THE 89 DAY GOSPEL CHALLENGE
DAY EIGHTY-FIVE MARK SEVENTEEN
Jesus was a man of prayer. He prayed as an example to His disciples and others. He was always in contact with the Father but His prayer life emphasized an intimate relationship within the Trinity.
Jesus prayed at crucial times when facing incredible situations. He prayed at the tomb of Lazarus just before He raised Him from the dead (John 11:41,41). He prayed and blessed the fish and the bread just before feeding the 5000 (John 6:11). He prayed in Gethsemane just before His arrest (Matthew 26:36-46) and He prayed from the cross (Luke 23:34).
Upon observing Jesus’ habit of prayer, the disciples asked Him to teach them how to pray (Luke 11:1). Jesus responded and taught them using a model for prayer we commonly call “The Lord’s Prayer.”
The prayer Jesus prayed in John 17 is really “the Lord’s Prayer.” It is often called “Jesus High Priestly Prayer” and it foreshadows His ministry as our High Priest. It covers the entire chapter and is the longest pray prayed by Jesus in the Bible. It followed Jesus warning to the disciples to expect persecution. “In the world, you will have tribulation. But be happy because I have overcome the world.” He followed this troubling news with prayer.
1. Jesus Prayed for Himself (v. 1-5)
“The hour has come.” The statement is pregnant with consequences. It was the hour that had been planned before the foundations of the earth were laid. It was the hour Jesus had anticipated since His entry into the world via the Virgin Birth. It was the hour Jesus expected when He was baptized by John and began His public ministry. It was the hour John the Baptist predicted when he pointed at Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God.”
Jesus did not withdraw from it. He welcomed it because He understood it was that “hour” when He would redeem the world.
He does not pray for deliverance from that hour but for strength and success for His mission. Notice the petitions Jesus prayed for Himself.
1) “Father, glorify Me so that I can glorify You.” To glorify, according to Webster, means “to bring praise and worship; to elevate to celestial glory; to light up brilliantly.” Jesus predicted, “If I am lifted up, I will draw all men to Me.” God would “brilliantly light up His cross” to draw all humankind to it (v. 1).
2) Jesus was given authority over all men to be saved. That was the purpose of His sacrifice – to open the door to redemption (v. 2).
3) He declared the source of salvation. That all may know the Father by knowing the Son (v. 3).
4) He had finished the work of the Father (v. 4)
5) Jesus prayed for the Father to restore Him to the glory He shared with the Father “before the world was” (v. 5)
2. Jesus Prayed for His Disciples (v. 6-19)
Jesus had a special relationship with the twelve. They had followed Him from the beginning. He had given them the Father’s Word and they had believed. They were facing the tragedy with Him. He had trained them and they would continue the work Jesus began. Jesus knew that the Devil would resist them in every way possible and so He prayed for His disciples.
1) Jesus prayed specifically for His disciples. “I am not praying for the world but I am praying for them. You gave them to Me and they are Yours as well” (v. 9,10)
2) He prayed for the unity. “I may that they might be one as we (Father and Son) are one” He knew the Devil would try to sow seeds of dissension and bitterness. They had to understand that they were a team (v. 11). Their task was greater and grander than any petty differences.
3) He prayed for their protection. “While I was in the world, I kept them safe. But I am leaving the world and coming to You. Father, You must keep them safe” (v. 12).
4) Jesus prayed for His joy to be fulfilled in them. Don’t let them lose their joy (v. 13). It is the Lord’s joy that makes us strong.
5) “The world hates them as it hated Me. I am not asking You to take them out of the world but keep them from the “Evil One.” Don’t let the Devil defeat them. Jesus knew they no longer belonged to the world. (v. 14-16)
6) Jesus prayed for them to be sanctified by God’s truth. Set them apart to serve you. “I have set Myself apart for this mission so they might be set apart for your Truth” (v. (17-19)
3. Jesus Prayed for All Believers (v. 20-26)
Jesus said He was not just praying for His disciples only but for all who would be His disciples in the future. He prayed that others will come to know God by knowing Him and believing that God sent Him. He was talking about the Gospel being preached the world. He was praying for us.
This was a preview of Jesus ministry as our High Priest. Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us we have a great High Priest that has passed into heaven, Jesus, the Son of God. He understands our weaknesses because He was wrapped in our flesh and He experienced every temptation we face except He never sinned. He can empathize with us. He understands what we go through and He prays for us.
We can enter before His throne and know we will be not be turned away. He is always there to provide grace and compassion when we need it the most.
He battles the Devil on our behalf. When we are lured into sin, He stands as our Advocate (I John 2:1) and declares that Satan has no claim on us because we have been washed in the blood of the Lamb. He is our vigilant Intercessor Who is at the right hand of the Father and prays for us diligently (Romans 8:34). He is alive and active on our behalf.
Bill Gaither wrote the lyrics:
And He’s ever interceding, to the Father for His children;
Yes, He’s ever interceding, to the Father for His own;
Through Him you can reach the Father, So, bring Him all your heavy burdens;
Yes, for you He’s interceding, So, come boldly to the throne.
Our journey together is almost over. I pray it has been a blessing to you who have chosen to accept the challenge. Four more days to go! Have a blessed day!
Love to all!