ICC New Testament Commentary
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:17:1 ff. Of the Prayer of Jesus which is now recorded, it would be too much to suppose that we have the exact words, or even an exact translation of the Aramaic words which He used. We have not here a shorthand report, taken down at the time, but rather the substance of sacred intercessions preserved for half a century in the memory of a disciple. On the other hand, the occasion must have been felt by all who were present to be specially momentous, and the words used of extraordinary significance. They would be remembered when other things were forgotten, as the Last Prayer of Jesus, said in the hearing of His disciples, when the Last Discourse was ended, before He went to meet the Cross. The topics upon which He dwelt—His coming glorification, His committal of His chosen friends to the compassionate protection of the Father while they were in the world with its trials, His intercession for those other disciples who were to receive the Gospel through the ministry of the Eleven, His prayer that the mutual love of Christian for Christian might at last convince the hostile world of the truth of His claims—these things could never pass from the memory of one who heard Him speak of them at the last. Phrase after phrase is repeated, and more than once, as is characteristic of the style of Jn.; but Jn. is drawing all the while upon the tenacious memory of an old man recalling the greatest days of his life. This, at any rate, seems more probable than the hypothesis that the Prayer is a free composition of the evangelist himself. To take such a view would be to ascribe the deepest thoughts in the Fourth Gospel to the disciple rather than to the Master. As Harnack says, the confidence with which Jn. makes Jesus address the Father. “Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world” (v. 24), “is undoubtedly the direct reflection of the certainty with which Jesus Himself spoke.”1
No other long prayer of Jesus is recorded. His habit of prayer at crises or great moments is often mentioned (Mark 1:35, Mark 6:46, Luke 3:21, Luke 3:5:16, Luke 3:6:12, Luke 3:9:18, Luke 3:28, Luke 3:11:1), but these prayers were usually (as it seems) offered in private, and were overheard by none. Something, however, of His methods of prayer may be gathered from the Synoptists. Two, at any rate, of His ejaculations from the Cross were verses of the Psalms (Psalm 22:1, Psalm 31:5), hallowed by long and venerable use. That they should come to His lips in the agony of death, shows that they were familiarly used by Him in life. Again, it was His habit to begin with the word “Father” (cf. Luke 22:42, Luke 22:23:34, Luke 22:46, Matthew 11:25, and John 11:41, John 12:27), as this great Prayer begins (17:1). He prayed, at the end at least, for His own needs, when distressed in spirit (Luke 22:43, John 12:27), and the prayer of c. 17 begins with intercession for Himself. He prayed for His disciples (Luke 22:32), and He is represented as doing so in 17:9-19. The solemn note of thanksgiving at the beginning of His Prayer of Consecration (17:1, 2) has a parallel at John 11:41, and also in Matthew 11:25f., a passage which recalls the manner of John 17:1-3 more than any other passage in the Gospels: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes; yea, Father, for so it was well pleasing in Thy sight. All things have been delivered unto me of my Father, etc.”
It has been pointed out1 that several of the thoughts underlying the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus prescribed for the use of His disciples, appear also in the great Prayer of Intercession in c. 17. With the opening address, “Our Father,” cf. 17:1, 5, 11, 21, 24, 25 where “Father” is used in the special and personal sense in which Jesus was accustomed to use it. “Hallowed be Thy Name” is recalled, vv. 6, 11, 12, 26. Perhaps “Thy kingdom come” is the form in which we may express something of what Christ expressed when He said “Glorify Thy Son” (vv. 1, 5). “As in heaven, so in earth,” has echoes in vv. 4, 5 With “lead us not into temptation” cf. “I kept them … I guarded them” (v. 12). And “deliver us from evil” is almost verbally reproduced (v. 15).
None of these coincidences or parallels is likely to have been invented by one setting himself to compose a prayer for the lips of Christ on the eve of His Passion; but, when taken together, they show that the spirit which breathes throughout c. 17 is similar to that with which we have been made familiar when reading Jesus’ words as recorded by the Synoptists and elsewhere in Jn.
The prayer of c. 17 falls naturally into three divisions. First, Jesus prays for Himself (vv. 1-8); then, for the eleven apostles, His intimate friends (vv. 9-19); and lastly, for the disciples of future generations, who were to be evangelised through the ministry begun by the apostles (vv. 20-26). That is, the prayer begins with what is immediate, intimate, and urgent, and only gradually passes into intercession for that which is distant and of universal import.
