Sermon: “Your Word is Truth” (John 17:6–19)
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.