The Bible is the most brutally honest and genuinely real recounting of the pains and pleasure of real life for real people. In its pages, we even get to see the real God unfiltered on his darkest days as a man among us. The Bible invites us in to see Jesus disrespected, dishonored, and disgraced – even by family and friends. We see him yelling in anger, cheering with laughter, and weeping in agony. We see him worshiped and tortured. We see him exalted and despised.
The Bible is not written by anybody trying to sell you anything by sanding off the edges and adding plenty of lacquer to make it shiny. No, the Bible is the result of honest people telling the true story about real life. Sometimes, when we read the Bible we can forget that it is written by real people for real people.
As we are studying Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” in John 17, it is important to make note of Jesus’ friend and disciple John for faithfully recording the prayer by the divine enablement of the Holy Spirit. This lengthy prayer does not appear in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) but is recorded in John’s Gospel alone. Had John not included Jesus’ prayer, we would be without any record of this great and vital moment in world history.
90-percent of John’s Gospel is unique to John. If he had not shared with us His eye-witness life with Jesus, there would be a gap in much of our understanding about Jesus’ life and ministry. John is like Jesus’ little brother, faithfully at Jesus’ side. He was present at the most intimate parts of Jesus’ life. John saw the miracles and the mundane. John was there for the good times and the griefs. Jesus and John are so close that he becomes one of the three disciples Jesus considers his closest advisers, and many scholars believe John is “the disciple Jesus loved” (John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7, 20). After Jesus ascended to heaven, John became the leader of the earliest pastors. He wrote 1, 2, 3 John, and this great biography of Jesus, the Gospel of John, along with the book of Revelation.
So, in John 17 we see one of Jesus’ most intimate moments in prayer with his Father related to us honestly by one of Jesus’ most intimate friends. It just goes to show that the shortest distance between two people is prayer. Jesus and John were close friends because they prayed with and for each other. If you want to be close to someone, the lesson of John 17 is to pray with them and pray for them.
Who can you be praying with and for to build your relationship?