Jesus Prays for His Disciples – John 17:6-19

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Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
April 28, 2019

Jesus Prays for His Disciples
John 17:6-19


Most people are very respectful of prayer. If you ask someone if you can pray for them, it will be the rare individual that will not gladly accept your offer. Some years ago one of our missionaries actually used this as a means of outreach into the business community around him. He would go into the business, and after introducing himself, he would explain that he was a Christian and felt that God would like him to pray for the people in his community and then simply asked if there were any specific things he could pray about for them. He developed a lot of good relationships through this and was able to share the gospel with many of them when he went back to see how his prayers were answered. That is still a good idea for reaching people in our own community simply because people like to be prayed for. How much more would it mean to find out that Jesus Christ Himself was praying for them.

In our passage for study this morning, the disciples find themselves in exactly that position. Jesus is praying for them. Turn to John 17:6.

Remember that the setting for this prayer is in the Upper Room where Jesus and the disciples had celebrated the Passover. (See: The Final Passover, Part 1). After Judas had left to betray the Lord, Jesus had instituted Communion using elements from the Passover meal, and then He spoke to the remaining disciples about many of the things that were about to take place. (See The Final Passover, Part 2). He sought to comfort them with His promise of going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house and that He would return to take them there. (See: The Promise of Heaven). He warned them that they would be persecuted by the world because of Him, but also reassured them with explaining the coming of the Holy Spirit and the ministry that He would have among them.(See: Comfort for Those Who Believe, Part 1 & Part 2, Abiding in Christ, Loving One Another, Persecuted by the World, The Ministry of the Holy Spirit & Present Sorrow; Future Joy)

John 17 records Jesus’ prayer that concluded this time of instruction. As we saw last week, Jesus began by praying for the Father to glorify the Son so that He in turn might glorify the Father. All this would take place as Jesus fulfilled the remaining aspects of the redemption plan and presented those who would be saved to the Father, and the Father would in turn glorify the Son with a name above every name (Philippians 2:5-11). Jesus would regain the glory that He had with the Father before the world began. (See: Jesus Prays for His Glory).

John 17:6-19. Jesus transitions the focus and begins to pray for His disciples saying, “I manifested Thy name to the men whom Thou gavest Me out of the world; Thine they were, and Thou gavest them to Me, and they have kept Thy word. 7 “Now they have come to know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee; 8 for the words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them; and they received [them,] and truly understood that I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me. 9 “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine; 10 and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11 “And I am no more in the world; and [yet] they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, [the name] which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We [are.] 12 “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them, and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 “But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14 “I have given them Thy word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 “I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil [one.] 16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 “Sanctify them in the truth; Thy word is truth. 18 “As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”

What God Has Done for the Disciples – John 17:6-8

In the first few verses of this section of the prayer, Jesus makes a transition from praying for His glory to praying for His disciples. The transition is a natural one because Jesus’ glory and the glory that He would bring to the Father was directly related to His bringing about the redemption of people who would then enter into eternal life. That was the work that Jesus was sent to earth to accomplish. Remember that I pointed out last week that eternal life was about quality of life and not quantity. Everyone will exist for eternity. The righteous will be in heaven with God, and the unrighteous will be separated from God in the torment of Hell. Eternal life refers to the quality of being reconciled to the Creator by being redeemed by Christ, forgiven of your sins, and adopted in God’s family for eternity.

Jesus brought about eternal life through manifesting the Father’s name to people, giving people the Father’s word and securing their redemption and righteousness by becoming the substitute sacrifice for their sins.

Manifested His Name to Them – John 17:6

Jesus manifested the name of the Father to the disciples. The disciples are the men whom the Father gave to Jesus out of the world. We know that this is a more narrow group than all followers of Jesus because they are also the ones in verse 18 that Jesus “sends into the world.” They are the ones that become the apostles.

Jesus is the “image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), and “the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature” (Hebrews 1:3). Jesus’ own claim was that to have seen Him was to have seen the Father (John 14:9). The many miracles Jesus did also manifested the Father because they were things only God could do. Jesus demonstrated authority over sin, disease, demons, nature and even death all to the glory and majesty of the Father (John 14:11). Peter, James and John even had a glimpse of this glory when Jesus was transfigured before them in Matthew 17. Jesus manifested the name of the Father to the disciples.

Jesus adds here again at the end of verse 6 that the disciples were a gift from the Father to the Son. I pointed this out last week that every saved person is a love gift from the Father to the Son who does the work of redemption and in return gives everything back to the Father. All this was promised and confirmed between God the Father and God the Son before the world was created and time began. The redeemed are part of an eternal covenant demonstrating the love between these two members of the Godhead.

