Bible Study Guides – Christ Prays for His Disciples

August 27 – September 2, 2017

 Key Text

“I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me” (John 17:23).

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 685–690.


“The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have.” The Acts of the Apostles, 475.



  •  Having concluded His instructions to the disciples, for what did Jesus pray? John 17:1–3.

Note: “The knowledge of God as revealed in Christ is the knowledge that all who are saved must have. This is the knowledge that works transformation of character. Received into the life, it will re-create the soul in the image of Christ. This is the knowledge that God invites His children to receive, beside which all else is vanity and nothingness.” The Acts of the Apostles, 475.

  • Compare Hosea 6:3 with John 17:3 to understand the result of knowing Christ.

Note: “ ‘This is life eternal,’ Christ declared, ‘that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent’ (John 17:3). These words mean much. It is only by knowing Christ that we can know God. The Sent of God calls upon all to listen to these words. They are the words of God, and all should give heed to them; for by them they will be judged. To know Christ savingly is to be vitalized by spiritual knowledge, to practise [sic] His words. Without this, all else is valueless.” The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1898.



  •  Concerning the words of Christ, what conviction did the disciples reach as a result of their association with Him? John 7:17; 17:7.
  • What did Jesus then declare about the belief of the apostles? John 17:8. How do these words apply to us today?

Note: “[John 17:3, 8 quoted.] Here is the work laid before us, to be representatives of Christ, as He in our world was the representative of the Father. We are to teach the words given us in the lessons of Christ. … We are in the antitypical day of atonement, and not only are we to humble our hearts before God and confess our sins but we are, by all our educating talent, to seek to instruct those with whom we are brought in contact, and to bring them by precept and example to know God and Jesus Christ whom He hath sent.” Christian Education, 157.

  • In whose behalf, specifically, did Jesus offer His prayer in John 17? John 17:9.

Note: “He [our great High Priest] is making intercession for the most lowly, the most oppressed and suffering, for the most tried and tempted ones.” The Review and Herald, August 15, 1893.

  • How is Jesus glorified through His disciples? John 17:10, 11. What is necessary in order for this work to occur?

Note: “Only as they were united with Christ could the disciples hope to have the accompanying power of the Holy Spirit and the cooperation of angels of heaven. With the help of these divine agencies they would present before the world a united front and would be victorious in the conflict they were compelled to wage unceasingly against the powers of darkness. As they should continue to labor unitedly, heavenly messengers would go before them, opening the way; hearts would be prepared for the reception of truth, and many would be won to Christ.” The Acts of the Apostles, 90, 91.



  •  In the prayer of Christ, what point is repeatedly mentioned as essential for the church? John 17:21–23.

Note: “He [Christ] prays that His disciples may be one, even as He and the Father are one; and this unity of believers is to be as testimony to the world that He has sent us, and that we bear the evidence of His grace.

“We are to be brought into a sacred nearness with the world’s Redeemer. We are to be one with Christ, as He is one with the Father. What a wonderful change the people of God experience in coming into unity with the Son of God! We are to have our tastes, inclinations, ambitions, and passions all subdued, and brought into harmony with the mind and spirit of Christ. This is the very work that the Lord is willing to do for those who believe in Him. Our life and deportment are to have a molding power in the world. The spirit of Christ is to have a controlling influence over the life of His followers, so that they will speak and act like Jesus.” The Review and Herald, July 2, 1889.

  • How can church unity be achieved and maintained? 1John 1:7.

Note: “A union of believers with Christ will as a natural result lead to a union with one another, which bond of union is the most enduring upon earth. We are one in Christ, as Christ is one with the Father. Christians are branches, and only branches, in the living Vine. One branch is not to borrow its sustenance from another. Our life must come from the parent vine. It is only by personal union with Christ, by communion with Him daily, hourly, that we can bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 47, 48.

“The success of our work depends upon our love to God and our love to our fellowmen. When there is harmonious action among the individual members of the church, when there is love and confidence manifested by brother to brother, there will be proportionate force and power in our work for the salvation of men. Oh, how greatly we need a moral renovation! Without the faith that works by love, you can do nothing. May the Lord give you hearts to receive this testimony.”

Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, 188.



  •  What does Christ say concerning His disciples and the world? John 17:13, 14; 1John 2:15; James 4:4.

Note: “The early Christians were indeed a peculiar people. Their blameless deportment and unswerving faith were a continual reproof that disturbed the sinner’s peace. Though few in numbers, without wealth, position, or honorary titles, they were a terror to evildoers wherever their character and doctrines were known. Therefore they were hated by the wicked, even as Abel was hated by the ungodly Cain. For the same reason that Cain slew Abel, did those who sought to throw off the restraint of the Holy Spirit, put to death God’s people. It was for the same reason that the Jews rejected and crucified the Saviour—because the purity and holiness of His character was a constant rebuke to their selfishness and corruption. From the days of Christ until now His faithful disciples have excited the hatred and opposition of those who love and follow the ways of sin.” The Great Controversy, 46.

  • What is God’s plan for His children as far as the influences of the world are concerned? John 17:15, 16.

Note: “By His own example the Saviour has shown that His followers can be in the world and yet not of the world. He came not to partake of its delusive pleasures, to be swayed by its customs, and to follow its practices, but to do His Father’s will, to seek and save the lost. With this object before him the Christian may stand uncontaminated in any surroundings. Whatever his station or circumstances, exalted or humble, he will manifest the power of true religion in the faithful performance of duty.” The Acts of the Apostles, 467.

“It is impossible for any to discern the truth while the world has their affections. The world comes between them and God, beclouding the vision and benumbing the sensibilities to such a degree that it is impossible for them to discern sacred things.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 530, 531.



  •  Whom else did Christ include in His mediatory prayer? John 17:20.

Note: “All that Christ was to the disciples, He desires to be to His children today; for in that last prayer, with the little band of disciples gathered about Him, He said, ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word’ (John 17:20).” Steps to Christ, 75.

  • What assurance do we have that Christ’s watchcare, through the Holy Spirit, is over us today? John 14:16.

Note: “The words spoken to the disciples are spoken also to us. The Comforter is ours as well as theirs. The Spirit furnishes the strength that sustains striving, wrestling souls in every emergency, amidst the hatred of the world, and the realization of their own failures and mistakes. In sorrow and affliction, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone—these are the times when, in answer to the prayer of faith, the Holy Spirit brings comfort to the heart.” The Acts of the Apostles, 51.

  • What desire did Jesus manifest in behalf of His people at the end of His prayer? John 17:24.



1      What can I do to promote unity among the believers?
2      How can I benefit from Christ’s prayer in behalf of His disciples?
3      In what ways can I develop a deeper knowledge of the name of God?
4      Explain Christ’s saying: “They are not of this world.”
5      What can I do to glorify Christ more fully?

Copyright © 2004 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, 5240 Hollins Road, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.