Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Intercessory Prayer, Christ, and Holy Week, Part 4
John 17 is not the first place where we have a record of Jesus praying and that for his disciples, but it is the most explicit. It is early morning before the cross, and understandably prayer is all He can do. John does not record His torment in the Garden of Gethsemane, but the prayer in John 17 refers to it obliquely.
In verses 1-5 Jesus prays for Himself, but not that the cross will be any easier or shorter. He prays about what will be accomplished by it—the glorification of the Father and of He Himself, the Son, and the ultimate salvation of those who believe. All the significances of the cross (and John Piper has written a wonderful book on this subject) must start and end with this: that God is glorified. A Christian without a God-centered world view has missed the point.
In verses 6-18 He prays for the eleven disciples, and I would imagine the other two who would come. Since it is so clearly for the disciples, we should be careful of taking any of it upon ourselves. They will be the mouthpieces to whom the gospel is entrusted now.
In the remaining verses Jesus prays for us, now, those who believe because of the apostles’ words—that they should be one, that they should know love, and that they should see His glory. Not a lot of the things we would expect Him to pray for us, which might include political power, prominence for the church, historical impact, or intellectual legacy.
Jesus is the perfect Interceder, Intercessor, Mediator; therefore the way He intercedes must be followed and understood. What He prays for us takes priority.
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