Given His Word to Them – John 17:7-8

Jesus states at the end of verse 6 that the disciples had kept the Father’s word. In verses 7 & 8 He adds that the basis for this was that they had come to believe that He was sent from the Father, for Jesus had given them all the words the Father had given Him. Again we find the harmony and cooperation that exists within the triune Godhead. Jesus freely submits Himself to the Father’s will and is the vessel for all that the Father desired them to know. So it is not just Jesus’ actions that manifest the Father, but the very words that He spoke as well, for they too were from the Father.

Request to Keep the Disciples in God’s Name – John 17:9-13

Limited Request – John 17:9-10

The request that Jesus was making to the Father was limited. It would not include the world, but only those whom the Father had given to Jesus. In this particular section of Scripture, those Jesus is referring to specifically are His disciples that were with Him in the Upper Room. Jesus will pray for the rest of us later, but at this point Jesus is specifically praying on behalf of these men that had followed Him for the previous three years and believed that Jesus came from the Father (vs. 8). Jesus makes it clear at the end of verse 9 that the reason for this limitation is that the disciples are the ones that belong to the Father that were given to Him. The disciples did not belong to the Son alone, but also the Father. Jesus’ request will not be for Himself alone, but also for the glory of the Father.

Jesus’ comment in verse 10 speaks of His deity and equality with the Father. There is a mutual ownership. What belongs to the Son also belongs to the Father, and what belongs to the Father also belongs to the Son. This is another verse that proves the deity of Jesus. Only someone who is God Himself can claim joint ownership of all things with God the Father. While Jesus is human, He is also God the Son, and so He can rightly make this claim.

There are many groups that deny Jesus’ deity, but they do so in contradiction to Jesus’ own claims about Himself. They have a different Jesus of their own making. Only the Biblical Jesus can save a person from their sins. A false Jesus is a false hope. That is the great tragedy of the cults. They teach people to hope in a false Jesus, and their anguish will be great when they stand before the true Jesus in judgment. There will be great agony for those that hear Jesus say to them, “I never knew you; Depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness” (Matthew 7:23). We have the truth about Jesus. We must be diligent in declaring the truth to others.

Need for the Request – John 17:11-12

The need for the request is explained in verse 11 & 12. Jesus was departing from this world, but the disciples would be left in it. Jesus was returning to the Father and would no longer be there to guard and keep them. Jesus asks the Father to keep them that they might be one just as the Father and Son are one. Note that Jesus addresses His request here to the “Holy Father.” Jesus brings out the nature of the Father as being holy which is in complete contrast to the wicked world that the disciples would be left in.

The request itself is that they be kept in “Thy name.” Jesus had been keeping them “in Thy name which Thou hast given Me” (vs. 12).

The idea of keeping them in the Father’s name is that they would remain in all that pertains to the Father. Jesus manifested the Father by His works and by His words. The request here that the disciples would also be guarded that they might live in keeping with the words of the Father which Jesus had given to them. The disciples would in that way manifest the Father as well as through the words of the Father given to them by Jesus and the Holy Spirit which they would repeat.

Again, the purpose of this is that they might be one, even as the Father and the Son are one. This is not the idea of unity among the many denominations of Christianity. The prayer here is on behalf of the disciples. Jesus would pray for the unity of those that would follow later in verse 21. The oneness prayed for here is unity among the disciples in their stand for Jesus and against the world. They would need to remain united in both their love for one another and proclamation of the truth. But there is actually a greater sense of unity here than mere cooperation and like-mindedness of doctrine. It speaks of the same unity that exists between the Father and the Son. There is a sense of unity of essence. Paul gives some explanation to this Philippians 2:2 saying that he desired them to be “of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose.” Because of their unity with Christ, they would have unity with one another.

Jesus had kept them guarded from the world and unified them because He had been with them. Jesus’ care for the disciples resulted in none of them perishing but Judas, who is referred to here as “the son of perdition.” This is an abbreviated expression and does not mean in anyway that Jesus somehow failed. The name “son of perdition” is a Semitism referring to someone who is utterly lost and designated to perdition or destruction. Jesus points out that this was according to prophecy – probably Psalm 41:9. There had to be a betrayer. Judas was completely responsible for his own actions. Judas’ perishing was not an instance of defeat of God’s eternal plan, but rather in fulfilment of it.

