Gospel of John; Chapter 17, “Overcomers”

John 17: Overcomers

As we continue our study in these remarkable chapters of John’s account of these last hours, we realize the depths of the disciple’s despair. The Lord did also. It had been a remarkable, unbelievable three and half years. Their entry into what would be the Lord’s last Passover had started with great anticipation and excitement on Palm Sunday.  Yet on Monday, they must have been upset after the Lord’s triumphal entry to have the Lord once again cleanse the temple. On Tuesday as he was teaching the in the temple, the Chief Priest and Elders confronted him regarding his authority. These men were already plotting how they might kill him.

And now on this fateful night the Lord had told them things which absolutely devastated them. He had told them: he would be betrayed by one of them; he was going away and they could not follow; and Peter would deny him three times before morning. Let’s pick up the story in John 16: 16.


“In a little while you will see me no more, and then after a little while you will see me. “ NIV. The KJV adds, ‘because I go to the Father. ‘The disciples said to one another what does he mean – ‘little while’?  This sounded like a riddle to them. Remember what Jesus said at the beginning of the evening?  He told them as he washed their feet:  You do not understand what I am doing now, but later you will.  Jesus saw how troubled and baffled they were so he explained.  He told them they would grieve and mourn, while the world rejoiced.  The world and the demons rejoiced when Jesus was crucified while the disciples and Jesus’ family and loved ones grieved. But Jesus said their grief would turn to joy. And he gave them an illustration of a woman in giving birth has pain until her time comes.  Then when the baby comes, all the pain and anguish are forgotten because of her joy that a child is born into this world. Remember when Jesus was born we are told unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. Overcomers are the ones who have received the son who is given.

The disciples would not see Jesus for three days. He would be arrested in hours, crucified and buried. They could not see Him. This word, see, could also mean they did not understand what had happened. Then in three days they would see Him, in his resurrected, glorified body. They now would began to understand as Jesus would spend the next 40 days with them in His Glorified body  showing them in the Scriptures how they  foretold of all this which had happened. It as if they would say to one another, ‘now I see what He was talking about.’

Jesus then tells the disciples and us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

What follows next in John 17: 1-26, the entire chapter is instructions and truths which we are to apply to become overcomers in this world. It is considered by many to be the greatest prayer in the Bible. We will take our time digesting what is here for us. I want us to be encouraged by this prayer, but more than that, I want you, my family, and myself to know what the Lord has done for us and has given us and all that He will continue to do for us now that He is in heaven. This will allow us to become overcomers.  John wrote in I John 5: 4:  “And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”


Your Bible may have three subheadings for this chapter which are:  Jesus prays for Himself; Jesus prays for his disciples; and Jesus Prays for all believers.  Jesus will reveal four truths which will help us be overcomers.


Glory came down.

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that you Son may glorify You.”    Since the second chapter of John, we have heard the Lord say on numerous occasions:  “My hour (time) has not yet come.”  Jesus was on a divine timetable.  As each of us are also. The Lord saw you last day before the first ever begun. Jesus prays for the Father to glorify him, for the purpose of glorifying the Father. This is an important truth and illustration of a lifestyle we are called to live, a life of mutual submission. Understand Jesus asked to be glorifed, not for himself, but so that he could glorify the Father.  Now in Ephesians 5: 22, we read:  “wives submit yourselves to your husband, as unto the Lord.”  Now this verse caused quite a furor in recent years with Women’s Liberation movement. First of all you need to read the verses preceding and following in order to put this in context. It begins back at verse 15.  When you read the verses from Ephesians 5: 15 through 21, you understand Paul is telling us how to live wisely, making the most of the opportunity, for the days are evil. He tells us not to be foolish but understand what the will of God is. Be not drunk with wine, which leads to debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit.   Then notice verse 21:  “Submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.”  Paul is calling for all Christians to submit to one another.

