John 17 is referred to as the high priestly prayer of Jesus. It’s the real “Lord’s Prayer” (the other one is Jesus’ model prayer for His disciples). In John 17, we hear the heart of Jesus. He’s purposely praying out loud in front of the disciples on His walk from the upper room to the garden of Gethsemane. It’s an amazing glimpse into the intimate and holy conversation between the Son of God and the Father.
There’s a phrase that, if misunderstood, can cause interpretive problems, but lately it’s become more crystal clear to me than ever before, and more endearing as well. He first uses the phrase in verse 2, “…that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him.” Jesus repeats this phrase seven different times in His prayer, referring to those whom God has “given” Him.
Upon first reading the first, we might want to engage in a lively debate about predestination, but whichever side of that argument you may fall on, I think you’d be missing the point. Here’s the meaning, as I understand it… “Father, You have given Your people to Me as Your great love-gift to Me, and Father, I give them back to You as well, entrusting them to Your care for all eternity.” Isn’t that an awesome thought?
Every person who ever calls upon the name of Jesus is a gift from the Father to the Son, and whom the Son saves, He gives to the Father’s care for safekeeping. God’s people are the mutual gift that the Father and Son give to one another.
The gospel needs to be told to all, and all may freely come, and those who come are God’s gift to His Son, forever, just as the Father encouraged Jesus to pray via the messianic Psalm 2…
Ask of Me, and I will give You the nations for Your inheritance, and the ends of the earth for Your possession! ~Psalm 2:8 NKJV