John 17:6–19: The Sanctification of Jesus
In the previous chapter, we began exploring the nature of Jesus’ prayer in John 17. We call this the High Priestly Prayer because Jesus is not offering general prayers and petitions to his Father; rather, he is interceding for the full acceptance of his sacrifice. In John 17:1–5, Jesus prayed for his Father to glorify him and to give eternal life to his people in light of what he was about to do at the cross. In this next major section in the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus intercedes explicitly for his disciples.
To begin, Jesus testifies that he has begun the work of setting apart the Father’s people up to this point. Then, on that basis, Jesus he prays that the Father will both safeguard and sanctify his disciples for the success of the mission that he is sending them to accomplish. Jesus is not praying for the mere survival of his people, but for the flourishing of his people as they bear witness to Jesus in a hostile and evil world. In John 17:6–19, Jesus intercedes for the sanctity of his people.
1. What did Jesus do during his earthly ministry in relation to his disciples? How did he teach them? What did he accomplish for them in the short amount of time for his public ministry before his death? Why is Jesus so careful to recount all that he has done for his Father? How does what Jesus has already done affect the success of his intercession?
2. Do we belong to the Father or to the Son? Do we belong to both? In what sense? What does that tell us about the love of God for us? How do we see that love of God played out in the mission of Jesus in the world?
3. What fears and threats have a tendency to gain a foothold of fear in your life? What comfort can you draw from the fact that Jesus intercedes for you, asking the Father to safeguard you in this wicked world?
4. What does sanctification mean? Why does God need to sanctify us in order to use us? How does your sanctification relate to the good works that Jesus calls you to do?