Result of the Request – John 17:13

The result of the Jesus’ request would be the disciples having Jesus’ joy full in them. Jesus would return to the Father, but He had spoken God’s word in full to the disciples resulting in their joy. They now understood who Jesus was. They believed His promises to them. They even had the comfort of hearing Him pray on their behalf and would have confidence that God the Father would fulfill Jesus’ request on their behalf. Yet in the midst of their sorrow at Jesus’ departure and knowing that they would face tribulation because the world would hate them, they could still have joy for the Father would fulfill Jesus’ request to guard them and keep them in His name.

Request to Keep the Disciples from the Evil One – John 17:14-16

The disciples would have troubles and trials in the future to be sure, as pointed out in verse 14. The world would hate them because they would follow the Father’s word which Jesus gave to them. They would no longer be of the world, but instead they would be like Jesus who was not of this evil world’s system, and the world hates those who are not part of it.

There are certainly times when we long to have the difficulties of this life behind us and to be with Jesus, but what would happen if every Christian was removed right after they were saved? Who then would evangelize and make disciples? Who would go to those who have never heard and tell them the gospel of Jesus Christ? Who would teach people Jesus’ commandments and how to live according to them? ? God’s plan is for people to proclaim the gospel message and disciples others to become followers of Jesus.

The disciples were being left in an evil world, but He was doing so for a purpose. Jesus had already told them back in John 14:12 that they would do greater works than He. In John 15:16 He told them that they were chosen to bear much fruit for Him. In John 15:27 Jesus told them that they were to bear witness of Him just as the Holy Spirit would do.

As much as we may want to avoid the trials of this life, we must remember that God also has a plan for us. He desires to use you for eternal purposes, and if you will remain faithful to Him, He will. He did that with the disciples. God’s plan to protect them was not by removing them from the world, but by keeping them from the evil one who is in the world. It is no different today. Just as Jesus was not of this world, neither were the disciples or those who are Jesus’ followers today. Upon salvation God transfers you from the “domain of darkness,” which is this world, “to the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13).

Request to Sanctify the Disciples – John 17:16-19

Separated from the World – John 17:16

Jesus states directly in verse 16 that “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” They would remain in the world, yet be separated from the world because the essence of their being, their character and nature, were no longer of the world. They now belonged to Christ, and as believers and followers of Him, they were being conformed into His image. That is still true of Christians in our own day. Please understand that salvation is primarily a change in relationship with the Creator. Instead of being estranged from God as disobedient and rebellious creatures who are under His just condemnation of wrath, Christians are transferred into His family and adopted as His children. He changes out nature from being slaves of sin into being slaves of righteousness (Romans 6). We become aliens and strangers to the very world into which we were born (1 Peter 2:11) for our citizenship is no longer here, but in heaven (Philippians 3:20).

The idea of being separated from the world is not so much a distancing ourselves from the world as it is drawing close to God. Christians are different from the world not because of running away from the world, but because we are following Jesus which puts us on a different path of life from the worldly. It is a matter of focus. We are not looking behind to see what we must avoid, but rather we have our

eyes are fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, and see where He wants us to go. To use a farming analogy, you plow a straight line when you focus on where you want to go. If you are looking behind, you will plow a crooked path. The usual word used to describe this process of being separated to God from the world is sanctification, and that is what Jesus prays about in verse 17.

Sanctified in Truth – John 17:17

Jesus asks the Father to sanctify the disciples in truth. I am not sure we can emphasize the importance of truth enough. This may be the information age, but much of that information is either blatantly false or it is truth mixed with error, and truth mixed with error is also false. While our society seems to have an attitude that truth is not something to be overly concerned about, God is very concerned about it. He desires truth to be in the innermost being of a person (Psalm 51:6). Those who worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We are to walk in the truth (Psalm 86:11) and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:25). Those who suppress the truth in unrighteousness will find themselves under the wrath of God (Romans 1:18). Revelation 21 clearly states that no liars will be in heaven and they will instead be cast into the lake of eternal fire. Even those who mix truth and error in ignorance will find themselves alienated from God. Matthew 7 warns about people who do all sorts of things in Jesus’ name, but because they fail to understand the truth and obey Him, they will be told to depart from Him. Truth is so important to God that Jesus states that He is the truth (John 14:6) and the Holy Spirit is given the name, “The Spirit of Truth.”

Jesus asks God to sanctify the disciples in truth for truth will cause sanctification in those that desire to follow God. It will separate people from their sinful practices. A person pursuing righteousness will change to match the truth even if its contrary to the practices of their own culture. Truth will win out. However, those who do not desire to follow God will suppress the truth and mix it with their own thoughts so they can continue to do what they want. Humans have an incredible capacity to justify themselves or shift the blame elsewhere.

