The words of John 17 are words of parting. Jesus would be leaving this earth to return from whence He came. Parting words are always filled with great emotion. Each word is chosen deliberately for they will never be repeated, here. For they who attend this final communication the full intent of a life is usually the discussion. Among men, divestiture of goods along with personal direction is the labor of that moment. Feelings being hurt or pride being marred is not an option that is considered. The method of communication we have with the Father is not here shown, for Jesus was not praying as a man, for a man He was not. A very distinct meaning of the verb erotao is to pray, but in distinction from the verb aiteo. Erotao provides the most delicate and tender expression with the One asking and the One by some scholars teach being asked as on an equal level. Erotao is generally more conversational and at times may express a more intimate relation between the parties. It should be noted that Jesus always used erotao in His prayers to the Father (John 14:16) whereas the disciples used aiteo in their prayers to God. When we pray, an inferior being is asking a superior Being, leaving it up to the superior One to do that which pleases Him. The word in the Greek language for prayer when men pray to God is proseuchomai, a deponent verb where pros implies praying to God, a superior Being and embraces all that is known and included in the idea of prayer: thanks, asking, or requesting special things. The special word for prayer in worship when this function is mentioned is proskuueo which literally means to crouch, crawl, prostrate oneself before another.
“He lifted up His eyes to heaven.” This is the proper instruction for it is from heaven “every good and perfect gift comes.” James 1:17 Heaven is the Greek word ouranous and is defined as the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately where God dwells. It is only appropriate that Jesus lifted up His eyes to heaven.
As Christ called God, Father, by example and instruction so call Him we the same. As Christ directed prayer ONLY to the Father, not the Holy Spirit, not Mary, nor any saint, so we direct our prayers. All who have the spirit of adoption are commanded to call God Abba Father, Galatians 4:6, while they who seek no proper address show their claim on Him as empty as their address!! Instruction comes in many fashions but that which is seen and described cannot be ignored or altered without instruction or allowance. It will be great use to us to call God Father as we hope to find Him to be the same for our direction and encouragement.
It is absolute that instruction can attend prayer. At this point in the “great Mystery” Him who would become the Mediator of all the redeemed had a request, wrought with tender expression, as we who now depend on Him, request. The success of His journey depended keeping the redeemed, saved. He would play such a role for His “purchased possession.” As He has had the heart of the petitioner so He could bless our efforts more effectively. It was not that He was asking for this privilege as much as He was teaching they who attended this prayer with information as yet to be revealed. No one knew the plan from the foundations of the world but They who had participated in the development and now the actual reality of bringing that plan into existence. It was not a bold or daring move of Christ to directly petition the Father, it was that natural of eternal beings, that which we became, that expresses the filial relationship we so thankfully possess. Prayer was not a demand on the sinner as sin had cut the sinner off from the Throne Room. Isaiah 59:1-2 Prayer was not the demand of the sinless for the sinless had constant fellowship with the Father in Heaven that had never been interrupted. So, children with no sin, a few of the prophets, and Christ were the only travelers of this road of blessed happiness. It would be 55 days before men on earth could approach such a blessed throne and that only because they had been they who would have been blessed with the “faith, grace, plan” that would allow them and ourselves this sacred retreat from sin because of the shed blood of the only true Son of God. Christ was not trying out something new and revolutionary, He had many times spent all night speaking with our Father and it should be noted that instructionally, He always called Him, Father even though we might assume there were other appellations with which He could have addressed Him of which we are not privy!! Christ claimed HAD COMPLETED His part of the plan even though He had not yet died!