This chapter forms the conclusion of the Upper Room Discourse which has as its key theme of the glory of God. God is glorified in relationship, in the apostolic word and in God’s people.
Eternal Life (17:3)
God is glorified forever at the cross of Christ because through the death of Jesus, God makes himself known. God is glorified forever at the cross of Christ because all the resplendent magnificence of God shines out throughout all eternity through what is revealed at the cross: his love, his faithfulness in all his promises, his justice, his truth and his power as God triumphs over all his enemies.
Our God is a relational God and God is glorified when his people is brought to know the living God, into personal relationship with him, through the forgiveness of sins at the cross of Christ (v3).
The theme of God’s relationship with his people is seen throughout the Old Testament: “I will be their God, They will be my People”.
Jesus’ concern in his prayer the night before his death is that the Father should be glorified through the completion of his eternal plan (v4).
APOSTOLIC WORD (17:6-19)
Identity & Commission (17:6-10)
Jesus is praying for the apostolic band – the group of chosen, commissioned eyewitnesses whom Christ has trained and taught - who will bring the apostolic Word of God to those who will in due course believe in Christ.
They have seen Jesus and are in possession of everything that Jesus has been given by God the Father, in terms of truth concerning God.
So then, God is glorified in the apostles because his truth that has been revealed at the cross, in and through his work there, now resides in these apostolic men who are going to teach this truth.
Jesus prays concerning their identity (yours they were) and their commission (kept your word).
This apostolic band has been entrusted with the authoritative truth of the Gospel as revealed at the cross of Christ, and Jesus prays that they be kept – that they are not lost, that they are kept in the truth and united in that truth (Ephesians 4:3; 4:13) because they have been called and commissioned by Christ.
Then in v18, he speaks about their deployment.
To sanctify something is to set it apart and Jesus prays that they be set apart in and for the truth that he has revealed to them.
They are the authentic, historical court room witnesses to the truth that God has made known in and through the work of the Lord Jesus. He will keep them, enable them by the Holy Spirit, set them apart in the truth for the world and deploys them into the world to teach all the truth that God has got to say to humanity.
GOD’S PEOPLE (17:20-26)
Unique Union (17:22-23)
The works that Jesus has done to glorify God forever at the Cross is to bring about a unique union of closeness and intimacy between God and his people.
With a vertical dimension we are united with God – we come to know him, we are one with the Father and the Son: an extraordinary union between you and me and God the Father, as close as the union between Jesus and the Father.
And this unity with God produces a unity with one another. And this becomes a very powerful witness in the world. The Gospel works because of the way the Christians love each other.
Jesus is passionately concerned about our unity, that we exercise that unity.
The unity of God’s people is contingent on the apostolic word.
The reason there is no real union is because each will not submit to the apostolic word. Remove the apostolic word from the church, there is no longer a church and certainly there is no glory of God.
Incredible Inheritance (17:24-26)
Jesus prays that his disciples will make it through to the end – to be with him in Heaven, a place reserved for his people.