Jesus’ Prayer for Believers

KEY VERSE: “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one.” —John 17:20,21

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: John 17:1-11, 20, 21

THE WORDS OF this lesson were spoken by our Lord during the night of his betrayal. He was soon to depart for the Garden of Gethsemane and he knew well that he and his disciples would then be separated. Jesus lifted up his eyes toward heaven in prayer to God, asking for the Father’s special blessing. It was the Master’s desire to glorify his Father again as he had often done.

During the Lord’s ministry he had received “words” that the Father had given him. These he passed on to the disciples, which they received gladly. This knowledge helped them to have faith that Jesus had been sent to earth by God. Now in the closing hours of the Lord’s life, in the words of this superlative prayer, he asked God for his favor to be upon his special followers. “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.”—John 17:9

It is interesting to note that on this occasion the Lord seemed to have favored his followers more than he did the rest of the world. This is because it was not yet time in the plan of God for the world in general to be blessed. Jesus was about to die on the cross in order to redeem the whole world. However, most of the world was not ready to listen to the message of salvation in their day, nor is it ready in our day. In due time, because Christ died for every man, all will be given a fair opportunity to receive great blessings from God. “The glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.”—Isa. 40:5

In the interim since Jesus began his ministry until our day, another necessary step in the plan of God has been taking place. Jesus, because of his faithfulness to God, has been greatly rewarded. “God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”—Phil. 2:9-11

Jesus will be the king during the millennial kingdom, and he will have a bride to share his throne. It is this bride that has been in the process of selection and development throughout the Gospel Age. Only after the full number of the ‘bride class’ has been selected and proved faithful unto death, will the blessings begin to flow to the world.

The Lord’s prayer during that difficult time before his death was not offered just on behalf of those who were with him that night. Speaking of his disciples, he said, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”—John 17:20,21

It was Jesus’ desire that the disciples whom he was about to leave, as well as all the disciples of the years still future, would be one—that they would have one mind, one purpose, and one will—not that they would be the same being.

All who will be members of that glorious heavenly company and who will live and reign with Christ (Rev. 20:6) must develop the same character as their Lord. These are striving to be pleasing to the Lord, and to walk closely in his footsteps. As the prospective bride of Christ they hunger and thirst after righteousness, desiring always to know and to do the Lord’s will that they may finish their earthly course and see their Master face to face in heaven.

Dawn Bible Students Association
|  Home Page  |  Table of Contents  |