“Father, bring me back home”
- 17:1 When Jesus finished talking to his disciples, he looked up into the sky and prayed. “Father, my time has come. Honor your Son in front of these people so your Son can help them honor you.
- 17:2 Do this because you have put your Son in charge of all people everywhere so he can give them eternal life.
- 17:3 The eternal life I’m talking about is this: to know the only authentic God, and to know Jesus the Messiah, the one you sent to this world.
- 17:4 I honored you here on earth by doing the work you sent me to do.
- 17:5 Now, Father, bring me back home. Return me to that place of honor I had beside you before the world began.
Jesus says the disciples believe in him
- 17:6 I taught the followers you gave me, and told them about you. They were yours to give, and you gave them to me. They know what you expect of them and they do as you say.
- 17:7 They now know that everything you gave me came from you.
- 17:8 I told them what you wanted me to tell them. They accepted what I had to say. They really do know that I came from you. They believe you sent me.
Jesus prays for his disciples
- 17:9 Right now I’m praying just for them and not for anyone else in the world. I’m praying for these followers you gave to me.
- 17:10 All of them belong to me and to you as well. They have honored me while I have been here with them.
- 17:11 I’m on my way home to you. I’m not going to be here in this world anymore. But they’ll be staying. Holy Father, help them hang onto what I taught them about you. Help them unite as one, just as we are one.1
- 17:12 While I was here with them, I protected them for you, just as you wanted. I didn’t lose a single one you had given me. We lost only the Son of Sin,2 as the Bible predicted.3
Disciples disconnected from the world
- 17:13 Though I’m on my way home to you, I’m here saying these words because I want these people to experience the complete joy I have.
- 17:14 I delivered your message to them. Now the world hates them because they’re different. My followers became disconnected from the world. They don’t fit the character of this world any more than I do.
- 17:15 I’m not asking that you move them somewhere away from this world. I’m asking that you protect them while they are here. Protect them from the Evil One.
- 17:16 They don’t belong here in this world. I don’t, either.
- 17:17 Wash them with the truth until they are thoroughly clean.4 Your word is the truth.
- 17:18 You sent me into this world. Now I’m sending them out into the world.
- 17:19 I’m sacrificing myself for them so they can sacrifice themselves for the truth.5
Jesus prays for future believers
- 17:20 I’m not praying now for these people alone. Now I’m praying for future believers—those who will believe in me because of what these people will say about me.
- 17:21 Father, unite them as one. You’re in me and I’m in you. Now I’m asking that they may become one with us, so the people of this world will believe that you sent me here.
- 17:22 I have honored my followers just as you have honored me. I’ve done this because I want them to be one people, united, just as you and I are one.
- 17:23 You’re in me. I’m in them. And the reason I’m in them is because I want them to be completely united with us as one. I want this so the world will see them and recognize that you sent me and that you love people everywhere, just as you love me.
- 17:24 Father, I want the followers you have given to me to one day join me where I am. I want them to see the honor that you have shown me—honor that comes from a love you’ve had for me since before the creation of this world.
God is good. Jesus says so.
- 17:25 Father, you are good. The world doesn’t know you, but I do. And these followers know you sent me.
- 17:26 I’ve taught them about who you are and what you’re like. I’ll keep doing it. I want them to experience the same love you have for me—your loving presence in them, and mine as well.”
This is a confusing verse that leaves the Bible scholars guessing. A more literal reading of the vexing section at the end of the verse: “Keep them in your name, the name you gave me.” Some Bibles interpret this as Jesus asking God to keep them safe by the power of his name. Other interpreters suggest it has more to do with the disciples of Jesus staying true to the character of God himself by showing the world what citizens of God’s kingdom look like.
Jesus is talking about Judas Iscariot, who would betray him to Jewish officials orchestrating the crucifixion. The description phrase is more literally “son of perdition.” Perdition has to do with death and destruction and a general sense of doom— the consequences of sin. Paul used the same phrase, which is sometimes translated “son of destruction,” to identify a mysterious “man of lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
Possibly a reference to Psalm 41:9. See John 13:18.
A more literal translation: “Consecrate [or sanctify] them by your truth.” The Greek word for consecrate is hagiazō. It can mean to purify, cleanse, and to make holy. These are characteristics of people devoted to God.
Jesus again uses the Greek word hagiazō that’s often translated as “consecrate” or “sanctify.” But in the Bible Jesus used, “consecrate” can mean the same thing as “sacrifice” because a sacrifice needed to be purified before it could be offered to God. “You shall consecrate to the Lord your God all the firstborn males that are born of your herd” (Deuteronomy 15:19 NASB).
On the brink of getting arrested, tried, and executed, Jesus prays a moving prayer in John 17:1-5. How do you react to the prayer?
Jesus moves from praying for himself to praying for his disciples. What is the most powerful thing you think Jesus says in that prayer, in John 17:9-19?
What do you think Jesus means when he prays, “Wash them with the truth until they are thoroughly clean. Your word is the truth” (17:17)?
LIFE APPLICATION. As Jesus begins to bring his prayer to a close, he prays for us. He prays for “those who will believe in me because of what these people will say about me” (17:20). What part of this prayer can you take personally?
LIFE APPLICATION. Jesus ends his prayer to God by saying he wants believers “to experience the same love you have for me—your loving presence in them, and mine as well” (17:26). Did the prayer work? Do you experience the love of God and his Son? If so, how?