How important is the truth to you? Yes, we do live in an age when a large portion of our society no longer believe they can know the truth. Their creed is that the only absolute is that there are no absolutes. In the post-modern world a person can hold two contradictory points at the same time and not even recognize the incongruity in it. Truth has become relative in our day, and yet this is nothing new. Pilate asked that question nearly 2,000 years ago – “What is truth?” (John 18:38). But the truth can be known and it will sanctify us, guide us and set us free to live in righteousness (John 8:32; 17:17). Truth is that which is in keeping with ultimate reality. It is found in God’s word as Jesus states here, “Thy Word is truth.”

Again, back in John 14:6 Jesus said that He was the way, the truth and the life because He is the full revelation of the Father. All that He said was from the Father. All that He did was at the direction of the Father. Jesus is the revelation and teacher of ultimate reality. He is the embodiment of truth.

But the ministry of truth would not end with Jesus’ departure. The statement here that “Thy Word is truth” applies to all of Scripture for 16 all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; 17 that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). As we have seen earlier, the Holy Spirit would continue the ministry that Jesus began with the disciples. The Holy Spirit would also disclose what the Father said and lead the disciples into all truth (John 16:13). The New Testament would also be truth because it would be God’s Word.

The Bible is truth. It makes no claim to speak on every subject, but it is sufficient itself for everything pertaining to life and godliness. The Bible is not a text book on every subject, but any subject it comments upon even in the most minor way is truth, including history and science. It is inerrant and infallible. By that I mean that it does not have any errors on any issue to which speaks to and it will not lead anyone astray.

Many churches no longer believe that and follow the ideas of such things as psychology and marketing as being superior. They add to the Bible. They think the ideas of an atheistic or agnostic scientist or historian are more accurate than the Scriptures. They discount what the Bible says as being mythological. They deny that is it true.

Such folks often think of themselves as intellectually superior and may think they are pursuing the truth. The sad reality is that they deny the truth and replace it with error. They mix what is true with what is false. They become the judge of what is real and what is myth, what should be accepted and what should be discarded. They put themselves in the position to judge God and seek to correct what He has said. That is foolishness. As Paul commented in Romans 3:4, “let God be found true though every man be found a liar.” God judges man, not the other way around. The foolishness of God is wiser than men (1 Corinthians 1:25). When people deny things like the Creation occurring in 7 days or the miracles recorded in the Bible, they only reveal that their god is very small and weak. There is nothing impossible with the God who has revealed Himself in the Scriptures (Luke 1:37). Tragically, such false teachers lead multitudes astray from the truth, yet the multitudes are still responsible for their failure to pursue truth and the praise of God instead of being lazy or fearing criticism seeking the approval of men instead of the approval of God (John 12:43).

Jesus prayed that the disciples would be sanctified in truth and then stated clearly that the Father’s word was truth. That prayer was answered and the result was that the disciples turned the world upside down and left a record of God’s word in the Bible. We have His word. We can also be sanctified in truth.

As I already pointed out from 2 Timothy 3:16, the Bible is sufficient “for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” It teaches us the path of life on which we should walk. It warns us when we get off the path. It tells how to get back on that path and how to stay on it and not stray in the future. It equips those that want to follow God to do the good works God has set before them.

The greater question here for you personally is what is your interaction with the Bible. Do you know it? Are you studying it? Are you finding its practical application in your life? Are you living according to it and in that way drawing closer to God? The Bible is God’s Word. It is truth. What are you doing with it?

Sent on a Mission – John 17:18

The purpose of this sanctification was so that the disciples would be able to accomplish the mission Jesus was going to send them on. “As Thou didst send me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” They would be commissioned and empowered to accomplish God’s will in the world. They would go out by Jesus’ authority. They would complete the tasks that He gave them for they would be separated from the world unto Him.

A Sanctified Savior – John 17:19

Jesus testifies in verse 19 that He sanctified Himself so that the disciples would be sanctified in truth. Jesus had always lived separated unto God and the final act of that would be played out that night and the next day. Jesus’ complete commitment to doing the Father’s will would result in Him willingly offering Himself as the substitute sacrifice for the sin of man. It would be that sacrifice that would enable the disciples to be made righteous before God through faith in Jesus. They would then be separated unto God. That would not have been possible without Jesus’ sanctification of Himself.

