John 17v1 -5 – Jesus Prays – (1) For His Glory.
We come now to the first in three studies in Jesus’ prayer recorded in John chapter 17 (click here for word doc download). It is a startling prayer for a man who knew he was about to die. Others have crumbled in the face of death, but not Jesus. This is the most intimate and detailed prayer of Jesus that we have recorded in the gospels. It is a beautiful expression of confidence and trust in his Father to bring to fulfilment his eternal plan for humanity.
- In the very next chapter Jesus will be betrayed, arrested and ultimately crucified. If you had only one prayer to pray what would your prayer be? Share with the group some of the themes you would touch on. How does this compare with Jesus’ concerns?
- How would you define “glory” to someone unfamiliar with biblical language? Describe the flow of glory occurring in this passage between the Father and the Son. How is glory displayed through Jesus’ humiliation (Phil 2.8-11)?
- Who can and cannot see this glory (John 1.14, 2 Corinthians 4.3-4)? Share with the group how God opened your eyes to see this glory.
- One commentator says of verse 3: “Eternal life is not so much everlasting life as personal knowledge of the Everlasting One”. Describe the difference between simply existing forever and having eternal life with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- If eternal life is the possession of a deep knowledge of God, what would you say to someone who sees their faith only as “a ticket to heaven when they die”? If life in all its fullness is available here and now, what extra is awaiting us in heaven?
- Once someone has this relationship with God it can never be taken away, even through death (Romans 8.38-39). How does this bring us comfort us in the face of death?
- Jim summed up this passage as Jesus saying “Not keep out, but come in”. How can we participate in this glory-feast (think back to our studies in John cp 15.1-17)? Have you responded to this invitation to see Jesus’ glory?
Throughout these verses Jesus’ overriding concern is for the final completion of his earthly mission. As our Mediator and Saviour, his primary concern is for the ones he has come to save rather than himself. He desires glory for himself, not for selfish reasons, but only so that he may in return glorify his Father and grant eternal life to all those who will believe. This eternal life is the restoration of the relationship with God that brings a quality and depth to life that begins now and lasts for evermore.
Father show us more of your glory and deepen our understanding of who you are. May we know that eternal life which is more precious than physical life and deeper than any human love, Amen.