In this, his high priestly prayer, Jesus conveys a sense of intimacy. There is a sense of oneness; Jesus has it with the Father; and now Jesus prays for that same sort of oneness to be extended to these who are his disciples now. This particular oneness possesses a purpose: “…that the world may believe that you have sent me” (vs. 21).
Then Jesus goes on to speak of glory. There is oneness in this glory. The Father’s glory here is that he emptied himself of a godly condemnation of the world in the sending of Jesus (Jn. 3:17). Jesus’ glory here is that he emptied himself by not considering godhood a thing to be grasped (Ph. 2:6). This “self-emptying” glory is the glory given us during these the days of our baptism while we wait for this old and broken creation to pass away. This self-emptying glory also provides oneness. The glory signals the Father’s love of them even as he has already loved Jesus. This self-emptying glory is nothing other than the cross itself—total and complete humiliation (cf. Lk. 9:23).
Yet, another glory awaits—the glory of the new creation. Jesus pleads that these disciples of his may be with him where he is (vs. 24, see also Jn. 14:3). There, in the new creation, Jesus will enjoy the obvious sort of glory, revealed glory rather than the hidden glory of the cross. With Jesus, the glory of those whom he has brought with him will be revealed as well. Glory is sequential: first is the hidden glory of the cross and its humiliation; second is the revealed glory of the Lord of the new creation which is then the believers’ glory as well.
Finally, Jesus comes to the name… the name he has made known among his believers… that name is Father. In the eastern Mediterranean culture of the day, to know someone’s name meant having access to them and that access accorded the knower with certain privileges, especially the privilege of being heard. The New Testament uses mostly three names or designations for God. The first is, as you would expect, the Greek word “theos” or God. The second is “kyrios” or Lord. The third comes from Jesus’ lips, “Father.” This is the name of God Jesus died to give you. Using it recognizes your place and privilege in the divine family.
Table Talk: Discuss both oneness and glory as they relate to the name Father. Pray: Heavenly Father, hold me tight in the oneness of your divine family. Amen
John 17:20-26 English Standard Version
20 I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. 24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. 26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.