We are finishing up our study of the Lord's Prayer in John 17 this morning, which also ends our study of the Upper Room Discourse. This is our 31st and last message in the Upper Room Discourse. We have to keep in mind that all this teaching and the prayer of our Lord took place in one evening. So what has taken us around 31 hours probably happened in about 3 or 4 hours. So all this teaching and the prayer all took place just hours before the Lord's crucifixion.
We are looking at the final portion of the Lord's prayer, the part where He prays for us.
"I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, John 17:20 ESV
"Those who will believe in me through their word"—this is us! So in these seven verses the Lord prays for you and me, and every other believer who has ever lived.
One of the things that the Lord prays for is unity. He prays for unity in verse 11, "that they may be one, even as we are one," (verse 21), "that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us" ( verse 22), "that they may be one even as we are one" and (verse 23), "I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one."
The words "just as" in verse 21, and "even as" in verse 22, speak of the nature of our unity. It is to be like that of Yeshua and the Father—a common life. It's not people being united because they are in the same container organizationally. It's people who are one because they share the same nature.
How do we know beyond a doubt that Christ is not praying for a practical unity, praying that we would all get along in the Church? We know because the Church doesn't have a practical unity. I believe that the unity, the oneness that Christ is praying for is that Jews and Gentiles would be one in the body of Christ. We know that that prayer was answered.
The final section that we are looking at today emphasizes the security of the believer. Which means that once you become a Christian by faith in Christ, you can never be lost. Once you become a son of God, you will always be a son of God no matter how messed up your behavior may get. Our sin does not affect our position.
For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV
Yeshua took our sin, all of it, every bit of it, and bore its penalty, and He gave us His righteousness. We stand before God perfectly righteous because we are in Christ.
The eternal security of the believer is a matter of our position in Christ before God. This is something that Christ did for us. It has nothing to do with what we do. We cannot secure this position by the kind of life we live. The security rests in the death we died in Christ. Our eternal security before God is a matter of grace. Grace is what God gives, not what we do.
to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:6 ESV
We are as secure in our salvation as Christ is in the Trinity.
We have already seen the idea of security in this prayer in verse:
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. John 17:11 KJV
"Keep them in your name"—this phrase means: "keep them loyal to you, protect them." Loyalty seems to be the objective of the keeping. Knowing the temptations the disciples will face in His absence, He prays that they will remain loyal to Him in the midst of trials and temptation. I use the KJV here because I think that the Textus Receptus is better here than the Westcott and Hort texts.
Yeshua is asking the Father to keep, "those whom thou hast given me." Let me ask you something, Do you think that the Father answered the Son's prayers? If Yeshua prayed that the Father would keep the "given" then the "given" were kept. Would you agree with that?I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. John 17:23 ESV
"I in them and you in me"—Yeshua implies that He would indwell believers as the Father indwelt Him. All three members of the Godhead indwell the Christian. Here is the great doctrine of union with Christ. Paul talks about this in:For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. Romans 6:5 ESV
"Have been united with Him"—the word united here is the Greek word sumphutos, which literally means: "grown together with," it is used of the edges of a wound or fusing of the broken ends of a bone. It has the idea of being grafted into something. The perfect tense demonstrates that this is not a gradual growing into His death. That's a good picture of what happened to us when Christ died. God grafted us into Yeshua the Christ as He died on the cross. He joined us to Him so that the effects of His death in bearing the wrath of God, while being poured out on Christ, were by that act of union poured out on us, too. Though He stood in our place, the effects of what He did were just as if God had poured His fierce wrath out on us.
We have been united with Him! There are several other texts in Paul's writings that show the all-important place of our union with Christ:And because of him you are in Christ Yeshua, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 1 Corinthians 1:30 ESV
Notice that it is God who creates the union. The NASB reads, "By God's doing, you are in Christ Yeshua." Literally, "From Him you are in Christ Yeshua." He creates the union by His grace. We embrace it by faith.
Notice the importance of this union with Christ. If you are in Christ, by God's doing, Christ becomes for you "wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption." All that Christ is for you, He is for you because you are "in Him." Because you are united to Him.
"That they may become perfectly one"—the original text is a hina clause with a perfect passive participle—"having been perfected," an already accomplished act. "I am praying that they will already have been perfected while they are in the world." The body, all believers, are perfectly one because we are in Christ.
"So that the world may know that you sent me"—in verse 21 Yeshua said, "So that the world may believe that you have sent me." If the world is going to "believe" or "know" that the Father sent the Son, it is because they are the elect of God, they are the "given," who are in the world. The word "world" is used here as it is in John 3:16 meaning: "the elect from both Jews and Gentiles."
