In the Old Testament the High Priest was charged by God with offering sacrifices for God’s people. The image of the priesthood was that God is holy. God’s people were not. They could not come to God on their own; they needed a priest – someone to go between God and sinful man. Jesus is our Great High Priest.
If you had just a couple hours left with the people you love. What would you do? What would you say? How could you communicate your love for them? What will happen to them after you leave? John 17 is Jesus Christ’s high priestly prayer. Jesus was about to leave to go on a business trip of sorts. He had important work to do. Work that would end in his death and the redemption of the world.
The way that Jesus speaks of his death is confusing – even troubling for some. Holy Week is a difficult time for the Christian. To go through the whole season of Lent and then Good Friday – watching the horror of what our sins have earned – is terrible. How can Jesus speak of his work as glorious? He can do so because when he died on the cross for our sins he won our forgiveness. Need proof? Look at Easter.
A few years ago I suffered a partial dislocation of my shoulder during a coaching clinic. With the help of a fellow coach I was able to get the shoulder back in place. The look on my face was painful – was white and unresponsive. It six months for the shoulder to feel “right” again. Since then it has come out twice. Both times it moved back into the socket easily, but my shoulder will never be the same. That is until I stand before my God on the Last Day. On that day my body will be glorified. My shoulder will work – perfectly. I won’t have high blood pressure. You get the picture. So why is it that when Jesus rose from the dead he still had his scars? You can STILL look through Jesus’ hands. There are holes where the nails were. The reason is because those wounds aren’t bad. Those are the testaments to his payment for my sin! Those are glorious scars of the battle that was fought for my soul. Even though the battle was fierce and the price was high, that doesn’t make Jesus’ work any less glorious.
On this final night of his life, Jesus takes time to pray for himself, to pray for the disciples, and finally to pray for you and me, those who would believe the gospel and com to know him. There is much that we can learn from this prayer. The whole chapter is a fascinating look at the trinity in action – as the Son prays to the Father. What is the basis for unity in the church? How can we be safe? Watch and find out!
This is the tenth Bible Class on our summer series – VIC: Very Important Chapters of the Bible.
Please click HERE for the Bible Class slides.