The Prayer of Jesus for Himself, and His Thanksgiving (17:1-8)
17:1. ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν Ἰησοῦς, “these things said Jesus,” viz. the discourse ending 14:31. The rec. has ὁ before Ἰης. but אBΘ om. See on 1:29.
καὶ ἐπάρας τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς κτλ. See on 11:41. The rec. text has ἐπῆρε … καὶ εἶπε with AC3NΓΔ; but ἐπάρας … εἶπεν is found in אBC*DLWΘ.
πάτερ. For this beginning of the prayers of Jesus, see on 11:41; πάτερ is repeated, vv. 5, 11, 21, 24, 25.
ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα, sc. the hour of His “glorification,” as He had already told them (13:31, 32 and 12:23), had come. The same prescience is ascribed to Him at Gethsemane in Mark 14:41. The idea that the whole course of His Ministry and Passion was predetermined runs through the Gospel, e.g. 7:30, 8:20, 13:1; see on 2:4.
δόξασόν σου τὸν υἱόν. Here is the only personal intercession throughout this Prayer of Consecration. He cared nothing for the “glory” which men can bestow (cf. 8:50, ἐγὼ οὐ ζητῶ τὴν δόξαν μου), but He prays that the Father may “glorify” Him in His impending Passion (cf. 12:16, 23, 13:31, 32, and see on 7:39 for this use of δοξαζω). This goes deeper than a prayer for support in the hour of death. A martyr might pray for such signal measures of grace to be bestowed in the day of trial, that all who perceived his courage and faith might recognise that he was honoured of God. The “glorification” of Jesus included this. The centurion, standing by the Cross, was constrained to say, as he watched the bearing of the Crucified, “Truly this man was the Son of God” (Mark 15:39, Matthew 27:54; cf. Luke 23:47). But there was more than this. The “glorification” of Jesus in the Passion was the Divine acceptance of His Sacrifice by the Father, the sealing of His Mission as complete. Cf. Php 2:9, “Wherefore God highly exalted Him (ὑπερύψωσεν) and gave Him the Name that is above every name.”
ἵνα ὁ υἱὸς δοξάσῃ σέ. The redemption of mankind through the Crucified is a glorification of the Father. The final cause of the Passion, viewed sub specie æternitatis, is “ad majorem dei gloriam,” as was every incident in the ministry of Jesus. See on 11:4 and cf. 1 Peter 4:11.
2. The constr. ἵνα … καθὼς … ἵνα, which we have here, appears also 13:34, 17:21, in each case the clause introduced by καθώς being parenthetical, and the second ἵνα being reiterative, the clause following it being identical in meaning with that introduced by the first ἵνα. Consequently ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ κτλ. in this verse is only another way of saying ἵνα ὁ υἱὸς δοξάσῃ σέ of v. 1.
καθὼς ἔδωκας αὐτῷ ἐξουσίαν κτλ. To the Son, the Father gave authority to determine the final destinies of mankind (see on 5:27). His ἐξουσία is over “all flesh” (although not fully acknowledged by the world), πᾶσα σάρξ being the rendering of the phrase בָּל־בָּשָׂד, very common in the O.T., representing all humanity in its weakness (see Hort on 1 Peter 1:24), but infrequent in the N.T. except in quotations (cf. Matthew 24:22, Romans 3:20, 1 Corinthians 1:29, Galatians 2:16).
ἵνα πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ κτλ. The meaning is “that He may give eternal life to all whom thou hast given to Him” (see on 6:37), the latter clause limiting the πᾶσα σάρξ which has preceded. This consummation of His redemptive work is the “glorification” of the Father by the Son.
πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ. The constr. with a nom.-pendens is like πᾶν ὃ δέδωκέν μοι of 6:39, where see the note on the collective use of the neuter singular, which perhaps is here a forecast of ἵνα … ἓν ὦσιν of v. 21. πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῲ is the Universal Church (cf. v. 24).
There are many variants for δώσῃ (אcAC). Westcott adopts δώσει (with BNΓΔΘ), but ἵνα with the future is infrequent in Jn. א* has δώσω, and D avoids all difficulty of construction by reading ἔχῃ, and omitting αὐτοῖς. See Abbott (Diat. 2422, 2690, 2740).
ἵνα … δώσῃ αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον. Cf. 10:28, 1 John 2:25, Romans 6:23, and see on 6:39, 40; and for the conception of ζωὴ αἰωνίος, see on 4:14.
αὐτοῖς refers to all who are included in πᾶν ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ, with disregard of formal grammar. As Blass notes (Gram. p. 166), this is a usage with classical precedent.
