The high-priestly prayer is divided into three parts. First, Jesus prays for Himself (John 17:1-5), then for His disciples (John 17:6-19), and finally for those who would later believe in Him (John 17:20-26).
Read John 17:1-5. What is the essence of His prayer, and what does it mean for us?
Jesus intercedes first for Himself. In preceding events in the Gospel of John, Jesus had indicated that His hour had not yet come (John 2:4, John 7:30, John 8:20). But now He knows the hour of His sacrifice is here. The moment for the dramatic conclusion of His earthly life has arrived, and He is in need of strength to complete His mission. It is a time for prayer.
Jesus will glorify His Father by doing His will, even if it means He must endure the Cross. His acceptance of the Cross is not some kind of fatalism; rather, it is in fact how He exercises the authority the Father has given Him. He did not die a martyr’s death but willingly glorified His Father by fulfilling the reason for His incarnation: His sacrificial death on the cross for the sins of the world.
What is eternal life according to John 17:3? What does it mean to know God?
First and foremost, Jesus tells us eternal life consists in our personal knowledge of God. This is not salvation by works or by knowledge, but rather it is the experience of knowing the Lord because of what Jesus has done for us at the Cross. This knowledge is mediated through a personal relationship with the Father. Our human tendency is to limit knowledge to facts and details, but here Jesus aims at something deeper and more fulfilling: a personal relationship with God. Jesus’ first advent was also for the purpose to guide humanity in its search for a more meaningful and saving knowledge of God and the unity with each other that such knowledge will lead to.
|What is the difference between knowing about God and knowing God personally? What experiences have you had that have helped you come to know God?|