High Priestly Prayer 2
Exodus 28-29, Leviticus 16:31, Leviticus 23:26-32 and Hebrews 9:7 (High Priest)
Hebrews 2:17 ESV
Hebrews 4:14 ESV
Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT
John 17:6-19 ESV
Jesus continued the prayer we now refer to as the High Priestly Prayer.
The High Priestly Prayer is the longest and most detailed prayer we have on record from Jesus. In the prayer Jesus was interceding for us. As He faced the Cross, Jesus thought of us, even today.
That’s important because Jesus as God was not guessing about how many generations He was praying for.
He knew because He saw.
Jesus wasn’t generalizing.
The prayer He prayed was intentional and focused on His disciples in that age and His disciples in the ages to come.
Jesus made it very clear in verse 9 that Jesus was not praying for the people of the world who do not know God. Clearly, Jesus was praying for believers.
The High Priestly Prayer is an important component to every person who served Jesus from the time Jesus ascended to heaven. Jesus prayed we would know truth…God’s truth and He prayed that we would be protected from the evil in this world.
The next time you wonder if God is actively working on your behalf, remember this prayer. Remember that Jesus asked that you will know truth. Jesus also asked that you will be protected from the evil one. While this prayer contained other requests as well, just those two items have a direct impact on your life every day.
The High Priestly Prayer was also important because it gives us a greater understanding of God’s plan for all of history. We remember in Exodus 28-29 God established the office of High Priest for His people. On Mt. Sinai when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He appointed Moses’ brother Aaron and his descendants as Priests. Aaron was the first High Priest appointed by God. The High Priest was chosen to enter the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement (Leviticus 16:31, Leviticus 23:26-32 and Hebrews 9:7). For the Hebrew people Yom Kippur or the Day of Atonement is set aside as a day of holy rest. It was (is) a holy day.
Jesus is High Priest for the new age. We read in Hebrews 2:17, “Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.”
That has a direct impact on how we interact and pray with Jesus. In Hebrews 4:14 we learn, “Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
Specifically in the New Living Translation, Hebrews 4:14-16 says, “So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.”
Jesus understands what we’ve gone through and will go through. Because of all Jesus faced while He was on earth, He knew exactly how to pray for His disciples (those in the 1st Century as well as disciples in the 21st Century).
In John 17:6-19 Jesus prayed, “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”
In this section of Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer He establishes it was God the Father who sent Him. In His brief time on earth Jesus was truth (verse 8) from God the Father and He is praying specifically for those who believe in Him and follow Him. In verse 9 Jesus states He is not praying for the world. He is praying for believers.
Jesus also established in verse 10 that believers belong to God, God gave believers to Jesus and believers bring (and will bring) glory to God the Father and God the Son (through God the Spirit). Then in verse 11 Jesus says He knows He is leaving this world but His followers will stay (and grow in number). Because His disciples will stay in this world Jesus prayed they would be protected from the evil one. In verse 12 Jesus says only one of His followers (the “son of destruction’) was lost and that fulfilled scripture.
Jesus knew the words He spoke to His disciples that day would be fully understood when everything had been fulfilled on the cross and resurrection. He knew they would have joy. But He also knew in the next hours and days before everything was revealed it would be a very difficult time for His followers.
He knew they would be lost and confused.
He knew they would falter and in verse 15 Jesus asked that they would be protected from the evil one.
Jesus prayed that they (we) would see the truth.
Jesus’ prayer for truth and protection still applies to us today.
This prayer that Jesus spoke to God the Father was a timeless prayer. Jesus knew we would face evil in this world and He asked God to protect us.
Jesus also gave us a roadmap for truth. He prayed truth over us, in us, and through us.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Truth and Protection
If you’ve ever wondered how to pray, this section of John 17 clearly tells us to pray. Today, ask God for truth and protection for yourself and for those you love.
In God, Deborah