Updated: Feb 7, 2019
Jesus Prays for Himself
Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said:
Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You, for You gave Him authority over all flesh; so He may give eternal life to all You have given Him.
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.
This morning, I got up, made my bed, did my morning stretches (trying that out in the new year) and read my devotion. While reading out of John 16, my eyes wandered over to John 17. The first line read, "Jesus Prays for Himself" in bold. So, that led to me reading all of John 17. I don't know about you, but I wasn't as familiar with this prayer of Jesus' as I should have been. I know the whole story of Jesus' last days: He has the last supper; Jesus prays; Judas betrays him; Jesus is mocked, wounded, scarred, persecuted, and crucified.
And yet...Jesus prayed for Himself, then the disciples, then all believers.
John 17:20-26 is the last prayer Jesus prays before being arrested. It is called His High Priestly Prayer. And in His last prayer before He is to be arrested and handed over to be crucified, He prayed for us.
You and me.
As I read this, tears began to form in my eyes. How could this man, who is about to go through the worst possible death, be thinking of me? How in the world was Jesus praying for me amidst this tragedy that He KNEW was about to take place? I would completely understand if Jesus had only prayed for Himself the whole time. Just think about it, many believers in Jesus' time, and ALL the believers post-ascension, never met him personally. Rather the disciples led them to believing in Him. I can also say that I have never sat down at a restaurant and had lunch with Jesus - in His work garments - and been formerly introduced.
Jesus prayed for ME. Jesus prayed for YOU. He prayed specifically for us to be united in Him. He prayed that God would dwell within us so that we could see His glory. Jesus prayed for us to to be with Him wherever He goes; He desired for US to be with HIM. He made His name known to us so that the love God gave Him may also be in us.
He prayed all these things in order for us to be able to continue in this world, forging the way to God, just as Jesus had done with the time He had on earth. He prayed so that we may be encouraged in Him, even though He was leaving the disciples and the earth for a time. Of course He would come again and take us with Him, but for now, He prayed that we would be able to carry on His ministry while He was gone.
I shared these newfound verses with my roommate, in complete awe of His love for us.
"Wow. That's amazing. His dying thought was us."
And then it really sunk in. Just hearing it in those words.
"His dying thought was us."
It is utterly mesmerizing and incredibly humbling that Jesus was dying and thinking of us - those who believe in Him. He earnestly prayed that we would come together, in Him, with God's love spread all over us, living with Him forever.
That's why He went to the cross. So that the scripture could be fulfilled. Every terrible detail that He went through on His way to the cross had to happen to fulfill scripture. To make a way for us to be with Him forever.
"How deep the Father's love for us. How vast beyond all measure.
That He should give His only son, to make a wretch His treasure."
Maybe, you have never heard that song before, but I have never heard another song that more accurately portrays the love Jesus has for us in these verses. The song is titled "How Deep the Father's Love for Us" and it is performed by Selah. It was our fault. Jesus died because of our sin. The same people He was praying for put Him on that cross and watched Him die.
You and I are responsible for His death.
And yet... He prayed for us. His love for us was so full and His hope for us was so grand, that He thought of us before being arrested, beaten, and nailed to a cross.
If someone was about to be arrested in ten minutes, and they began praying for you, you would think they were insane. What love is this? I've never experienced this kind of love, or given someone this much love. It is what we all want. To be thought of above all else - to be desired.
Jesus desires us. He always has and His desire only grew when He was dying on a cross for us. His love for us was so deep that His dying thought was spent on us, praying for us.
Read John 17:20-26 again, but this time, read it out loud.
If you do not know Jesus' love for you, I hope you got a glimpse of it while reading this article. If you do, I hope your understanding of His love for you deepened and your heart was overwhelmed by it.
"It was my sin that held Him there. Until it was accomplished His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished.
Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer, but this I know with all my heart, His wounds have paid my ransom."
"Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world's foundation." John 17:24
Author: Joy Grace Webb
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible® Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Holman CSB®, and HCSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
"How Deep the Father's Love for Us" by Selah