John 17: The Great Intercessory Prayer
Jesus offers the Great Intercessory Prayer;
“Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou has given him power of all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” (John 17:1-3) Jesus was sent on a divine mission from His Father to save all of God’s children, and that during this life we might learn and know of our Father in Heaven, this is what life is all about!
Jesus goes on; “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” (John 17:4-5) In this address to Father, Jesus Christ explained that He was with God the Father before the world was, and that He had been given a task before that creation of the world, to be the savior of that world. Jesus Christ is the Only Begotten of the Father and He did complete the work the Father gave to Him.
Jesus continues; “…I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” (John 17:9-11) Jesus prays for those who are following Him, but will not be able to leave the world as He is about to. We learn that everything the Father has, is shared with the Son. We are one as followers in Christ, as Jesus and His Father are one. Meaning, ONE in Purpose.
Jesus asks the Father to look out for those who are not of the world, for those who have given themselves over to following the Lord. Jesus continues to address the Father; “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of this world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:14-16) Jesus knows that those who have followed His word, are not of the world. Jesus asks the Father to make living in the world easier, by removing the evil from them, but He specifically says not to remove them from the world. This means that even when the hardships of the world come forth, we must lift our head up and overcome the world, just as Jesus overcame the world.
The Bible: God’s Only Word?
Jesus then says; “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” (John 17:17) This is a famous scripture, and is used often to claim that there can only be the Bible and no more of God’s word. So the question is, does all the truth of God come from His words, and His words only? If we read further in the New Testament we read; “For the kingdom of God is not in the world, but in power.” (1 Corinthians 4:20) Does this devalue the word of God? Absolutely not, the word of God is that, it comes from God! But without the proper power and authority from God, nothing besides knowledge can come from those words. In order to participate in all of God’s life saving ordinances, we must have the Power and Authority given to us. The word of God is also not in the confines of the Old and New Testament. If this were true, I can only imagine those of old, who only had the Old Testament and then found out that there was a New Testament. Well, we already know that outcome… the Scribes and Pharisees believed only in the Old Testament, and when a new Prophet came forth (who happened to be Jesus Christ) they did not believe on Him and instead murdered Him. Any Christian would say that of course the Old and New Testaments are the word of God. So the question is, can God call a new prophet and given them Another Testament? Yes, and it happened. The Book of Mormon is Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Having more than the Bible does not devalue it. In fact, having the Bible and the Book of Mormon only makes ones heart grow fonder of both.
Jesus continues His prayer and confirms once again that Jesus and His Father are one in purpose and not one in flesh or spirit; “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) We are one in purpose, just as the Son and Father are one in purpose. With that, we are all ONE in purpose, all of God’s children, Jesus Christ and the Father.