The Lord’s Prayer for His Own

John 17

Having finished all His words of counsel and comfort to His disciples, words spoken to them that they might have peace in Him though beset by tribulation in the world, the Lord lifted His eyes to heaven and spoke to His Father. He had requests to make for “His own” whom He was leaving in the world. With what awe those eleven men must have heard Him for the things He asked for were so amazing, so infinitely beyond anything and everything that they could have asked or thought; and we may stand in thought with them and share their wonder, for what He asked for them He asked for us also. He had not to beseech the Father on behalf of “His own,” as one might plead with a reluctant and grudging giver, for His Father was one with Him in all His desires for the blessing of those men. They were His Father’s gift to Him and so are we. “Thou gavest them Me,” He said, but in giving them to His beloved Son the Father did not give them away or lose them, for, added the Lord, “They are Thine, and all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine.” It is an amazing thought. The Father and the Son have this mutual interest in all who are Christ’s. They are the Father’s gift to Him, and yet the Father retains possession of them and they were the subjects of these wonderful communings between the Father and the Son. They are more precious to the Lord than crowns and kingdoms and far-reaching fame, they are His most cherished possession, next to the love that gave them to Him; and they are precious to the Father because they are precious to His Son. That is where we stand, fellow believers in our great Saviour; that, my brethren in the divine family, is the place we are given in the thoughts of the Father and the Son.

Great and glorious things are to be ours according to the will and requests of the Lord, they include present blessings and future glories, but the crown of them all seems to be kept until the last. Hear the actual wards of the Lord, “I have declared unto them Thy Name and will declare it, that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them.” He had said, “The glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them.” We might well ask what is that glory and be unable to find an answer to our question, so wonderful it seems, but here is something greater than glory. Is there anything more precious to the Lord than the love wherewith His Father loves Him? Nothing. “Power and riches, and wisdom, and strength and honour, and glory and blessing” are to be His by universal acclaim, but what are these in comparison with His Father’s love. This love was His before the ages of time for He dwelt then in His Father’s bosom; this love sustained Him in His life of sorrow here on earth; the Father’s bosom was His refuge and resting place when despised and rejected of men, and His Father’s love will be His chiefest joy for ever and it is this that He wills and desires should be ours. He gives His choicest and best to us. Such is His love that it will not be satisfied unless we share with Him that which He knows will eternally satisfy us because it satisfies Him. We would have been satisfied with a lesser love; a love of compassion such as God had for us when we were yet sinners would have filled us with eternal gratitude and praise, and we have known and believed that love, but nothing less than this love of relationship and complacency, the Father’s love to Him in us, would satisfy the unselfish love of our Saviour, our Friend, our eternal Love.

By His desire and will this love is to be in us, not on us only; it might be on us and we be unconscious of the fact, but it is to be in us, to be known and enjoyed in our soul’s deepest experience. To this end He said, “I have declared unto them Thy Name and will declare it.” The declaration of the Father’s Name to us involves our being brought into the same relationship in which He stands, His Father becomes our Father, for only in the relationship of children with the Father could the Father’s love be in us. It required too that the Spirit should be given to us—the Spirit of the Son, that we might intelligently rejoice in His love and respond to it with the children’s cry of Abba, Father.

But further, and these are His final words, “And I in them.” Does that mean “that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith”? It does, and more. He would be the supreme object of our hearts, dwelling in our love as a living, bright reality. It is His last request as to us, and reveals the intensity and sensitiveness of His love. This is more than the love that will be ever active towards us in our constant needs, it is that same love seeking its satisfaction in being loved; it is love resting and satisfied. This we may give Him, and this we shall give Him in His Father’s house on high, but this we may give Him now, and as we begin to understand it we begin to understand His words spoken but a little while before: “The Father Himself loves you because ye have loved Me” (John 16:27).

J. T. Mawson