3. This verse seems to be an explanatory comment on the phrase “eternal life,” which the evangelist says that Jesus used in His prayer. Jn. often supplies such comments (see Introd., p. cxvi), and this is quite in his manner. To suppose that he means to represent Jesus as introducing a definition of “eternal life” into His prayer, and as calling Himself “Jesus Christ” when speaking to His Father, is not a probable hypothesis. Further, the sequence of thought from v. 2 to v. 4 is direct, and the interposition of a parenthesis in a prayer is unlikely.
αὕτη δέ ἐστιν … ἵνα … For this Johannine construction, cf. 1 John 3:11, 1 John 5:3 (also 15:12).
אBCΘ have γινώσκωσιν, but ADLNWΔ read γινώσκουσιν.
For the possibility of “knowing” the Father, see on 14:7: the present tense (γινώσκωσιν) marking that continual growth in the knowledge of God which is a characteristic of spiritual life, as physical growth is a characteristic of bodily life. The prophet’s ideal was, “We will follow on to know the Lord,” διώξομεν τοῦ γνῶναι τὸν κύριον (Hosea 6:3). Cf. Jeremiah 9:24.
τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεόν. For μόνος as applied to God, see on 5:44 above. He is described as ἀληθινός, Exodus 34:6, Numbers 14:18, Numbers 14:1 Esd. 8:39, Psalm 86:15, 1 Thessalonians 1:9, Revelation 6:10; and cf. especially 1 John 5:20, οὗτός ἐστιν ὁ ἀληθινὸς θεὸς καὶ ζωὴ αἰώνιος. For ἀληθινός, see on 1:9. The adjectives μόνος and ἀληθινός express the central truth of Monotheism.
Wetstein quotes a verbal parallel from Athenæus (vi. p. 523c): describing the flattery of the Athenians in their reception of Demetrius, he says, ἐπᾴδοντες, ὡς εἴη μόνος θεις ἀληινός. This shows how natural is the combination of μόνις and ἀληθινός. Cf. Philo, Leg. All. ii. 17, μὰ τὸν ἀληθῆ μόνον θεόν.
That to know God is, itself, eternal life, is a doctrine which has its roots in Jewish sapiential literature. Wisdom “is a tree of life to them that lay hold on her” (Proverbs 3:18). Again, περίσσεια γνώσεως τῆς σοφίας ζωοποιήσει τὸν παρʼ αὐτῆς (Ecclesiastes 7:12). An even nearer parallel to Jn.’s definition of eternal life is: εἰδέναι σου τὸ κράτος ῥίζα ἀθανασίας (Wisd. 15:3).
Alford appositely cites the words of Irenæus: ἡ δὲ ὕπαρξις τῆς ζωῆς ἐκ τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ παραγίνεται μετοχῆς· μετοχὴ δὲ θεοῦ ἐστὶ τὸ γινώσκειν θεόν, καὶ ἀπολαύειν τῆς χρηστότητος αὐτοῦ (Hær. iv. 20. 5). A little lower down (§ 5, where the Greek is deficient) Irenæus combines with wonderful insight the two thoughts that the giving of eternal life by the Son is a glorification of the Father (v. 2), and that eternal life is the knowledge of God (v. 3), although he does not cite the present passage. “Gloria enim dei uiuens homo; uita autem hominis uisio dei.” It would not be easy to express these profound thoughts more succinctly.
The writer of the last paragraphs of the Epistle to Diognetus (whom Lightfoot identifies with Pantænus1), commenting on the presence in Paradise of both the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life, says: οὐδὲ γὰρ ζωὴ ἄνευ γνώσεως, οὐδὲ γνῶσις ἀσφαλὴς ἄνευ ζωῆς ἀληθοῦς (§ 12. 4).
καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰη. χρ. To “know” Jesus Christ is eternal life; cf. 6:68. Jn. treats this knowledge as on a par with the knowledge of “the only true God.” So the apostles were bidden to “believe” not only in God, but in Christ (14:1).
For the thought of Jesus as “sent” by God (cf. vv. 8, 18, 21, 23, 25), see on 3:17 above.
The only other place in the Fourth Gospel where the historical name “Jesus Christ” occurs Isaiah 1:17 (see note, in loc.)
4. ἐγώ σε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. This is in direct sequence with v. 2 (v. 3 being parenthetical). He had spoken of the “glorification” of the Father by Him, which was to be consummated in the gift of eternal life through His ministry to those whom the Father had given Him. This “glorification” had been His aim throughout His earthly sojourn. “I glorified Thee on earth” (the aorist ἐδόξασα being the aorist of historical retrospect) by making known as never before the nature of God.
