Our Lord’s High-Priestly Prayer

Gospel of John #46: an exposition of John 17:1-26. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday morning, November 20, 2011.

Prayer.  It is one of those things we talk a lot about…but seldom do.  Everyone knows it is important and that we all need to pray more than we do but we’re busy, there’s so much going on, well you know.  Sure there is that quick word before a meal.  There are the performances at church but what about real prayer?  When I think about people who really pray, I think of folks like Martin Luther, the great reformer, who spent four or five hours a day in prayer.  When asked how he could afford so to spend so much time in prayer given all he had to do Luther replied, “I have so much to do I can’t afford not to pray!”  I think of folks I’ve known through the years who were definitely prayer warriors.  That is not their assessment.  They did not see themselves as such (I would question anyone who did).  That was the observation of those who knew them.  Prayer is a powerful thing.  You know the strength and encouragement that comes when someone says, “I’m praying for you” and you know they mean it.  You can tell a lot about a person by their prayers.  You learn what is important to them.  You learn their priorities, who they love and what they love.

Of course the ultimate prayer warrior, the ultimate man of prayer is our Lord.  How often do we read in the Gospels that he spent the entire night in prayer?  That sounds strange to many of us.  We hear that and think, “What do you say all night?  How do you stay awake?”  Yet there is not one of us who hasn’t sat down with a friend or loved one and talked the night away.  You suddenly realize that hours have passed and it seemed like only a moment.  Maybe it seems foreign to us because God is a stranger.  Perhaps we can’t imagine being comfortable in His presence.  The Lord Jesus had shared a glorious unity with the Father from all eternity.  What did they talk about?  What went on in those exchanges between the Father and the Son?  Wouldn’t it be something to “get in on” the prayer life of the Lord Jesus?  Well we are given that opportunity on a few occasions in the Gospels.  One of them is our text this morning.

Text: John 17:1-26

This is sacred ground.  Jesus is in the final hours of his earthly ministry.  He has gathered with his disciples in the upper room to share the Passover Meal.  This is his final moments with them before the cross.  He talked with them concerning his death.  He spoke of his resurrection.  He told them of a home he was going to prepare for them.  He talked about abiding in him and bearing much fruit.  He promised the gift of the Holy Spirit.  He warned of the trouble that was to come.  At the end of their time together he prayed.  And what a prayer!  This is the Lord’s Prayer.  The passage in Matthew 6 contains the model prayer.  Jesus said, “When you pray, pray like this…”  This is the prayer he prayed.

As we work our way through the chapter here is what we find…

Thesis: This prayer of the Lord Jesus reveals His heart and soul.

This prayer gives us tremendous insight into the mind and heart of our Lord.  We find out what is important to him.  We find out what mattered to him.  Were were his priorities?  What was of greatest value to him?

The prayer naturally breaks into three sections.

  1. The prayer of the Lord Jesus reveals his unrivaled love for the Father and the Father’s plan.  (17:1-5)
  2. The prayer of the Lord Jesus reveals His gracious, superintending love for His disciples.  (17:6-19)
  3. The prayer of the Lord Jesus reveals his merciful, inclusive love for the whole church.  (17:20-26)

He prayed for you that night.
But that was not the last time he prayed for you.
He is now at the right hand of the Father interceding for his own!

Take heart dear Christian.  Are you in a dark place today?  Are you struggling?  He’s praying for you.  Are you frightened, uncertain anxious about your future?  He’s praying for you.  Are you awakening to your sin?  Coming to see your need of a Savior?  He’s praying for you!

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