Our Lord Prays for His Own: Thoughts on John 17
Ravenio Books, 13/05/2014
THIS chapter is emphatically the Lord’s prayer. That which we commonly call the Lord’s prayer He taught His disciples, but did not use Himself. The petition, “Forgive us our trespasses,” could never have been uttered by the Lord Jesus Christ. This prayer, on the other hand, is His own—His disciples were not invited to unite in it; it was a prayer they did not and could not utter. Evidently the Lord spake so as to be heard, and the disciples listened. The Holy Ghost has provided that not one petition should be lost to the church of God. We often find our Lord teaching His disciples to pray, and we read of Him spending even whole nights in prayer; but we never find Him praying with His disciples. Indeed, there would seem to be something incongruous in Christ kneeling down with His disciples for prayer; there must always have been something peculiar in His petitions.
At this time His work on earth was well-nigh ended: nothing remained for Him but to die: “I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” (v. 4.) The Last Supper was over. The Lord had dispensed to His disciples the broken bread and poured-out wine, memorials of His dying love; He had expressed to them His desire, that in remembrance of Him, they should often gather together and thus show forth His death in this illustration and their union with Himself and with each other, until His return to them in glory. He had washed their feet; He had comforted them; He had opened His whole heart to them. He now opens it for them to Him before whom “all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hid;” and having poured out His soul into the ear, and into the bosom of God, He went forth into Gethsemane. May God the Spirit be with us and give unction and understanding to our hearts, while we meditate on His most precious prayer.