τὸ ἔργον τελειώσας ὃ δέδωκάς μοι ἵνα ποιήσω. This had been His purpose throughout (see on 4:34), from the day when He asked οὐκ ᾔδειτε ὅτι ἐν τοῖς τοῦ πατρός μου δεῖ εἶναί με; (Luke 2:49). His “works” had been “given” Him by the Father to accomplish (3:35, 5:36). They had now been accomplished, and presently He would say τετέλεσται (19:30).
For τελειώσας (אABCLNW) the rec. (with Θ) has ἐτελείωσα, and for δέδωκας (אABLNΘ) CDW have ἔδωκας. The variants δέδωκα, ἔδωκα frequently occur (cf. vv. 6, 8, 24, etc.) in similar contexts throughout the Gospel. Abbott (Diat. 2454) holds that “the aorist usually describes gifts regarded as given by the Father to the Son on His coming into the world to proclaim the Gospel; the perfect describes gifts regarded as having been given to the Son and as now belonging to Him.” But we cannot always press this distinction.
5. καὶ νῦν, “and now,” that this earthly ministry is ended (cf. 14:29 for καὶ νῦν).
δόξασόν με. There is emphasis on νῦν. The glorification prayed for here transcends the glorification in the Passion prayed for in v. 1. Here the thought is of a heavenly glorification already predicted, 13:32, ὁ θεὸς δοξάσει αὐτὸν ἐν αὐτῷ. For Jesus asks now, with lofty assurance (σύ, πάτερ), that the eternal glory which was His before the Incarnation (cf. 1:1) may be resumed in fellowship with the Father (παρὰ σεαυτῷ … παρὰ σοί). Cf. Proverbs 8:30, John 6:62, and Revelation 3:21. The glory of the Eternal Word is distinguishable from the glory of the Incarnate Word (see on 1:14); the spheres of life are different, ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (v. 4) implying the Incarnate Life, but παρὰ σεαυτῷ implying life in the bosom of the Godhead.
As He had said, “Before Abraham was, I am” (8:58), so here He expresses His sure conviction that He was in eternal relation with God. τῇ δόξῃ ᾗ εἶχον … παρὰ σοί indicates a real, and not only an ideal, pre-existence.
πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον εἶναι. See 1:1, v. 24, and cf. Proverbs 8:23. For κόσμος, see on 1:9.
6. ἐφανέρωσά σου τὸ ὄνομα. This means the same thing as ἐγώ σε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς of v. 4, and as ἐγνώρισα τὸ ὄνομά σου of v. 26, although different phrases are used to bring out the full meaning. For the “Name” of God as indicating His true nature, see on 12:28 and especially on v. 11 below.
For the verb φανεροῦν, see on 1:31.
One of the Messianic Psalms has the aspiration, διηγήσομαι τὸ ὄνομά σου τοῖς ἀδελφοῖς μου (Psalm 22:22), and in the apostolic age the words were interpreted of Christ (Hebrews 2:12). As He looks back on His ministry, He can say that this has been accomplished: ἐφανέρωσά σου τὸ ὄνομα. Although the disciples had not appreciated all of His teaching, they had learnt, through Him, something more of the nature of God than any Jew had learnt before.
τοῖς ἀνθρώποις οὓς ἔδωκάς μοι ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου. See on 6:37 for the thought of disciples being “given” to the Son by the Father, which recurs throughout the Priestly Prayer of Jesus (vv. 2, 9, 12, 24).
σοὶ ἦσαν, “they were thine,” and σοί εἰσιν, “they are thine” (v. 9). This means more than that they were “Israelites indeed” (1:47); it is rather that they were among the men ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ of whom He spoke before (8:47).
καὶ τὸν λόγον σου τετήρηκαν. This was some of the fruit of His ministry; the chosen disciples (except Judas) had “kept” the Divine word revealed to them through Jesus. Cf. 8:51, 14:23 for the phrase τὸν λόγον τηρεῖν, and see on 5:38.
ἔδωκας (אABDWΘ) is the true reading in this verse, in both places where it occurs, as against the rec. δέδωκας. The reference is to the definite “gift” of the faithful disciples chosen ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου. See on v. 4 above.
There is a passage in the Odes of Solomon (xxxi. 4, 5) which recalls the thought of this verse: “He offered to Him the sons that were in His hands. And His face was justified, for thus His holy Father had given to Him.” Cf. also v. 11.
