Not only has Jesus provided a way for us to be reconciled to the Father, but He has also provided all that we need to be unified in love and sanctified for the work of making and maturing disciples of Jesus Christ until His return. Jesus is coming again in His glory.
In John 17 we have recorded for us what is commonly known as Jesus’ high priestly prayer. The purpose of this article is to see the priorities of Jesus in His prayer so that we can be sanctified by the truth (Jn. 17:17), unified based on the truth (Jn. 17:20, 21), and that we would love based on the truth concerning the Father and Son (Jn. 17:26).
Jesus Prioritises His Relationship With God As Father
Jesus begins His prayer by calling God His Father (Jn. 17:1). In John 5:18, the Jews wanted Jesus killed because they recognized that when Jesus calls God His Father, He is claiming to be God. However, in John 17:1 Jesus’ use of the word “Father” exhibits His relationship with God. In other texts like Matthew 6:9, Jesus teaches His followers to call God as Father. Thus, Jesus teaches us that our basis for prayer is the functional relationship that people have with the true God of the universe.
Most people view God as a distant cosmic power who sits in heaven and wields His might. Therefore, when they approach God, it is with great fear and trepidation of being destroyed by this cosmic power. They seek to appease Him with all their good works so that He would look favourably upon them and give them the desires of their heart. It is important for believers to remember that God is, in fact, omnipotent and to be revered.
However, when believers approach God, they do so because of their relationship with God as their Father. Believers are beloved children of Almighty God. Their relationship with God is unlike the consumerism of the day. It is a loving Father who kindly gives His children all that they need for their survival and growth when they approach Him in prayer.
Jesus Prioritises The Will of The Father
Consider the context of John 17. Jesus prays right after addressing His disciples and telling them that through Him they now have true peace amidst tribulation in John 16. Jesus realizes that it is His cross-work, which He is about to embark upon, which will bring true peace amidst tribulation for his disciples.
The word translated “tribulation” in John 16:33 is the word thlipsis which is sometimes used for eschatological tribulation, but the combination of words used here refers to impending persecution that comes in believers lives from external sources. The two other places that this same word combination is used is 1 Corinthians 7:28, in which Paul addresses the “distress” or “burden” that marriage brings and Revelation 2:10, in which the writer is prophesying that the believers in Smyrna will be thrown in jail for the sake of their faith.