John 17

A number of themes converge in Jesus’ prayer. Among them, five key ideas that have guided us throughout John now come together with a special intensity. They are glory, life, sending, word, and name. We might say that these are issues at the heart of Jesus’ view of what God is about. All of them are linked in one way or another with John’s essential idea of revelation as salvation.


. . . glorify your son, that the son may glorify you (17.1)

I glorified you on earth, having finished the work that you have given me to do; and now glorify me, Father, in your very presence with the glory I had with you before the existence of the world (17.4-5).

All mine are yours, and yours mine, and I have been glorified in them (17.10).

The strange glory of Jesus life and death, as well as the glory received through the followers who accept him, is of a piece with the eternal glory that corresponds to his being. This is the most unexpected revelation.

Eternal Life and Sending

And this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent (17.3).

Eternal life is that God is made known in the one he sent. Whatever other definition of eternal life we would prefer, this one must take precedence.

Word and Sending

For the words that you gave me I have given to them, and they received and truly knew that I came from you, and believed that you sent me (17.8).

I have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they are not of the the world, just as I am not of the world (17.14).

Make them holy by the truth; your word is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I also sent them into the world (17.17-18).

The message reveals that Jesus is the sent one. The message makes followers to be like Jesus. Like Jesus, followers sent ones.


I revealed your name to the people you gave me from the world (17.6).

And I am no longer in the world, and they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, guard them in your name, which you have given to me, so that they may be one just as we are. For while I was with them I was guarding them in your name, which you have given me . . . (17.11-12).

The name revealed to be Jesus and the follower’s relation to the world are deeply connected.

Our Connection to All of It Together

And is it not on behalf of these alone that I ask, but also on behalf of those who believe in me through their word, so that all might be one just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, so that they also might be in us, so that the world might believe that you sent me. And I have given to them the glory that you have given me, so that they might be one just as we are one; I in them and you in me, so that they might be made completely one, so that the world might know that you sent me and you love them just as you loved me. Father, I desire that where I am those also whom you have given me should be with me, that they might see my glory, which you have given to me because you loved me from the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world did not know you, but I knew you, and these came to know that you sent me. And I made known and will make known your name, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them (17.20-26).

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