7. νῦν ἔγνωκαν κτλ. The disciples had said (16:30) νῦν οἴδαμεν ὄτι οἶδας πάντα κτλ., but their confidence was not so deep-rooted as they had supposed. Yet they had come to recognise (ἔγνωκαν expressing the gradual growth of their spiritual insight) that His words were divine (v. 8), or (as it is expressed in this verse) that “all things which Thou hast given me are from Thee” (see on 3:35).
Godet calls attention to the apparent scantiness of the spiritual harvest for which Jesus gives thanks in these verses. “Eleven Galilæan peasants after three years’ labour ! But it is enough for Jesus, for in these eleven He beholds the pledge of the continuance of God’s work upon earth.”
For ἔγνωκαν, there is a Western variant, ἔγνων (א latt. syrr.), the mistaken correction of a scribe who returns to the first person of v. 6.
For δέδωκας (see on v. 4), AB have ἔδωκας. And for εἰσίν (אBCLNW) the rec. has ἐστίν, with ADΓΔΘ.
8. ὅτι τὰ ῥήματα κτλ., “that the words which Thou gavest me I have given unto them.” For ῥήματα, see on 3:34: cf. 5:47, 6:63, 68.
These “words” of Jesus were “given” Him by the Father, as has been said before. See on 12:49, and cf. 15:15, 17:14.
καὶ αὐτοὶ ἔλαβον. The chosen disciples had received and appropriated His words, which “abode” in them (cf. 15:7). Here was the token that the disciples were, indeed, ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ (cf. 8:47).
The rec. has δέδωκας (so אLNΓΔΘ) for ἔδωκας (ABCDW), but the sense requires the aorist here (see on v. 4). The ῥήματα of Jesus were “given” to Him by the Father, when He entered on His mission (see on 3:35).
καὶ ἔγνωσαν … καὶ ἐπίστευσαν. Here, again, we have the aorist tense. The disciples recognised, “knew of a truth,” i.e. inferred from what they saw and heard, that Jesus had come from God (cf. 3:2); and, further, they believed (for this was not a matter of merely intellectual inference) that God had sent Him. But perhaps we must not lay stress on the distinction between ἔγνωσαν and ἐπίστευσαν here; for at 16:27 Jesus has already said to the Eleven, πεπιστεύκατε ὅτι ἐγὼ παρὰ τοῦ πατρὸς ἐξῆλθον. And at 8:42 οὐδὲ γὰρ ἀπʼ ἐμαυτοῦ ἐλήλυθα, ἀλλʼ ἐκεῖνός με ἀπέστειλεν is a single sentence, the “sending” by the Father being the only possible alternative to Jesus having come “of Himself.” Cf. 11:42 ἵνα πιστεύσωσιν ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας, and for the “sending” of the Son by the Father, see on 3:17. For the combination of πεπιστεύκαμεν and ἐγνώκαμεν, see on 6:69.
σύ με ἀπέστειλας is found five times in this Prayer of Christ (cf. vv. 18, 21, 23, 25), the phrase being repeated like a kind of solemn refrain (see on 15:21)
The Prayer of Jesus for the Eleven—(1) that They May Be Divinely Guarded (vv. 9-16) and (2) that They May Be Consecrated Men (vv. 17-19)
9. ἐγὼ περὶ αὐτῶν ἐρωτῶ. From v. 9 to v. 19, we have the prayer of Jesus for His chosen disciples, that the Father may guard them from evil, and that He may sanctify them in the truth. He had prayed for Peter that his faith should not fail (Luke 22:32), but this prayer does not contemplate any failure of faith among the Eleven, in the days to come when their Master had returned to His glory. For ἐρωτᾶν, which is the verb generally used by Jesus of His own prayers, see on 11:22, 16:23, and cf. 16:26, 14:16.
οὐ περὶ τοῦ κόσμου ἐρωτῶ, i.e. “I am not praying for the world now”; the prayers which follow were for those who loved Him, not for those who rejected Him. But this is not to be interpreted as indicating that Jesus never prayed for His enemies (cf. Luke 23:34 and His own precept Matthew 5:44). The κόσμος (see on 1:9) was hostile to Him, but God loved it (3:16); and even this Prayer of c. 17, which was primarily a prayer for Himself and His own disciples, present and future, does not exclude the thought of the world’s acceptance of Him at last (v. 21).
The language of 1 John 5:16, “there is a sin unto death: I do not say that he should pray (ἐρωτήσῃ) for that,” is verbally similar, but the thought there is different, viz. of the propriety or duty of praying for a fellow-Christian whose sin is πρὸς θάνατον.
