|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
17:1-5 Our Lord prayed as a man, and as the Mediator of his people; yet he spoke with majesty and authority, as one with and equal to the Father. Eternal life could not be given to believers, unless Christ, their Surety, both glorified the Father, and was glorified of him. This is the sinner's way to eternal life, and when this knowledge shall be made perfect, holiness and happiness will be fully enjoyed. The holiness and happiness of the redeemed, are especially that glory of Christ, and of his Father, which was the joy set before him, for which he endured the cross and despised the shame; this glory was the end of the sorrow of his soul, and in obtaining it he was fully satisfied. Thus we are taught that our glorifying God is needed as an evidence of our interest in Christ, through whom eternal life is God's free gift.
Verse 4. - He continues the prayer which he is offering for himself: I glorified thee on the earth, having finished the work which thou hast given me to do. Many expositors urge a proleptical or anticipatory assertion of the completion of his earthly work, as though the Passion were already over, and he were now uttering the consummatum est of the cross. This is, however, included in the next clause. The night has come when the earthly ministry is at an end. The Jesus Christ, whom the Father has sent, has completed his task. The whole work of the earthly manifestation of the Word was at an. end. Suffering remains, the issues of the conflict with evil have to be encountered; but the die is cast - the thing is done. The godly life, as well as the atoning death, are correlative parts of the merits and work of Christ, and have glorified the Father. But what a self-consciousness beams forth in these simple words! St. Paul, on the verge of his martyrdom, in the midst of the horrors of the Neronian persecution, exclaimed, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course." But our Lord is unconscious of any coming short of the glory of God; and he even counts on higher power to glorify God by returning to a position which he had for a while vacated.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I have glorified thee on the earth,.... This is made use of as a reason and argument, why the Father should glorify him: Christ glorified his Father personally, as he held forth and expressed the glory of his person; and verbally, by ascribing, on all occasions, praise and glory to him; and really, or by deeds, and that by various ways: as in and by his ministry; by asserting he had his mission, qualifications, and doctrine, from him as a prophet; his principal work was to declare his Father's mind and will, his love and grace; nor did he seek his own, but his Father's glory: and by his miracles: for though these were proofs of his deity and Messiahship, and displays of his own glory; yet the glory of his Father, especially of his power, was eminently seen in them, for he referred them to him; and these were often the means of men's glorifying the God of Israel: and by his whole life and conversation, which was entirely according to the will of God; and every action of it was directed to his glory; particularly he glorified him by his early regard to his will, and the business he sent him about; by his zeal for his Father's house; and by the exercise of the various graces of faith, hope, and love upon him: and as by his life, so at his death, even all the while he was "on the earth"; where God had been dishonoured by the sin of men; where Christ now was debased in human nature, and even that was for the glory of God; and this is said in distinction from heaven, where God is glorified by the angels, and where Christ would shortly be glorified in his human nature:
I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do; by "the work" is meant obedience to the will of God; the destruction of all spiritual enemies, as sin, Satan, the world, and death; and the redemption and salvation of his people, which was "given" him to do: he did not take it upon himself, but being called to it he readily accepted of it; it was appointed, and cut out for him, in the council and covenant of grace; he was thoroughly acquainted with it; and though it was difficult, it was pleasant and delightful to him; nor did he leave it till he could say it is "finished"; as it was by himself alone, without the help of man; and is so complete that nothing can be added to it; and so firmly done, that it cannot be unravelled by men and devils: he speaks of it as done, because the time was come to finish it, and he was sure of the accomplishment of it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4, 5. I have glorified thee on the earth—rather, "I glorified" (for the thing is conceived as now past).
I have finished—I finished.
the work which thou gavest me to do—It is very important to preserve in the translation the past tense, used in the original, otherwise it might be thought that the work already "finished" was only what He had done before uttering that prayer; whereas it will be observed that our Lord speaks throughout as already beyond this present scene (Joh 17:12, &c.), and so must be supposed to include in His "finished work" the "decease which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem."
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