The Lord’s Prayer: The Son of God Prayed for Me
It is a humbling experience to hear another believer pray for you, systematically and deliberately laying out requests on your behalf. Greater yet for the believer is that before your parents even thought of you, the Son prayed for you. We can see this clearly in John 17:21 when He shifts His attention away from the apostles toward, “them also that believe on me through their word.” This is you and I; on the night of His betrayal He prayed for you.
V1-5 – The Son and Glory
V6-19 – The Apostles and the World
V20-26 – The Believers of the Apostolic Word
V20-21 Unity in Testimony
How would the apostolic era’s first converts believe on Him? It would be “through their word.” We may wonder why more people do not believe presently. Attempts to conjure new methods of outreach that excite the emotions and play on fears might result in professions, but the Lord has said that those that believe would do it “through their word.” It is through the communication of the word of God that God has determined to be the means of bringing individuals to Christ. Pulpits and people who move away from exclusively preaching Christ and the word of God will begin to manufacture what is not of God. See also Rom 10:12-15 and 1 Cor 1:21-24.
The Lord’s request centers on the unity of believers. The desire of the Son was for the same expression of unity between the Father and the Son to be witnessed in these believers. It is a unity of love, affection and purpose. The purpose of the unity was so “the world may believe.” Notice the statements in Acts 2:42-46: “they continued steadfastly… in the fellowship”; “all that believe were together”; they were “daily with one accord in the temple”; and, they “did eat meat with gladness and singleness of heart”. What was the result? They had “favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily”. When dishonesty occurs, as in Acts 5 with Ananias and Sapphira, the Lord moves in heavy judgment. When unity is resolved in Acts 6, verse 7 says, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
Shouldn’t we then seek to create this unity again in a world of divided denominations? The Scripture never says to create unity, for unity has already been made through the coming of the Spirit of God at Pentecost. We, as Ephesians 4:3 says, should be “endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
V22-23 Glory Bringing Unity
Will this unity ever be fully enjoyed again? Unity will not come through the World Council of Churches, but only when we will share the Son’s acquired glory. We will be made like Him.
But see how the Son speaks as if this glory has already been given. Our glorification is sure. Romans 8:30 also does the same thing when Paul states, “and whom He justified, them He also glorified.” It is amazing that the Son would share with us His glory He will receive because of the cross, and this glory is certain. The Son thinks highly of us in spite of who we are. The end of v23 fills out this truth that the Father has loved us as He has loved the Son. If we want to know how much the Father loves us, examine how much the Father loves the Son.
The world will see this glory and unity when Christ returns to establish His kingdom “when He shall come to be glorified in His saints, and to be admired in all them that believe… in that day” (2 Thes 1:10). Then it will be too late to believe in Him. Notice the unity in v21 was “that the world may believe,” but now the unity the Lord speaks of is “that the world may know.”
V24 – Uniting Christ and the Believers
The Son not only wants us to be like Him, but He craves for us to be with Him. It is the only instance of Him expressing a desire for His own will to be done to the Father. As much as we may want to be with the Lord, His desire is more for the purpose of our beholding the glory that the Father gave to Him. His glory, as the Father’s glory (v4), and as our glory (v22), was spoken as if it was already attained. He knows it will be as evidence that He was loved before the foundation of the world.
He will share His glory with us, yet there is glory still that we can only behold. Do you desire to see His glory in the way that only being with Him can produce? He does for us in a deeper and fuller way. As we die, or when He comes, His request for us to be with Him is fulfilled. It is as Solomon wrote in his Song of Songs 7:10, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.”
V25-26 – Knowing the Father
The Son addresses the Father again, now in a unique way, “O righteous Father.” What a great contrast this is with the world that knows not the Father. The world manifests their lack of righteousness through not knowing the Father, nor the Son who was sent (see also John 16:10).
The believer, however, knows the Father. Knowledge of the Father comes through the revelation from the Son by the Word. He has declared the name, “Father” (see v6) and will continue to do so. The work of the Son continues in showing us the name of the Father. The purpose of making known the name of the Father is aptly summed up by F.W. Grant who wrote, “and so this [love of the Father to the Son] becomes an inward realization in the soul; and He, the Object of the Father’s love, in whom therefore the Divine nature in its glory revealed itself, -- He becomes in them the necessary Object also, and the One in whom fellowship with God is henceforth found.”