ἀλλὰ περὶ ὧν δέδωκάς μοι, ὅτι σοί εἰσιν, sc. because they are God’s. See on v. 6, from which verse this clause is repeated.
Only in this chap. (cf. vv. 15, 20) is ἐρωτᾶν used by Jn. absolutely or intransitively, being generally followed by the account of the person who is asked either to give something or to reply. See on :7.
10. καὶ τὰ ἐμὰ πάντα σά ἐστιν. So He had said before; see on 16:15.
καὶ τὰ σὰ ἐμά. This goes further than the preceding clause. Meyer cites Luther’s comment: “This no creature can say in reference to God.”
καὶ δεδόξασμαι ἐν αὐτοῖς. The apostles were Jesus’ own men, not only because the Father “gave” them to Him, when they were chosen, not only because all that belonged to the
Father belonged to Him, but for the additional reason that He had been “glorified” in them. He was “glorified” in the physical miracle of the Raising of Lazarus (11:4), much more in the spiritual miracle of the faith of the Eleven. They exhibited and continued to exhibit (note the perfect tense δεδόξασμαι) the power of the message which He brought. So Paul said of his Thessalonian converts ὑμεῖς γάρ ἐστε ἡ δόξα ἡμῶν (1 Thessalonians 2:20). Cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:10 of the future “glorification” of Christ in His saints.
Through misunderstanding of the meaning, for δεδόξασμαι D has ἐδόξασάς με (cf. v. 1).
11. The occasion and ground of the prayer are now more distinctly stated. He is going away from the disciples whom He had trained and guarded; henceforth the relations between Him and them will be different from those of the days of His ministry in the flesh. He had told them about this, but they had hardly understood it (13:33, 36; cf. 16:10, 16). They will need a special measure of the Father’s care. Swinburne has finely paraphrased some of the thoughts behind vv. 11, 12:
“Who shall keep Thy sheep,
Lord, and lose not one?
Who save one shall keep,
Lest the shepherd sleep?
Who beside the Son?”
οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ. Cf. v. 14. His visible ministry in the world of men is over. Meyer cites Calvin’s comment: “nunc quasi provincia sua defunctus.”
The rec. text has οὗτοι, but אB have αὐτοί.
αὐτοὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ εἰσίν: the disciples are still in the world and have their service and ministry to fulfil.
κἀγὼ πρὸς σὲ ἔρχομαι, repeated v. 13; cf. 13:3, 14:12.
After ἔρχομαι D adds οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ καὶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ εἰμί, a Western gloss, which has some support from a c e, and which evidently was added because the scribe stumbled at the words, “I am no longer in the world.”
πάτερ. B reads πατήρ (with N), as it also does at v. 21 (with D), at vv. 24, 25 (with A), and (teste Abbott, Diat. 2053) at 12:28. But, although the nom. with the article sometimes takes the place of the voc. (e.g. Matthew 11:26, Luke 10:21), πατήρ without the article is not easy to defend. At v. 5 D, in like manner, has πατήρ for πάτερ.
πάτερ ἅγιε. The holiness of God is fundamental in the Hebrew religion. This is a characteristically Jewish mode of address in prayer; cf. 2 Macc. 14:36, ἅγιε παντὸς ἁγιασμοῦ Κύριε, and 3 Macc. 2:2, ἅγιε ἐν ἁγίοις, μόναρχε, παντοκράτωρ. The conception goes back to Leviticus 11:44 (quoted 1 Peter 1:16); cf. Isaiah 6:3, Psalm 71:22, and esp. Luke 1:49, ἅγιον τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ (Psalm 111:9). See also 6:69, ὁ ἅγιος τοῦ θεοῦ, as used of Christ, and 20:22, λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον, of the Spirit. We find πάτερ δίκαιε in v. 25, but πάτερ ἅγιε does not appear again in the N.T. A remarkable parallel, which may be a reminiscence of the language of this verse, occurs in the Post-Communion Thanks-giving in the Didache (§ 10), εὐχαριστοῦμέν σοι, πάτερ ἅγιε, ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἁγίου ὀνόματός σου, οὗ κατεσκήνωσας ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ἡμῶν, καὶ ὑπὲρ τῆς γνώσεως καὶ πίστεως καὶ ἀθανασίας, ἧς ἐγνώρισας (cf. v. 26) ἡμῖν διὰ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ παιδός σου.