He then tells the husband to love his wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.  The Christian marriage is to be a picture of mutual submission. The wife wants the best for her husband and sacrifices for him. The husband wants the best for his wife and sacrifices for her. Paul then addresses the family in Ephesians 6, telling children to obey their parents, and reminds us this is one of the 10 commandments which gives us a promise of long life.  And fathers (parents) do not provoke their children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord. In other words, mutual submission, the children want to submit to the authority of their parents for they want to honor them, and the parents want the best for their children, so they sacrifice for them.  Just like God the Father has sacrificed for us, His children.

Paul then addresses slaves and masters, or in our case employees and employers.  And again the principle of mutual submission has employees who obey their employers and do their best to honor them and the Lord and the employer treats them the same.  So Jesus is doing in His prayer what He taught us to do in the model prayer, we call “The Lord’s Prayer” in Matthew 6, “to hallow (honor, glorify) His Name. Jesus is glorying the Father by finishing the work He was sent to do. He tells us in this prayer, “for you granted him (Jesus speaks of himself in the 3rd person) authority over all people that He might give them eternal life to all those you have given Him. “  Remember what Jesus said to the woman at the well?  “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you could have asked him and he would have given you living water.” (John 4: 10)  The gift of God is not just forgiven sins and eternal life. Those were just the actions which had to take place for us to receive the greatest gift of all- God Himself.  We must remember we have God living within us.  God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.  One God- whose name is God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit describe their function, their role.  Whoever has the Son has the Father, and it is the Spirit which indwells us and seals us that bears witness to us this is true.

Jesus came to the world, not to condemn us but to save us. He had been given the authority over all people.  He told the woman , if you knew who I was, the Son of the God, the Messiah, God in flesh, you could asked me and I would give you the gift of eternal life, the very life of God. In Him was life and that life was the light of men.  Let’s look at what has been given:

  1. The Father’s love. For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son to die for us in our place for our sins. God is love, this is His very nature.
  2. He gave His Son the Authority over all people who believed to give them eternal life.. That whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life. We have the gift of eternal life when we place our faith in Jesus Christ as payment for our sins.
  3. God the Father’s love is His gift to us. And His gift is His Only Begotten Son. He gave Him for us. God demonstrated His love for us, that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  4. We, believers, are God the Father’s gift to the Son. We have been given to Him. We are His and He is ours. Can you imagine how much they love us? Can you imagine how special you are to God? Oh what manner of love is this the Father has lavished on us, that we might be called the sons and daughters of God.

A shared life. Jesus said, “I in them, and you in me. May we be brought to complete unity.  This shared life is eternal. All good gifts come from the Father, in whom there is no shadow of turning. All of His gifts are eternal. As a believer, I share my life with Him, and He shares His life with me.  As believers we are partakers of His divine nature.

What is eternal life? “This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” One cannot know the Father apart from the Son.

How do we overcome the world?  By the power of the shared life of Christ. “Everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he/she who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

The enemy of your soul, the devil, wants to obscure this truth of the finished work of Jesus Christ. He knows these truths are the basis for spiritual victory. “They overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.”

Now Jesus prays to the Father, He has completed the work He was sent to do. And now He asked the Father to glorify Him in His presence with the glory He had before He came to earth. God the Son became the God-Man born as a babe in Bethlehem.  John said we beheld his glory.

Glory came down and glory filled my soul. Is the glory of the Lord the passion of your heart? Do not let the deceiver keep you from taking full advantage of your position and possessions. You share the Life of Almighty God, Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace. Unto you a Son is given

This is the life He shares with me. I am a partaker of His Divine Nature.  Jesus said I am in them (this is you and me) and You (God the Father) in me (Jesus)

A threefold cord which cannot be broken, nothing can ever separate us from the love of God

So who am I?  I am an overcomer because I share His life.  “And His commands are not burdensome, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. (a gift from God Ephesians 2) Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God. And this is the testimony God has given us eternal life and the life is in His Son. He who has the Son of God has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. ( I John 5)