This part of Jesus’ prayer was on behalf of the disciples, but as we shall see next week, many of these same elements would be His prayer for us who have followed Jesus in our own time. Several of the statements that Jesus made in praying for His disciples are truths that also apply to us. We are not of this world and so the world will hate us. God’s Word is truth and we are to be sanctified in it. Jesus sacrifice of Himself allows us to be sanctified in the truth. How have you been responding to these truths?

Sermon Notes – 4/28/2019
Jesus Prays for His Disciples – John 17:6-19


Most people are respectful of ______________ and few will object if you offer to pray for them

After Jesus finishes the Upper Room discourse with His disciples He begins His High ____________Prayer

John 17:6-19

What God Has Done for the Disciples – John 17:6-8

Jesus transitions from praying for His glory to praying for His _____________ who are part of that glory

Everyone will exist for eternity – Eternal life refers being reconciled with the _________and living with Him

Manifested His Name to Them – John 17:6

This is specifically the eleven disciples who became the _______________ which the Father gave to Jesus

Given His Word to Them – John 17:7-8

They kept the Father’s word because Jesus gave them to them & they ______________

Each person of the triune Godhead works in perfect _____________ with each other

Request to Keep the Disciples in God’s Name – John 17:9-13

Limited Request – John 17:9-10

Jesus’ request to the Father was ___________ to only those the Father had given to Him

Verse 10 – there is ______________ ownership between the Father and the Son

Those that reject Jesus’ deity do so in contradiction to Jesus’ claims – they have a _________ Jesus

Need for the Request – John 17:11-12

Jesus makes His request because He was departing this world but the disciples would be _________ in it

Being kept in “Thy name” refers to ____________in all that pertains to the Father in order to manifest Him

He prays for them to be _________even as the Father and Son are unified being one in thought and purpose

He kept all of them except the “son of perdition” who fulfilled ____________ (Psalm 41:9) and perished

Result of the Request – John 17:13

Jesus had spoken God’s word in full to the disciples resulting in them having His _________ in them

Request to Keep the Disciples from the Evil One – John 17:14-16

The world would _________ them because they would follow the Father’s word which Jesus gave to them

Though longing to be with Jesus and away from the troubles of this world, God’s plan is to use us ________

God will use you for eternal purposes if you will be _________to Him – and He will protect you from Satan

Request to Sanctify the Disciples – John 17:16-19

Separated from the World – John 17:16

They would remain in the world, but would be _____________from it due to a changed character and nature

Salvation is a changed relationship with God – from estranged & condemned to reconciled & ____________

Being separate from the world is the result of ____________ Jesus – which is a different path of life

Sanctified in Truth – John 17:17

Truth is no longer important in a post-modern society, but it is ________________ important to God

___________ is so important to God that Jesus is called the truth and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth

The pursuit of truth and righteousness go hand in hand, but those rejecting God ____________ both

Truth is that which is in keeping with ultimate _______- and truth is knowable through Jesus & God’s word

The _____is truth – inerrant & infallible on everything to which it speaks and sufficient for life & godliness

Denial of Scripture replaces God’s truth with the ________of finite and fallible human wisdom – foolishness

Jesus’ prayer was answered & the _____enabled the disciples to turn the world upside down with the gospel

________teaches the path of life, reproves when you get off, corrects you get back on, & trains to stay on it

Sent on a Mission – John 17:18

The purpose of sanctification was so the disciples could accomplish the ___________Jesus was giving them

A Sanctified Savior – John 17:19

Jesus had always lived separated unto God and that allowed the disciples to know the truth & be _________

This prayer was specifically for the ____________, but many elements will also apply to us in our day

Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Count how many times the word “Father” is used 2) Talk with your parents about the relationship between Jesus and God the Father

Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What is the context of John 17:6-19? What was Jesus’ prayer concerning Himself? What part do redeemed humans play in the fulfilling of that prayer? How did Jesus manifest the name of the Father to the disciples? How did these men become Jesus’ disciples? What did the disciples believe about Jesus & why did they believe it? What does this passage reveal about the nature of Jesus? His deity? What is the nature of the unity that Jesus prays for in verse 11? How did Jesus guard the disciples? Why did the “son of perdition” perish? Why does the world hate Christians? Why does Jesus leave the disciples in the world instead of having them depart with Him? What did Jesus mean that He wanted the disciples to be sanctified in truth? What is truth? How can you know the truth? How would that be accomplished? What is the nature of the scriptures? How does Jesus sanctifying Himself help the disciples in becoming sanctified? How does Jesus’ pray for His disciples affect your own life?

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