τήρησον αὐτούς, “keep them,” as now specially needing care. For τηρεῖν, of keeping persons safe, cf. vv. 12, 15, Acts 16:23, Acts 16:24:23, Acts 16:25:4, Acts 16:21, and esp. Judges 1:1, “kept for Jesus Christ,” Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ τετηρημένοις. For τηρεῖν, of keeping or observing commandments, see on 8:51.
ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου, “in Thy Name,” i.e. under Thy Fatherly protection. The Name of God expresses (see on 5:43) the revelation of His Being, especially as exhibited in His help in time of need. Cf. Psalm 44:6, ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ἐξουθενώσομεν τοὺς ἐπανιστανομένους ἡμῖν, Psalm 54:1, ὁ θεός, ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου σῶσόν με, and Psalm 124:8, ἡ βοήθεια ἡμῶν ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου. In such contexts the “Name” of God is equivalent to what a modern writer would call His “Providence”; and this, in the N.T. and especially in Jn., is associated with the doctrine of God as Father.
ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι. The reading here and in v. 12 presents difficulty, and the variants are important.
(1) The rec. text has οὓς δέδωκάς μοι, but this is poorly attested (D2, 69 f g q vg. cop.), and οὕς may have come from 18:9, or from v. 6. It gives an excellent sense; that His disciples were “given” to Jesus by the Father is said five times elsewhere in this chapter (vv. 2, 6, 9, 12, 24; see on 6:37 for other references).
(2) ὃ δέδωκάς μοι is read by D2 ful. This might have the same meaning as οὕς, and ὃ δέδωκας is the right reading at vv. 2, 24. For this collective use of the neuter sing., see on 6:37. Field, whose opinion is always weighty, prefers ὅ.
(3) But the harder reading, ᾧ, has such strong attestation that it must be accepted. It is supported by the great bulk of MSS and vss., including אABCLWΘ. ᾧ must refer to ὀνόματι, so that “in Thy Name, which Thou hast given me” is the only possible rendering. This is accepted by most modern editors, including Westcott and Abbott (Diat. 2408 f). Burney (Aramaic Origin, etc., p. 103), while recognising that ᾧ is the reading best attested, holds that οὕς must have been intended by the evangelist, and he traces the variants to the ambiguity of the relative particle דְּ, which might stand for either οὕς, ὅ, or ᾧ. But this does not explain the superior attestation of ᾧ, even if an Aramaic origin for the Fourth Gospel were accepted.
We have seen (on 3:35) that it is a favourite thought with Jn. that the Father gave all things to the Incarnate Son; but it is only here and at v. 12 that the idea is expressed that the Father has given His “Name” to Christ, and that it is in this “Name” that Jesus guarded His disciples. This does not mean only that the Son was “sent” by the Father (see on 3:17), and that therefore His ministry was accomplished “in the Name of the Father” (see on 5:43, 10:25) as His delegate and representative; but that in Christ God was revealed in His providential love and care, His “Name,” that is, His essential nature as Father, being exhibited in the Incarnate Son. Thus that “the Name” of the Father was “given” to Christ is yet another way of expressing the essential unity of the Father and the Son (see on 10:30). This transcends any such idea as that of Numbers 6:27, where the “Name” of Yahweh is “put” upon Israel by the priestly blessing; or of Exodus 23:21, where it is said of the guardian angel of the people, “My Name is in him”; or of Jeremiah 23:6, where the “Name” of the Messianic King is “Yahweh our Righteousness.” The nearest parallel is Php 2:9, ἐχαρίσατο αὐτῷ τὸ ὄνομα τὸ ὑπὲρ πᾶν ὄνομα (cf. Revelation 19:12); but in no N.T. passage except John 17:11, John 17:12 is found the conception of the Father giving His “Name,” in the sense of His revealed character as Fatherly Providence, to Christ. See on v. 22 for the δόξα which the Father had given to the Son.
This interpretation (demanded by the reading, ᾧ δέδωκας), viz. that the Father gave His “Name” to the Son, is in consonance with the thanksgiving quoted above from the Didache, according to which the Father causes His “Name” to tabernacle in the hearts of believers, i.e. His Fatherly protection rests upon them.
ἔδωκας is read by אLNW, but the true reading is δέδωκας (see on v. 4), the perfect indicating not merely one act of giving at a definite moment in time, but a continuous “giving” of the Father to the Son, throughout His earthly ministry.
ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς, sc. that the apostles might be united in will and purpose and spiritual fellowship even as the Father and the Son are united (see on 10:30). They had been given a “new” commandment, enjoining all disciples to love one another (see on 13:34), and the Fatherly protection of God is now invoked for them, that they may be kept of one mind in their sacred fellowship. At v. 21 the thought is no longer of the apostles only, but of all future generations of Christian disciples, for whom again the prayer is ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσιν.
