|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:20-23 Our Lord especially prayed, that all believers might be as one body under one head, animated by one soul, by their union with Christ and the Father in him, through the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. The more they dispute about lesser things, the more they throw doubts upon Christianity. Let us endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, praying that all believers may be more and more united in one mind and one judgment. Thus shall we convince the world of the truth and excellence of our religion, and find more sweet communion with God and his saints.
Verses 20-26. -
(3) Prayer for the Church Catholic in all time. Verse 20. - Neither do I pray (ἐρωτῶ) for - concerning these alone, but also for those who believe on me through their word. The Lord summons the future into the present. He speaks of having once for all sent them, and he sees rising before his eye the multitudes in all ages who would believe their testimony as if already doing so. The universal Church rejoices in the fullness of his love and the greatness of his wish concerning the individuals who believe. The prayer is an eternal intercession.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Neither pray I for these alone,.... Meaning his immediate apostles and disciples, for whose preservation and sanctification he had been particularly praying in John 17:19; and now, that it might not be thought that these were his only favourites, and the only persons he had a regard for, and to whom his intercession and sacrifice were confined; he adds,
but for them also which shall believe in me through their word: Christ is the object of true faith; which faith is not a mere assent of the mind to any truth concerning Christ, as that he is the Son of God, the Messiah and Saviour of the world; but it is a spiritual sight of him, of the necessity, fitness, and suitableness of him as a Saviour, a going forth unto him, laying hold on him, and depending upon him for life and salvation; of which the preaching of the Gospel is the instrumental means: it is indeed a gift of God, and a fruit of electing grace, and which is secured by it; hence our Lord knew that there would be a number, in all successive generations, that would believe in him, through the ministry of the word; and for these persons, and their conversion, and the success of the Gospel, to the good of their souls, he prays.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20-23. Neither pray I for these alone—This very important explanation, uttered in condescension to the hearers and readers of this prayer in all time, is meant not merely of what follows, but of the whole prayer.
them also which shall believe—The majority of the best manuscripts read "which believe," all future time being viewed as present, while the present is viewed as past and gone.
John 17:20 Parallel Commentaries
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