Two Prayers by Jesus: The Great High Priestly Prayer of John 17 and the agonizing prayer in the garden as He is about to be arrested.

John 17:1-26 (ESV)

When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, [2] since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. [3] And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. [4] i glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. [5] And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

[6] “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. [7] Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. [8] For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. [9] I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. [10] All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. [11] And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. [12] While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. [13] But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. [14] I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [15] i do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. [16] They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. [17] Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. [18] As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. [19] And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

[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.”

In John 17, Jesus prays for God, including Himself, to be glorified(John 17:1-5).  He prays for those He is about to leave, the chief request being that they be kept from the evil one (John 17:15).  And He prayed for all throughout history who will believe in Him. If you are a believer, He prayed for you (John 17:20). Read and meditate on this prayer. There is a wealth of soul feeding, soul filling, soul stunning stuff here. Take special note of verses 3,9,10,13,15,17,19,20,21,23,26.

Matthew 26:36-46 (ESV)

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” [37] And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. [38] Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” [39] And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” [40] And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour? [41] Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” [42] Again, for the second time, he went away and prayed, “My Father, if this cannot pass unless I drink it, your will be done.” [43] And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy. [44] So, leaving them again, he went away and prayed for the third time, saying the same words again. [45] Then he came to the disciples and said to them, “Sleep and take your rest later on. See, the hour is at hand, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. [46] Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”

In Matthew 26:36-46 we have the famous “let this cup pass from Me” prayer of Jesus in Gethsemane. Can there be a more stirring statement out of the mouth of the eternal Son of God than “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death;”  In other words, “I am so sad I could die.” He prays for “the cup” to be allowed to pass by Him if the Father wills it. Of course the Father will not. Jesus’ prayer was answered. His first concern was God’s will to be done and it was. Look at the trials of Jesus.

Look at the beatings, the crown of thorns, the mocking, the crucifixion, the spear, the agony. Look at it all and see this – God’s will. And if all that makes you emotional think of this. Don’t cry over the sufferings of Christ. The sufferings of Christ are our salvation. What should make you weep is what causes those sufferings to take place. He is bearing the sins of His people. Rejoice in His love for you. Weep over your sin. And may that great love enable you to greater holiness.

Of course, the “cup” that Jesus was asking to be spared was not primarily the physical sufferings, as great as they were. But Jesus knows that He is going to be separated from His Father. God is going to forsake Him, turn His back on Him, not hear His cries. He was abandoned in the garden by His friends. He was abandoned by His followers at the trial before Pilate. He was abandoned by the twelve at the cross (except for John). He was abandoned by God on the cross, bringing in the hours of darkness. No one has ever been as alone as Jesus Christ was beginning in this prayer in the garden.Dear Christian, He did it for you. What a God. What a Saviour. What a salvation.