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©Michael Player

Chapter 17:1-5 (ESV)

Posted on September 12, 2023  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 17:1-5 (ESV) - When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Question to consider: What was the role of the high priest?

In the other gospels, Jesus went away from the disciples in the garden of Gethsemane in order to pray for the events that were to follow. Peter, James and John were to guard Jesus and pray for their own battle against temptation. These faithful disciples, who professed a willingness to die for Jesus, failed in their watch and instead fell asleep— three times no less.

In reading this prayer shared to us by John, my initial questions were: when did Jesus pray this prayer, and why was it only John who shared it? I would argue that His assurance to the disciples and this prayer came after Jesus had prayed alone in the garden and right before Judas showed up. In that prayer, Jesus submitted to the will of His Father and was resolved to the task before Him. This is why Jesus could definitively share with the disciples that all authority had been given to Him. He had fulfilled the righteousness of the Law and was now about to exchange it for the Father’s wrath upon our sin.

Obviously, only God could speak of a future event as if it already had taken place which speaks to my second question. Matthew and Mark both dealt with the kingdom of mercy which was given through Christ by grace. Luke gave a well ordered account of God’s plan of salvation that included the Gentiles. John presented Christ as God who became flesh in order to be our paschal lamb and great high priest.

It was Christ who had overcome the world and its temptations. It was Christ who gave eternal life and eternally existed with the Father. Because Jesus is fully man, His righteous death could pay the penalty for the sin of men, but because Jesus is fully God, He can be our eternal high priest in the order of Melchizedek whose priesthood was based on righteousness rather than lineage and was able to serve for life. (Read my study on Hebrews 6:19-7:3)

The high priest was the one who interceded for the sins of the people under the Law. He would put on the holy vestments and make sacrifices for His own sin in order to become most holy and be able to enter into the most holy place to repent for the people of Israel and be their mediator before God. Jesus was already most holy, for He had never sinned, so the sacrifice He gave for the sins of the people was His own naked, holy flesh which was given once-for-all time.

The title text in the ESV calls this prayer Jesus’ high priestly prayer because in it He intercedes not only for His disciples but for all who would be covered by His righteousness.


Dear heavenly Father, thank You for accepting the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of all whom You have given to Him for all time. Help us to walk in newness of life to the praise of His glorious grace. Amen.