"And loved them even as you loved me"—this has to be one of the most remarkable statement in the Bible. Who is the "them" here? It is us, it's all believers. Who is the "me" here? It is Christ. So Christ is saying that the Father loves us as much as He loves Him.
D. A. Carson writes: "Would to God that the truths of these verses might burn themselves into our memories. It is a rare and holy privilege to observe the divine Son of God not only formulating His prayers but formulating the grounds for His petitions. These grounds reflect the essential unity of Father and Son, and reveal that Jesus' prayers for His people trace their argument back to the inscrutable purposes of Deity. When the Son of God Himself has offered prayers for His followers like these prayers, and when the prayers have been grounded as these prayers have been grounded, it is horrifying to remember that, in moments of weakness and doubt, we still rebelliously question the love of God for His own people. This passage ought rather to engender the deepest and most stable faith, the most adoring gratitude. The disciples of Jesus Christ are loved with a special love É which distinguishes them from the world." (D. A. Carson, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Yeshua: An Exposition of John 14-17 [Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1980], p. 188.)
How does He love the Son? He loves Him infinitely without measure.The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. John 3:35 ESVFor the Father loves the Son and shows him all that he himself is doing. And greater works than these will he show him, so that you may marvel. John 5:20 ESVFor this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. John 10:17 ESV
The Father loves the Son ultimately, infinitely, eternally, which means that He loves us eternally; and that's why Romans 8 says,What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31 ESV
The theme of this section (31-39) is the love of God for His people. Paul's question, "If God is for us, who is against us?" expects a negative answer, "No one." When Paul says "if" God be for us, he's not saying maybe He is, and maybe He isn't. In the original text, this is a first class condition. It can be translated "Since God is for us," or "Because God is for us." There is no truth more fundamental in all of God's Word than this truth. "God is for us." Because of Yeshua's death and resurrection, once and for all the question is settled. "God is for us." All that God is, all that God has, and all that God does, He does on behalf of His people.Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Romans 8:35 ESV
The answer expected is: Nothing! The genitive Christos is subjective, denoting Christ's love for believers.For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Yeshua our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 ESV
Paul says, "I am sure"—the word means: "to be fully and absolutely persuaded on the basis of evidence that cannot be denied." He uses a perfect passive indicative verb. The perfect tense means something like: "I was persuaded in the past, and I am fully persuaded in the present," "I used to believe this, and I still believe it today."
The passive voice here is important. Had Paul inferred that his confidence rested on his experience or his response to God, then he would have used the active voice; that is, demonstrating that it was what he had personally done that brought him assurance. Then we would be forced to compare our experience with Paul's as the standard for assurance. But he used the passive voice, which means that he had nothing to do with the action, but rather he was acted upon. His confidence rested in the work of Another and not his own.
The word "separate" means: "to violently tear from, to completely divide." Paul says that nothing that can happen to us can finally and completely separate us from the love of God. So what he's saying is that there's no state of being in which you could ever be separated from the love of God, which is in Christ Yeshua.
I've heard people say, "But what if I want to separate myself from God's love? What if I take myself out of God's love? What if I decide to separate myself? What if I decide I don't want to be saved any longer? Can I take myself away from God's love?" Look at the text. It says, "Nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Yeshua our Lord." "Nor anything else in all creation"—are you a part of God's creation? The answer is, "Yes." Then you can't even separate yourself from God's love. Why? Because those whom God loves, He loves forever. Those whom God saves, He saves forever. Those whom God justifies, He justifies forever. If you by faith have come to Yeshua for salvation, He will never cast you out (John 6:37), and He will never allow you to cast yourself out.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 17:24 ESV
Do you see what this verse is saying? Yeshua is saying that He desires that we be with Him in heaven.
The first thing we have to understand here is the phrase, "Whom you have given me." We have been over this many times in our study of this book, it is vital that we understand it. Notice what Yeshua said earlier:All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. John 6:37 ESV
Verse 35 shows us that "coming to Christ" and "believing in Christ" are synonyms, so who believes in Yeshua? "All that the Father gives to Him"—the ability to believe on Yeshua requires divine enablement. It is only those whom "the Father" enables to believe that "come to" Yeshua in faith. These are "all" the people whom "the Father gives" to the Son as gifts. Yeshua viewed the ultimate cause of faith as God's electing grace, not man's choice.
Believers, that phrase "all You have given Me" appears seven times in this prayer. In Scripture, seven symbolizes completeness or perfection. That is a defining statement regarding believers, you and me, and all believers since the work of Christ was applied. All believers—listen—have been given to Christ from the Father. So the "given" are the elect of God that will believe in Him and have eternal life.
"Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am"—the word "desire" here is from the Greek word thelo. Thelo is often used in the New Testament to simply mean, "to wish". And there are many instances where it means essentially that. In this context though almost all of the students of the Gospel of John agree that it means something far more than that here, as it often does in other places such as:And behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean." And Yeshua stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed. Matthew 8:2-3 ESV
He didn't mean "I wish." He meant "I will." In other words, this word is a word that expresses often the determination of our Lord, the will of our Lord as over against a wish.
In our text in John it expresses, in a very strong way, the will of our Lord, "Father, I will," in the sense of this is the intent of my petition. Not simply a wish, but expressive of the will of the Savior. Which raises the question, Does the Son will something different from the Father? Hopefully by now in this study of John you know the answer is, NO!Yeshua said to them, "My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to accomplish his work. John 4:34 ESV
This is a declaration of Yeshua's priorities. Yeshua was speaking figuratively of the sustenance that comes from doing the will of God.So Yeshua said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise. John 5:19 ESV
"For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise"—in Yeshua, we see Yahweh. Whatever Yeshua did was an act of Yahweh; whatever He said was the word of Yahweh. There was no moment of His life and no action of His which did not express the life and action of the Father."I can do nothing on my own. As I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I seek not my own will but the will of him who sent me. John 5:30 ESV
Yeshua's point was that He could not do anything independently of the Father. His "judgment" is the result of listening to His Father. His judgment "is just" because the desire for self-glory does not taint it. The Son's "will" is totally to advance the Father's "will.""For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. John 6:38 NASB
The purpose of the Incarnation was that the Son would fulfill the Father's will. The Son will not act independently of the Father, but only in submission to the Father.Since Yeshua's "desire" or will was identical with the Father's will, we know that the Father will grant this request. So Christ's will for us and the Father's will for us is that we be with Him where He is, that is, with Him at the Father's side, and that there we will see His glory.
Do you see what is happening here? Yeshua is praying us into heaven. We're going to heaven; that's a promise. The reason that promise is fulfilled, the means for that to be fulfilled, is the intercessory prayer of the Lord Yeshua the Christ.
This is one of the most magnificent statements of the security of the believer in Christ that we have in all of the Bible. If anyone has any question about whether having believed in the Lord Yeshua you're safe and secure, if you'll just think of this prayer, that should ease all of your problems forever, because if Yeshua prayed that we would be with Him in Heaven—we will be!
Now the simplest idea of heaven is to be where Yeshua is. That is what heaven is, it is not so much defined as a place as it is as a person. Isn't it a magnificent thing to think that the Lord Yeshua prayed for us before we were ever born? He prayed for those who are believing and furthermore, He also acknowledged that we had been given, and actually He committed us to the Father for the Father's keeping before we'd ever been born. What a magnificent thing that is, and what a sense of security it gives us to know that. Yeshua's desire is that we be with Him and the Father in heaven. And nothing will ever stop that desire from coming to pass.
Believers, this is eternal security!Through the years, the subject of eternal security has been hotly debated in theology. There are people who have always believed; and many who believe, even as we speak, that this salvation, which is granted in Christ, can be lost. I think that an in depth study of this prayer should change their minds. Christ gets what He prays for and He prays for us to be with Him in heaven.I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand. John 10:28-29 ESV
"No one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand"—Yeshua just said "No one can snatch them out of My hand." And then to strengthen the idea of security He says, "No one can snatch them out of My Father's hand." So when the Father gives His sheep into the omnipotent hand of the Son, they are still in His hand.
In verse 12 Yeshua said that wolves would attack His flock, and the word He used for "attack" there is the same word that is translated "snatch" here. Concerning this text, A. W. Pink says, "No stronger passage in all the Word of God can be found guaranteeing the absolute security of every child of God." ["monergism.com"]
Look at how Jude ends his letter about apostasy:Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Yeshua the Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen. Jude 1:24-25 ESV
"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling"—"now" is a conjunction that marks a shift in the letter and introduces the doxology. "Now to Him" is literally, "Now to the One." This refers to Yahweh the Father, the author of the divine plan. In light of the great danger to which Jude's readers are exposed, He deliberately emphasizes that it is God, and God alone, Who is able to keep them!
"To make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy"—because of your position in Christ, you are able to stand in the presence of the glory of Yahweh with great joy, not fear or shame. This is amazing! "Blameless"—is amomos, which is literally: "without spot or blemish, above reproach." It was used to describe the absence of defects in sacrificial animals and figuratively of the Lamb of God as unblemished:he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, Colossians 1:22 ESV
We are blameless because we are in Christ. Anyone who knows the God of the Bible would think of being in His presence as causing fear and shame. But by the work of Yeshua the Christ, and in the grace of God, we know that we can go to God with joy and with all fear banished because we are righteous in Christ. This is security!
"To see my glory that you have given me"—you don't see it in the ESV, but there is a purpose clause here—"so that." He wants us to be with Him so that we may see His glory which the Father has given Him.
