We find, in John 17, the prayer or High Priestly prayer of Jesus just before His crucifixion.
“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life…” John 17:1-26 (NASB unless noted) Read the rest in your favoured version.
The understanding of this prayer is often not rightly handled.1 This, by those who try to apply it to today’s “church,” i.e. the Ekklesia. Interpreting it in this way places Jesus in violation of the Abrahamic covenant, an everlasting covenant.
That God made this covenant with Israel, exclusive of all the other nations, is affirmed by Jesus in his words to his disciples:
“I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 15:24
“Do not go in the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter any city of the Samaritans; but rather go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Matthew 10:5-6
In keeping with His mandate and the covenant, Jesus’ words must be interpreted from the perspective of applying to His immediate, Israelite, followers (I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given to me2) and to Israel (not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word3). Some, reading the innuendo of verse 20, suggest his prayer included those Gentiles who later believe, but that may violate the covenant until Israel rejected the Messiah and the time of the Gentiles begins.
Those Israelite followers, given to Jesus, were more than the 11 disciples (excluding Judas), they grew to include the 70 Jesus sent out earlier plus some women, their families, and others who respond to their evangelistic efforts.
This prayer energized and protected those early converts and eventually turned upside down the world of their day.
©2023, Dr Steven Bydeley, a man.
All publishing rights reserved. Permission is herewith granted to reprint this article for personal use and to link or refer to it; however, no commercial re-publishing of the material in this article is permitted without prior written consent.
Steven is the author of Fathered by God and with his wife Dianne, co-author of Dream Dreams and Dreams the Heal and Counsel. He has been a guest on the Miracle Channel, Trinity Television, and Crossroads Communication, and have taught internationally on various topics.
Without Prejudice. © 2023, Steven., house of bij de Leij., of man.