things because they have not known the Father or me. (1-3)

Paul, the writer of much of the New Testament of the Bible, was once one of these people. Before his conversion to Christianity, he was a brilliant religious scholar, a Pharisee, named Saul who encouraged the stoning of Stephen and other early followers of Jesus (Acts 8:1). The irony is striking, yet even today there are people around the world that think they are offering a service to God by killing Christians.

I have told you this, so that when their time comes you will remember that I warned you about them. (4a)

A few weeks ago we talked about expectations. Jesus prepared His followers for the temporary suffering they would face in order to reap eternal rewards. Virtually every religion tries to sell the benefits of their faith, yet Jesus repeatedly goes out of His way to let people know they must count the cost before flippantly following Him.

I did not tell you this from the beginning because I was with you, but now I am going to him who sent me. None of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’ Rather, you are filled with grief because I have said these things. (4b-6)

Can you blame them for being filled with grief?

Imagine you devote your entire life to another person. All married couples should at least be able to imagine this! Now imagine they said they were going to leave. Now imagine they warned you about being ostracized from your community or even killed for your relationship with them. I would have grief! Jesus continues…

But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. (7)

Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit. Why is the Holy Spirit coming rather than Jesus staying?

  1. Jesus was restricted by His human body, able to only be in one place at a time.
  2. Jesus came for one purpose—to die! He is about to do that as He says these words.
  3. The Holy Spirit is able to dwell inside believers. God will live inside people!
  4. The Holy Spirit will provide various gifts to believers.
  5. The fruit of the Holy Spirit will be produced in the lives of believers.


When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: about sin, because people do not believe in me; about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. (John 16:8-11)

Jesus has talked about how the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, will defend believers and strengthen their witness. Now the defender becomes the prosecutor and judge.

First, the world refuses to believe Jesus as God. This is true today, too. It wants its own way, not God’s.

Second, they don’t understand the cross will proclaim His innocence and righteousness.

Finally, it is the world and satan that will be judged, not Jesus and His followers.

The Holy Spirit will do these things and more.

Jesus then says

“I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.” (John 16:12-15)

Dr. Gary Burge wrote,

“The Spirit's sole ambition is to draw attention to Jesus and to reveal to us that Jesus has been raised from the dead and has ascended to his heavenly Father, of whom he is the one and only Son.”

The NIV Application Commentary, John

The Spirit does not take us deeper into ourselves but further out of ourselves where we find Jesus. The Spirit stirs us to long for Jesus.

So What?

The Holy Spirit may be the most underrated resource in the life of a follower of Jesus.

The Spirit is one of three Persons that make up the Trinity, our three-in-one God. The Trinity is a mystery, yet the Bible is clear that each is distinct yet fully God. When we receive Jesus, we receive the Holy Spirit, too. The question is, are you filled with the Holy Spirit?

How do you know? In the previous chapter of John, Jesus said if we abide or connect with Him, we will bear fruit. Galatians 5 is explicit about what this fruit is:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23a)

Are you a more loving person than you were on New Year’s Day?
Would friends say you are more joyful than a year ago?
Do you feel peace despite your circumstances?
Are you becoming more patient?
Is kindness a clear and obvious trait to co-workers or fellow students?
When is the last time someone commented on your goodness?
Could faithfulness describe your character?
Do you have a reputation for being gentle?
When is the last time you were out of control?

I have a fear. My fear is that as individuals, many of us know the Bible but not Jesus. We are religious, but not filled with the Holy Spirit.

We need the Holy Spirit. We all need more of the Holy Spirit. We receive the Holy Spirit by confessing our sins and then inviting the Spirit to come and fill us. This is not a one-time event or even an annual process, but an ongoing lifestyle of passionately pursuing God.

This (Galatians 5:22-23a) is what we are to look like. This is the fruit we are to bear. I pray that the power of the Holy Spirit would ignite our hearts. I pray that He would break our hearts with the things that break His heart, the lost and hurting. I pray that He would do a new thing in our church, replacing fatigue with fire, apathy with zeal, and complacency with compassion.

Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:18)

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. (Ephesians 6:18)

Every day we must pray to be filled with the Holy Spirit, sensitive to sin, and sensitive to the promptings of God.

In our text for today, Jesus promises the Holy Spirit. We are on the other side of that promise. We have 24/7 access to the Holy Spirit, but it is not automatic. Like oxygen in our lungs, we must breathe in the Spirit daily, hourly.

Are you filled with the Holy Spirit or are you trying to live life from the heat of the pilot light (see video above)?

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