Jesus Praying for Himself An Exposition of John 17:1-5 -- By: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Journal: Emmaus Journal
Volume: EMJ 07:2 (Winter 1998)
Article: Jesus Praying for Himself An Exposition of John 17:1-5
Author: S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.

Jesus Praying for Himself
An Exposition of John 17:1-5

S. Lewis Johnson, Jr.*


In introducing the upper room discourse John commented on the ministry of the Lord in this way, “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (John 13:1). Now, of course, this statement probably includes the work of the cross that He will accomplish in a very few hours. And in that work He will supremely demonstrate His love for His own. It is also true, however, that He has acted out His love in the discourse itself. He has washed the disciples’ feet in a magnificent demonstration of submissive love, and He has called upon them to do the same in His new commandment.

And He has spoken His love in this really thrilling discourse, in which He has prepared them for the future, supported by some of the greatest promises in the entire Word of God—the choice of the Holy Spirit, the promise of union with Christ and the issues of that important truth, and the promise that He will see them again (cf. 16:22).

And now in this beautiful and meaningful seventeenth chapter He will, as someone has said, “add yet another jewel” to His crown in the sublime prayer that followed His discourse to His apostles.

One of the old Scottish divines, Robert Traill, began his sermons on this prayer of the Lord by quaintly saying, “The best of all sermons, in chap. xiv, xv, xvi. is concluded with the best of all prayers in this chap. xvii.”1

* Bible teacher Lewis Johnson has been associated for many years with Believer’s Chapel in Dallas, Texas. He is Professor Emeritus of New Testament Exegesis at Dallas Theological Seminary and also served as Professor of Biblical and Systematic Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. This is the fourteenth in a series of expositions on The Upper Room Discourse.

When John Knox, the Scottish reformer, was lying on his deathbed in his house on High Street in Edinburgh, he insistently asked that the Bible be read aloud to him. He wanted to hear the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, and he asked for the Psalms, and he even requested that some of Calvin’s sermons be read to him. But above all he asked for his beloved chapter from the Gospel of John, the seventeenth chapter, which he referred to as “the place where I cast my first anchor.”2 It is a marvelo...

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