In this passage we come to what is arguably the pinnacle of John’s Gospel. It’s Jesus’ last night, and in the next hours, He will be betrayed by Judas Iscariot from His inner circle. He will be put on trial, condemned, and crucified the following day.
And Jesus, knowing all that awaits Him, has been pouring out His heart to the disciples. He shows them His love by washing their feet. He shares a meal with them at the last supper. He’s intimating to them that His hour has come and that He will return to the Father by way of the cross.
And now in chapter 17, Jesus offers a final prayer known as “The High Priestly Prayer”. In this prayer we find what is most important to Jesus.
In Jesus’ final prayer, we find four main points:
- A Final Request: In the face of shame, Jesus asks for the renewal of glory. He is about to face the greatest possible shame in the presence of men on earth, and so He asks for the greatest possible honor in the presence of God: that He would be raised in glory to what is rightfully His. It is the glory of the Father to glorify the Son, and it is the Son’s glory to glorify the Father.
- A Final Report: The Father sent Jesus into the world on a mission, and here Jesus is submitting His final report. In a sense, Jesus’ mission was for the whole world, but it was also particularly focused on those the Father gave to the Son. It is to these people in particular, the ones given by the Father to the Son, that Jesus has manifested the Father’s name. So in this prayer, Jesus is focused on His disciples, and His heart is focused on those who believe. Their belief in Jesus brings Him glory, for their reception of Jesus means that His mission has been successful. So here at the finish line, Jesus is acknowledging that He has completed the mission.
- A Final Intercession: In this high priestly prayer, Jesus prays a final three-fold intercession on the disciples’ behalf. First, to fortify them by putting the Father’s name on them, which signifies protection, providence, and preciousness. Jesus asks the Father to keep them strong, to keep them resilient, and to keep them faithful. Second, to sanctify them to keep them pure and distinct as sons and daughters of the King. This implies that as the disciples are sanctified in the truth of the Word, they will become holy, righteous, and pure. Because they have a mission ahead of them: to be sent out into the world to bear God’s name and Word into the world. Third, to unify them as one family, under one faith, in one Lord, and one baptism, despite their diverse backgrounds. Our unity is our witness to the world. We must never allow the world to divide what Jesus Christ has unified. We cannot live in the love of the Father and live in disunity with our brothers and sisters.
- A Final Desire: This is Christ’s desire—that we would be with Him and see Him as He really is. To see Jesus in His glory is to come alive forever, to be transformed into the sons and daughters of God that we really are. Here in the end, Jesus’ deepest desire is for perichoresis, the divine dance of eternal loving embrace with the Triune God.
Takeaways: Our true, real, good, and beautiful life is found in intimate rapture with divine glory as we are forever enfolded in the perichoretic love of our Triune God. This is what you were made for. This is what your soul aches for. This is what we’re looking for in all the wrong places. This is the deepest meaning of the universe.
We forever come alive in the eternal life of God.
Do you know this life? Do you live this life?