Sermon- 7th Sunday after Easter- 5/24/20- Pastor Joe Asher- Kaiserslautern Ev. Lutheran Church- Germany, Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod, Office of International Mission- *IN NOMINE JESU*
The High Priestly Prayer
17 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, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
6 “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. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 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. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
Grace, mercy, and peace be unto you from God our Father, and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
John 17 contains Jesus’ the longest recorded prayer in all of God’s Word. Our Lord prays this on Thursday night of Holy Week right after He had celebrated the Last Supper and given His final instructions to His disciples. When our Lord asks the heavenly Father, verse 1
Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…
…the next even in Jesus life is His Good Friday betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, and death on the cross. And for every Christian, it is important for us to think about how our Savior could possibly “be glorified” as the wheels of injustice and evil put Him on the cross.
It is crucial for us to understand that God does not think of glory in the way that we think of glory. For us, to receive glory, typically means to receive recognition, honor, praise, and exaltation over others. But for our Lord Jesus, His glory was to be debased, spit upon, beaten, and flogged… and go to the cross to pay for your sin, my sin, and the sin of the whole world by His innocent suffering and death. We need to understand that Christ was glorified in His mission to save our fallen and rebellious world. And today, we glorify Jesus and our heavenly Father for God’s love to rescue sinners from the condemnation and hell which we deserved.
The next thing our Lord does in this prayer is to clarify His mission. Verses 2-3-
you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Here we see that the authority, the rule and dominion, the power over all humanity is absolute. And Christ possesses this sovereign authority. Here, we think of Jesus as our King, and He has the
governance and rule over our lives. And our Lord’s mission is to provide eternal life for all who trust in Him as Savior. Christian believers are ones whom the Father has given to the Son.
And since we are Christ’s own people, we are secure in His love and can be confident in all the gifts He gives to us through faith. Forgiveness of sins, peace, and eternal life, all these things believers have through faith.
And here is the good news: Salvation does not depend on you, or me, or any sinner. Salvation depends upon Christ. And our Lord Jesus has absolute and sovereign authority over all flesh. And since Jesus has saved us by His cross, all Christians can rejoice in the salvation won by Jesus’ death and resurrection.
When you know Jesus by faith, you possess what He gives you- forgiveness, peace, and eternal life.
Now in the next paragraph of our text, beginning at John 17:6, Jesus begins to pray for us. And when our Lord prays for all Christian believers, He assumes the office of High Priest. In other words, Christ takes the position as a Mediator, or go-between, or ambassador, or envoy between His followers and God the Father. And this is a gracious and wonderful thing. Think about it- Christ Who saved us now speaks to the Father on our behalf.
So when we pray to our heavenly Father, Jesus will identify every Christian as one for whom He died. And better than this, on the Last Day before the Father’s throne in heaven, our Savior will ID us as one of His followers, and therefore qualified for heaven based upon Jesus’ own merit. Christ, as our High Priests, acts and speaks on our behalf.
When we think back to the high priests of the Old Testament, this sacred position was instituted on Mount Sinai when God gave the Law to Israel through Moses. The High Priest was responsible for interceding for Israel before God, and often God would speak to His people through His priests and prophets. On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest entered the Holy of Holies, and approaching Yahweh’s altar, would offer the sacrifice that would temporarily cover the sins of the people. (Heb. 9:7).
But now, Christians have Jesus as our High Priest. He offered His life as the ultimate sacrifice that would not only cover the sins of the people, but also Christ’s blood shed on the cross completely washes sinners clean, and saves them!
Our Lord Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, is our High Priest Who…
- Approaches the Father as our Advocate
- Speaks for us
- Prays for us
But more than this, He pays for our sin as both our Priest and Sacrifice. For Christ endured the cross in our place, paying for our sin, and the result is that Jesus saves us by His merit.
As you read through Jesus’ High Priestly prayer in John 17, one of the things that will become noticeably clear is the “interconnectedness” of the Father and the Son. As our Lord Jesus does His ministry of preaching, teaching, healing, and defeating the power of satan and evil, the Father is glorified in Christ’s Word and actions. In the unity of the Triune Godhead, as Christ works, the Father is also working. That’s why the Savior told His followers- John 14:9-
Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father.
And then Jesus further said, John 10:30-
I and the Father are One.
So in our Lord’s prayer, Jesus again restates the intimate association of the Father and Son within the Trinity, verses 7-8-
Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 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.
When Christ says that “everything” He has is from His heavenly Father, He is referring to His authority, power, glory, and mission to save us. So everything is communicated and shared within the Triune Godhead. Again, when you look at our Lord Jesus, you also see the Father.
In practical terms, if you want to know how the Heavenly Father feels about you, listen to Christ’s words. Also, observe Christ’s actions as He reaches out to the most desperate sinners. The Triune God in Christ is working in concert to save the lost.
And that takes us to verses 9-10 in Jesus’ prayer.
I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.
Here, our Savior prays specifically for His followers. This brings to mind the night Peter denied Jesus, and our Lord prayed for him, also. It is encouraging that Christ prays for us as well… in every struggle we face, in every challenge, in every trial. When we face the hard times in our world, Jesus is our High Priest before the Father, and we are never forgotten or alone in our daily existence.
And now in our text, our Lord Jesus says that He is glorified in us. This is an interesting concept. How we live; our words and our conduct points to Christ. Jesus’ prayer must inspire us in the Holy Spirit’s power to live in a way that honors our Savior in all that we do…
- As we’re interacting with our spouse and children
- As we’re at work or school
- As we’re driving the car
- When we’re using social media
- In every situation
With these five words from our Lord, let us resolve in God’s strength to grow in our love for Jesus and live in a way that brings glory to Him.
In Jesus’ name. Amen.
+Sola Deo Gloria+