When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
“I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know everything that you have given me is from you. For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”
John 17:1-4, 6-9, 20-21, 24
In the evening, Jesus took the twelve and they gathered in an upper room to eat the Passover meal before departing to the Mount of Olives. Alone with his disciples, Jesus made the most of his final moments before being betrayed and arrested; he left them a model of service as he washed their feet, and explained the new covenant as he instituted the Lord’s Supper. He foretold the coming of the Holy Spirit, as well as Peter’s denial. And this “Farewell Discourse” includes the last two of seven “I AM” statements recorded in the Gospel of John: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), and “I am the true vine” (John 15:1).
After supper as the group traveled to the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed his longest recorded prayer, which is divided into three parts: prayer for himself, his disciples, and all future believers. The time for Jesus’s sacrifice was close; his “hour” had come. Jesus accomplished the mission the Father had given him, and he longed for the glory he shared with the Father before the world existed—but he would soon experience it again.
The “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17 marks a transition from Jesus’s earthly ministry to his intercessory ministry as our Great High Priest (Hebrews 7-8). For the disciples, Jesus sought three things: unity (17:11), preservation from evil (17:15), and sanctification in the word (17:17). For all future believers—including us!—Jesus prayed for unity modeled after the oneness of the Father and the Son (17:21), to the end that his kingdom would expand as the world watches us!
Catch up on our 7-day Easter Devotional series: