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John 17 Commentary

John 17 Commentary

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The greatest prayer in history in which Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and for all of us.
The greatest prayer in history in which Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and for all of us.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Mar 01, 2011
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Written and edited by Glenn Pease
As in most of my commentaries, I have collected the comments of many other authors, andI have added to my own comments those that add insight and unique ways of expressingthose insights. One of the goals is to have all of these comments in one place, thus, making iteasier and a time saver for the Bible student to have this information at his or herfingertips. I have edited much, for some messages by Spurgeon and Pink and others arevery long, and so I have quoted just some of the paragraphs that sum up their comments.For complete messages just type their name into a search engine and you can read the fullcontent. Of all the authors I have read there is no doubt that Spurgeon has the mostpowerful and delightful comments, but his sermons are so long that I had to reduce them toa few paragraphs. You need to read his many sermons on this great prayer to get the fullimpact of all the precious beauty he was able to bring forth for our edification. If I havequoted someone who does not wish to be quoted in this commentary, please let me knowand I will delete it. Sometimes the author is not noted, for their names were not includedwith their comments, or I have misplaced their names. If I have not given credit to anyone'scomments, and you recognize the author, please let me know and I will add their name totheir comments. Some of my sources are old and filled with many spelling errors. I havecorrected a great many, but there are still many not corrected. This is not a finished work,and so if I find new ideas and worthy comments, I will add them, and if you havesomething that could increase the value of this commentary, please email it to me, and Iwill consider adding it. My email is glenn_p86@yahoo.com
1. We know that Jesus was a great man of prayer, but it is surprising how few of hisprayers are given to us in the Gospels. Prayer is usually a private matter, and so most of hisprayers are not recorded for that reason. Of the few that we are told about this one in John17 is the longest and most revealing. It has been called His High Priestly Prayer” “Theinner sanctuary of the Gospels” and “The Incomparable Prayer.” There are longer prayers
of Jesus, but they are not recorded. As someone pointed out, "It wasn't his longest everbecause in Luke 6:12 we are told that Jesus prayed all night before he chose his apostles,and there were probably other times when he prayed at length." Only two other prayers of Jesus are recorded by John, and they are:At the tomb of his friend, Lazareth, Jesus looked up and said, "Father, I thank you thatyou have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of thepeople standing here, that they may believe that you sent me" (John 11:41-42).Jesus was making his triumphal entry into Jerusalem when he prayed, "ow my heart istroubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour
? o, it was for this veryreason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name" (John 12:27-28).2. The Gospel of Matthew only has this one prayer of Jesus: "On the cross, we hear thefirst of three prayers: "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:46).This cry reflects the desperation Jesus experienced when bearing the sins of the world."3. Dr. Luke gives us the most with his four:In Jesus
thanksgiving to the Father, he said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven andearth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed themto little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have beencommitted to me by my Father. o one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no oneknows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him"(Luke 10:21-22
).On the Mount of Olives, Jesus said, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yetnot my will, but yours be done" (Luke 22:42).Jesus prayed for those who had crucified him: "Father, forgive them, for they do not knowwhat they are doing" (Luke 23:34).His final prayer was expressed in a loud voice: "Father, into your hands I commit myspirit" (Luke 23:46).4. The scarcity of prayers of Jesus makes this long prayer all the more special, for there isnothing like it in all the Bible. It is truly the Lord's Prayer, for it was his personally, andwhat is called the Lord's Prayer is really the Disciples Prayer, for it is meant for us, and allbelievers, and not as a personal prayer of Jesus. We can all pray the Lord's prayer, butnobody but Jesus can pray this prayer, for nobody but Jesus could make the requests thathe makes. It is the most exclusive prayer in the Bible, and is the only prayer that can beprayed by nobody else but the eternal Son of God, and now having taken on a humannature. Since nobody else in history qualifies, this makes it absolutely the Lord's Prayer.Pink wrote, "In this wonderful prayer there is a solemnity and elevation of thought, acondensed power of expression, and a comprehensiveness of meaning, which have affectedthe minds and drawn out the hearts of the most devoted of God’s children to a degree thatfew portions of Scripture have done."
4B. Wiersbe, “"Whether He prayed it in the Upper Room or en route to the Garden, thismuch is sure: it is the greatest prayer ever prayed on earth and the greatest prayerrecorded anywhere in Scripture. John 17 is certainly the 'holy of holies' of the Gospelrecord, and we must approach this chapter in a spirit of humility and worship.”4. S. Lewis Johnson, “There is a quaint remark by one of the old Scottish preachers.  Trailwas his name and he said, "The best sermon that was ever preached in our world wasfollowed by the best prayer that was ever offered up in it."   “P.T. Forsythe once said that,"Thou Jesus Christ prayed for the disciples he never prayed with them.  He never invitedthem to a prayer meeting.  He never said, 'Let's have a prayer meeting and pray to ourFather.'"  That was something that was unique about our Lord.  He never prayed withthem although he prayed for them.  He gave them the so-called Lord's Prayer, but actuallyhe never prayed the Lord's Prayer.  One of my friends, a Bible teacher, likes to entitle hissermon on the so-called Lord's Prayer "The Prayer our Lord Did ot Pray."  Well,actually he could have entitled it also, "The Prayer our Lord Could ot Pray" for in it ithas room for the confession of our debts or the confession of our sins.Marcus Reinsford, a great student of the Bible said with reference to John 17 that it is"emphatically the Lord's Prayer".  So when we come to John 17 the prayer that is calledthe high priestly prayer of our Lord, although it more than that, we come to a prayer thatis emphatically the Lord's prayer.  It therefore is a very valuable thing for us.  It is valuablefirst of all because it gives us an example of the method of our Lord.  The disciples had saidto him, "Lord, teach us to pray."  Evidently they had seen him pray and they evidently hadheard things that he said and they saw things that were accomplished through prayer.  Andso they asked him, "Lord, teach us to pray."  Well, this is one of the richest lessons that ourLord has given in prayer, his own prayer time.  It also is an illustration of spiritualpedagogy; the teacher, the lecturer, the professor of the preceding chapters now becomesthe intercessor.  And of course, that is the proper way to teach.  We should teach and weshould accompany our teaching with prayer.  Even when we are witnessing, just giving thesimple Gospel to our friends, or neighbors, or relatives, we should accompany that withintercession.  That's a great illustration for us.  And then of course, in the prayer itself wehave a tremendous incentive to prayer.  It's encouragement for us that we have this -- whatsomeone has called the holy place of the Bible; to tell out our desires across all mystery, andto bring us to the acknowledgement of our need, and to give us some idea of how we oughtto approach him.”5. Here are some things others have said concerning this special prayer. The unknowncollector of these comments begins by writing, "In John 17 the veil is drawn aside, and weare admitted with our great High Priest into "the holiest of all." Here we approach thesecret place of the tabernacle of the Most High, therefore it behoves us to put off our shoesfrom off our feet, listening with humble, reverent and prepared hearts, for the placewhereon we now stand is indeed holy ground."6. "This is truly, beyond measure, a warm and hearty prayer. He opens the depths of Hisheart, both in reference to us and to His Father, and He pours them all out. It sounds sohonest, so simple; it is so deep, so rich, so wide, no one can fathom it" (Martin Luther).

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