After sharing the Passover meal Jesus and his disciples begin walking toward the Garden of Gethsemane. Anticipating what was going to happen to him in a matter of hours, Jesus goes ahead to a place to pray asking Peter, James and John to wait with Him while he prays.
He was deeply distressed and troubled (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14: 32-41; Luke 22:40-46). He falls to the ground burdened with excessive sorrow. He prays to the Father for Himself, for His disciples and for all who would ever believe – for you and for me.
Can you imagine what it would have been like to overhear the prayer conversation between Jesus and the Father in the Garden of Gethsemane that took place just before Jesus was arrested? This is just before he is tried, brutally mocked, beaten and just before he would experience the horrific act of being crucified bearing the weight of sin for the entire world. Can you imagine the ultimate significance of this prayer from a man who was about to suffer and die for the ones He is praying for?
He knew what it would cost Him to pay for the sins of the world. He knew what the disciples would face after He returned to the Father. He knew it all. He was our Savior and Shepherd to the very end sealing with the Father all the things He knew we would need.
The Gospel of John records this conversation and what Jesus prayed in John 17. It may be the most important conversation in church history.
Jesus prayed for:
Unity …because He knew how hard it would be for us to get along with other believers. In our flesh we are difficult people who want our own way AND because seeing unity among believers is a powerful apologetic for the Deity of Christ attracting non- believers to Jesus and God. John17: 11,21,23
Joy…because He knew that we would have many sorrows on earth. He knew there would be heart breaking times and that most of the time we would find it hard to be joyful. Life is hard in this sin filled, fallen world. He longs to give us His joy in the midst of it. John 17:13
Protection from Satan….because He knew the enemy would do everything he could to discourage, defeat, divide and even kill us as long as we are living in the world. John17:15
Sanctification…because He knew that there needed to be a process for us to grow spiritually. John 17:17,19
An invitation into His presence to see His Glory…because He loves us so much and wants us to be with Him. He asked the Father to invite us into His eternal Trinitarian Presence. John17:24
That we would know God’s love…because He knows how hard it is for ones who have not been loved by their earthly father to experience God’s love. John 17:26
Lest this become a factual list or academic exercise, take some moments now to reflect on what each of these things Jesus prayed for you means. And thank him – what is Easter really??
“He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him,
since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25