"THE GOSPEL OF JOHN" The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed (17:1-26) INTRODUCTION 1. "Some brethren pray by the yard; but true prayer is measured by weight, and not by length." - Charles Spurgeon 2. This statement is true, for the greatest prayer ever prayed is recorded in Jn 17... a. It takes about six minutes to reverently read it aloud b. There may not be much length, but there is certainly a great depth and weight! 3. Though there are approximately 650 prayers recorded in the Bible... a. Not one of them can match our Lord's "High Priestly Prayer" in Jn 17 b. Nor can any prayer recorded outside the Bible [What is it about this prayer that makes it so great? At least four reasons can be given. From Jn 17:1 we learn it is great because of...] I. THE PERSON WHO OFFERED THE PRAYER A. JESUS, REVEALED IN THIS GOSPEL AS... 1. He who was with God in the beginning - Jn 1:1 3. He who was God - Jn 1:1 4. He who was in the beginning with God - Jn 1:2 5. He who was the Creator of all things - Jn 1:3 6. He was the light of men - Jn 1:4 7. He who became flesh and dwelt among men - Jn 1:14 B. JESUS, PROCLAIMED IN THIS GOSPEL AS... 1. The Word - Jn 1:1,14 2. The Lamb of God - Jn 1:29 3. The Son of God - Jn 1:34 4. The King of Israel - Jn 1:49 5. The promised Messiah - Jn 4:25-26 6. The Bread of Life - Jn 6:35 7. The Light Of the World - Jn 8:12 8. The Great "I Am" - Jn 8:56-58 9. The Good Shepherd - Jn 10:11 10. The Resurrection and The Life - Jn 11:25 [The prayer in Jn 17 is great because the greatest Person who ever lived is the One who offered it! It is also great because of...] II. THE OCCASION THAT DEMANDED THE PRAYER A. OCCASIONS PROVIDE WEIGHT TO WORDS... 1. Neil Armstrong said, "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." a. If he had made the statement while playing hopscotch with the neighborhood children, nobody would have paid him attention b. He made it as he stepped down from his spacecraft, the first man to walk on the moon 2. The situation helped give weight to his words! B. THE OCCASION SURROUNDING THIS PRAYER... 1. Notice His first words: "Father, the hour has come" - Jn 17:1 2. What 'hour' is that? a. His appointment with the cross - cf. Jn 16:31-32 b. A time of separation, betrayal, suffering, and crucifixion c. A time in which God's eternal purpose is about to be carried out d. A time in which Jesus is about to bear the sins of the world on the cross! [The occasion, in which Jesus knows His crucifixion is imminent, gives great weight to the words of His prayer. Whatever preoccupied the mind of Jesus at this time must be very important! The prayer was also great because of...] III. THE CONTENTS OF THE PRAYER A. THIS PRAYER DEALS WITH GREAT THEMES... 1. It takes us back and forward in time a. Back to eternity past - Jn 17:5 b. Forward into the future glory in heaven - Jn 17:24 2. It deals with glory a. The glory of the Father and the Son - Jn 17:1 b. The disciples glorifying God on earth - Jn 17:10 c. The Son giving glory to His disciples - Jn 17:22 d. The disciples beholding the glory of the Son - Jn 17:24 3. It discusses love a. The Father's love for believers - Jn 17:23 b. The Father's love for Jesus - Jn 17:23-24 B. THIS PRAYER CONTAINS GREAT PETITIONS... 1. "Glorify Me" - Jn 17:1-5 2. "Keep them" - Jn 17:6-12 3. "Sanctify them" - Jn 17:13-19 4. "That they all might be one" - Jn 17:20-23 5. "That they may behold My glory" - Jn 17:24-26 C. THIS PRAYER HAS THREE GREAT DIVISIONS... 1. Jesus prays for Himself - Jn 17:1-5 2. Jesus prays for His disciples - Jn 17:6-19 3. Jesus prays for all believers - Jn 17:20-26 [Even a brief examination of its contents reveal the greatness of this prayer, and why it is worthy of careful study. Finally, a fourth reason why this is the greatest prayer: because of...] IV. THE VICTORY REVEALED IN THE PRAYER A. THE CONCERN OF JESUS IS EVIDENT... 1. Pertaining to "the world" (used 19 times!) and the effect it can have on believers 2. A justifiable concern, for we live in a world which is: a. Deceived (blinded by Satan) - cf. 2Co 4:3-4 b. Dangerous (promises fulfillment, but will pass away) - cf. 1Jn 2:15-17 c. Defiled (defiling those who accept it) - cf. Jm 1:27 d. Divided (this is self-evident, especially in regards to religion) B. YET JESUS HAS OVERCOME THE WORLD... 1. As He told His disciples prior to this prayer - cf. Jn 16:33 2. In this prayer, the victory in Jesus is revealed! The world may be: a. Deceived, but Jesus has shown us reality, in revealing the only true God
- Jn 17:3 b. Dangerous, but Jesus provides security as we are kept in God's name
- Jn 17:11-12 c. Defiled, but Jesus provides sanctification through God's word - Jn 17:17 d. Divided, but Jesus offers unity through His glory - Jn 17:22 CONCLUSION 1. These four reasons help us appreciate why Jesus' prayer in Jn 17 has been called... a. "The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed" b. "The High Priestly Prayer" c. "The Lord's Prayer" (not just that taught by Jesus in Mt 6 and Lk 11) 2. It is indeed a great prayer... a. But it is a prayer in behalf of those who are Jesus' disciples b. If you are not a disciple, Jesus' prayer is that you first become one!
- cf. Mt 28:18-20 Then as disciples of Jesus Christ, we should do all that we can to see that "The Greatest Prayer Ever Prayed" be fulfilled in our lives...! Note: The main idea and many points for this outline came from a book by Warren Wiersbe which I believe is now out of print.