This entire chapter is a record of the true Lord’s Prayer, the “Our Father” prayer being more of the disciples’ prayer. The Lord was a man of prayer, praying when He was baptized, when he started His ministry, before selecting the apostles, when He was transfigured, and with his dying breath. This prayer was prayed in the shadow of the cross, so we are walking on holy ground, as it were.
This chapter shows that the Lord believed in public prayer. He wanted the apostles to know that He was praying for them, and what He was praying for them. He’d taught them three years, and now prays for them. This teachus us that it’s good to pray for those with whom we have shared truth.
“These words” (17:1) refer to the words He’d just finished speaking (16:33). After hearing they would have tribulation, imagine how good it felt to know the Lord was praying for them! Well, you can have the same good feel-ing. Paul says we’ll have tribulation (Acts 14:34), but tells us the Lord is praying for us (Rom.8:34) to realize that “in” these tribulations we are “more than conquerors” (8:37).
The Lord “lifted up His eyes” to pray (John 17:1), perhaps following the lead of Psalm 123:1. If you are wondering if we should follow this lead, remember there are more examples of people bowing in prayer (Gen.24:26,48; Ex.4:31; 12:27; 34:8; IChr.29:20; IIChr.7:3; 29:29,30; Neh.8:6). You can pray lifting your eyes if you want to, as long as you lift your soul as David did (Ps.25:1).
“The hour” (John 17:1) is the hour when His enemies could finally lay hands on Him (John 7:30 cf. Mark 14:41; Lu.22:53). This shows that the Lord knew where He stood in God’s program when He prayed. Do you? Elijah did. Knowing God told Israel He’d cut off the rain if they were bad, he prayed the prayer of James 5:17. The apostles didn’t know where they stood in God’s program when they suggesting praying for vengeance during the Lord’s first coming (Lu.9:51-56), vengeance that can’t come till His second coming (IITh.1:7,8).
The Lord asked the Father to glorify Him in that hour (17:1). The cross glorified Christ because God sent Him to be a propitiation for us (IJo.4:10) and he was “obedient” to Him (Phil.2:8). The Father glorified Him by raising Him from the dead (John 12:23,24 cf. Acts 3:13). This explains how you have already been “glorified” (Rom.8:30)—you’ve already been raised with Christ! (Col.2:12)! Of course, the Lord asked God to glorify Him so He could in turn glorify the Father (17:1). Are you glorifying God with your resurrection life? You should be! (Col.3:1,2).
When the Father glorified the Son by raising Him, the Son in turn glorified the Father by saving sinners, and the Father gave Him the power to do this (John 17:2). When it says He gave Him power “over all flesh,” this explains Matthew 28:18. In giving Him power to give eternal life, He gave Him all lesser power, just as giving man the power to take life gives him power to write parking tickets, etc. (Gen.9:6). Of course to receive eternal life under the kingdom program they had to be baptized (Mt.28:19; Mark 16:16). Of course, we are saved by the washing of regeneration, not the washing of water baptism (Tit.3:5).
“The true God” is a phrase that is always used to speak of God as opposed to idols (IIChr.15:3; Jer.10:9,10; ITh.1:9). The Lord knew the 11 were heading into the Tribulation (Mt.24:21) when idolatry will make a comeback (Rev.13: 14,15). No wonder John told His readers that Christ was the “true” God, and to keep from idols (I John 5:20,21).
The “work” the Father gave the Lord to do (John 17:4) included more than dying for sinners, it included His miracles (John 5:36). They bore witness that He was Jehovah (Ps.89:9; 107:29 cf. Mt.8:26,27). The Lord’s goal in life was “to finish His work” (John 4:34), and here in John 17 He could say He finished it.
How about you? Paul’s goal in life was to testify the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) and he did (IITim.4:7). He did it “with joy” (Acts 20:24), with no regrets, despite a turbulent life (ICor.4:11). If your goal in life is the same, your results can be the same!