You notice that the glory that our Lord speaks about here is the glory that was given Him. In verse 5 Yeshua prays to have the glory restored that He had in eternity past. The original disciples had seen Yeshua's glory (1:14), they saw the miracles that He did, they saw the cross and resurrection, but they had not witnessed the majesty of Yeshua's pre-existent deity. He wanted them all to see the "glory" that the Father would restore to the Son following His ascension.
"Because you loved me"—as we saw earlier the Father loves the Son. And this love existed "before the foundation of the world"—once again the pre-existence of the Son is mentioned in connection with the relationship He shared with the Father in eternity past. We saw this in the very first verse:In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1 ESV
"In the beginning was the Word"—here John/Eleazar uses the Greek verb eimi, which means: "to be" or "to exist" and suggests continued existence. At the beginning of eternity, when there was nothing else, "the Word" existed. With these opening words of the prologue Eleazar traces the origin of "The Word" backward into eternity to where God the Son was present with God the Father before time as we know it began.
The Father loved the Son in eternity past, and the Triune God was active in redemption in eternity past. This phrase is used several times in the New Testament:Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. Matthew 25:34 ESVeven as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love Ephesians 1:4 ESV
In the Father's love for the Son He chose a people to give Him for His suffering on the cross, that people are the "given."O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. John 17:25 ESV
"Righteous Father"—think about when the Lord prayed this, it was hours before the cross. Looking at it physically, there seems to be nothing righteous or just about the arrest, trial,and crucifixion that Yeshua is about to experience. But if we understand it spiritually, we realize that it is through this injustice that the deep and powerful justice of God is displayed. Here God proves Himself to be both just, and the one who justifies those who believe in the Son:It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Yeshua. Romans 3:26 ESV
To be righteous, and to declare as righteous those who are guilty seems like an unrighteous decision. God's righteousness would dictate: pour out your wrath on guilty sinners—that would be righteous. But if God is going to justify the ungodly, then someone, namely Yeshua, had to bear the wrath of God to show that God is just. That's why the word "propitiation" in verse 25 is so important. Christ bore the wrath of God for our sins, and turned it away from us.
Christ is our propitiation. That is, out of love for the glory of God, He absorbs the wrath of God that was rightfully ours, so that it might be plain that when we are "justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption of Christ Yeshua", God will be manifestly just, righteous, in counting as righteous those who trust in Yeshua.
Knowing He is about to die, this sin-bearing, substitutionary lamb of God, addresses His Father as "Righteous Father."
"Even though the world does not know you"—here "world"is from the Greek term "kosmos." If you look up all of Lazarus' uses of kosmos you will see that he uses the term in different senses. In John 3:16 it is simply a term for elect humanity, God loves His elect. Here it is used of the spiritually corrupt world system dominated by Satan.
"I know you, and these know that you have sent me"—even though the world does not know Yahweh, it does not mean that Yeshua's mission was a failure, because He didn't come to save the world but the elect. All that the Father has given Him know that Yeshua was sent by the Father.I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." John 17:26 ESV
"I made known to them your name"—the theme of the manifestation of the Father's name is picked up from 17:6 and refers to Yeshua's revelation of the character of Yahweh. The term "name" is a Hebraic expression, which refers to all that the person is. And with reference to the name of God, it refers to all that He is both in His being, in His attributes, and also in His actions. So to manifest the name is to declare the nature and being of God. To have seen Yeshua is to have seen Yahweh. Yeshua made God known. The only way that we can know God is through Yeshua, who was sent to this earth to manifest God's name.
"And I will continue to make it known"—how is Yeshua going to continue to make Yahweh's name known when it is His last hour and He is leaving? He does that through His Spirit, through His Word.
"That the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them"—this is also a purpose clause. Yeshua made known the name of Yahweh, "so that the love with which You loved Me may be"—"in them, and I in them." The concluding statement of the entire prayer appropriately reflects the presence of Yeshua dwelling permanently in believers after His Resurrection and Second Coming.
We talked before about the phrase, "those you have given me" being used in this prayer seven times. The number seven speaks of perfection or completion.
A.W. Pink has this to say, "A careful analysis of the Prayer reveals the fact that just as the Lord urged the one petition which He made for Himself by seven pleas, so He supported the seven petitions for His people by seven pleas…It is also to be observed that in this Prayer believers are contemplated in a sevenfold relation to the world…There are seven 'gifts' referred to in this chapter: four of which are bestowed upon the Mediator, and three upon His people…" (Arthur W. Pink, Exposition of the Gospel of John,3:139-41.)
It's really not surprising to see all these sevens in our Lord's High Priestly prayer to His Father. Let me leave you with this, believer, Yeshua desires that you be with Him and the Father in heaven and behold His glory. And you will!