Read John 17:1-12
Now Jesus directs his attention to his Father in prayer. It is not clear whether the disciples heard this prayer or whether Jesus told them about it after the resurrection. But what a learning experience it must have been for them to know what Jesus’ greatest concerns were just before he died.
Jesus focuses on two things: returning to the Father and making sure the disciples have eternal life. How does Jesus define eternal life in this passage? How does this understanding of eternal life encourage you to deepen your knowledge of the Father and the Son?
How did Jesus bring glory to the Father? What work has God given you to do? How can you bring glory to God through it, whether it is studies, career, family, service to the church, or relationships with friends and colleagues?
After praying for himself in verses 1-5, Jesus turns his attention to the needs of the disciples. Only a few minutes earlier Jesus had predicted that the disciples would desert him; now he is reminding his Father in heaven that they:
- belong to Jesus (vs 6)
- have obeyed God’s word (vs 6)
- know the relationship between the Father and the Son (vs 7)
- have accepted Jesus’ words (vs 8)
- have believed God sent him (vs 8)
- have brought glory to Jesus (vs 10)
He sounds proud of them!
And now, as though it might be dangerous to rest on past successes, he prays for their protection in verses 11 and 12. What kind of protection do you think the disciples need? What is the reason for God protecting them? Why is unity among believers so important? Think of ways in which God has protected your fellowship in order to preserve unity.
Close your eyes and imagine Jesus telling God the Father how proud he is of you and how important it is that he protect you from Satan’s attacks. Ask him to protect your church, fellowship, or small group from things that would disrupt your unity in Christ.