BACKGROUND FOR THE LESSON.
On the night He was betrayed and shortly before His arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus finished His last Passover meal in the upper room (see Luke 22:7-20) with His disciples and instituted the LORD’s Supper. After washing the disciple’s feet and teaching them about true servant-hood (see John 13:2-20), Jesus predicted His betrayal (see John 13:21-35), foretold Peter’s denial (see John 13:36-38), gave them words of comfort (see John 14:1-14) and promised the Holy Spirit’s indwelling. Then they left the upper room (see John 14:31), but before leaving Jerusalem for the Mount of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane (see Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:32; Luke 22:39; John 18:1), Jesus prayed this special prayer in our text for His disciples and all who would believe their ministry going forward. Jesus began His prayer by praying for Himself: announcing that His hour had come to be glorified so that He could glorify the Father (see John 17:1). This was a reference to His death. He then spoke of the eternal life that the Father had empowered Him to give to all who believe (see John 17:2-3). Jesus declared that He had glorified God by finishing the work that He was given to do and now asked His Father to restore to Him the glory He had with the Father before the world was created (see John 17:4-5). Now Jesus turns His attention to praying for His disciples. This is where our lesson begins.