The petition ἵνα ὦσιν ἕν, as applied to the apostles, was fulfilled in their case, for otherwise the earliest apostolic preaching could not have achieved its wonderful success; but it was not fulfilled in such fashion that no differences of opinion as to method were observed among the apostolic body, or that they were always right, as compared, e.g., with Paul (cf. Acts 11:2, Galatians 2:11, etc.) See further on v. 21.
It is probably due to its difficulty that the whole clause, ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι, ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς, is omitted in the O.L. texts a b c e ff2 and by the Coptic Q.
12. After ὅτε ἤμην μετʼ αὐτῶν, the rec. with AC3NΓΔΘ inserts the explanatory gloss ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, but om. אBC*DLW.
ἐγὼ ἐτήρουν αὐτούς κτλ., “I (ἐγώ being emphatic) used to keep them,” ἐτήρουν marking the continual training of disciples that was so great a feature of the ministry of Jesus.
ἐν τῷ ὀνόματί σου ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι, repeated from v. 11 (where see note) in the Johannine manner. It is “in the Name,” that is, in the sure protection of the Father’s providence and love, that Jesus guarded (and guards) His disciples.
καὶ ἐφύλαξα κτλ., “and I guarded them (sc. while I was with them in the flesh), and none perished.” For φυλάττειν, cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:3, Judges 1:24; and see Wisd. 10:5, where τηρεῖν and φυλάττειν are both used of the Divine guardianship of Abraham.
The rec. text, as in v. 11, has οὕς for ᾧ, and omits καί before ἐφύλαξα, making the latter govern οὕς directly; אBC*LW ins. καί.
καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐξ αὐτῶν (cf. for constr. 7:19) ἀπώλετο κτλ., “and not one of them perished, except the son of perdition.” The falling away of Judas has already been described (13:27); ἀπολλύναι is used of the final “perishing,” as at 3:16 (where see note) 10:28. Jesus is represented as speaking of the fate of Judas as if it were already in the past (see 6:64, 70). Cf. 6:39, 10:28, where his exceptional case is not in view; and see note on 18:9, where is quoted this saying of Jesus that He lost none of those whom the Father had “given” to Him. It has often been discussed by theologians whether Judas had really been predestined to destruction, or whether his fall from faithfulness was of his free choice. Such questions are foreign to the philosophy of the first century. For Jn., all that happened to Judas was, indeed, predestined, but that this involves any difficulty as to his guilt does not suggest itself to the evangelist.
εἰ μὴ ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας. The play on words ἀπώλετο … ἀπωλείας can hardly be reproduced in English. The constr. υἱός τινος (see on 12:36) is not exclusively Hebraic, but it is frequent in Eastern literature. Antichrist is called ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας (2 Thessalonians 2:3), the same expression being applied to those who perished in the Flood (Jubilees, x. 3), and to Satan (Evang. Nicodemi, xx.). It signifies one whose end will be perdition, not necessarily that this is inevitable but that it will be so because of his own acts. He is one of whom it may be said, “good were it for him if he had not been born” (Mark 14:21). Cf. υἱὸς γεένης (Matthew 23:15), υἱὸς θανάτου (2 Samuel 12:5), and τέκνα ἀπωλείας (Isaiah 57:4). Judas was “the son of loss,” although Jesus came to save the lost. For him Jesus did not pray (cf. 1 John 5:16).
ἀπώλεια is generally used in the N.T. for the final “loss” of a man (it does not occur again in Jn.); but at Mark 14:4 it is the word for the “waste” of the ointment, of which (as Jn. tells, 12:4) it was Judas that complained. It has been suggested that possibly this incident was in mind when Judas was called ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας, “the son of loss,” the man who really wasted what was precious.1 But the ordinary interpretation is simpler and more probable.
ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πληρωθῇ. It is not quite certain whether this is a comment of Jn. on the words of Jesus which he has just narrated, or whether he means to place it in the mouth of Jesus Himself.2 It is to be observed that in 18:9, where the words, “of those whom Thou hast given me, I lost not one,” are cited from the present passage, there is no appeal to the O.T., but Jn. applies ἵνα πληρωθῇ ὁ λόγος κτλ. to the saying of Jesus as carrying with it the certainty of its fulfilment. Probably here ἵνα ἡ γραφὴ πλ. is a reflective gloss or comment added by the evangelist or an early editor.
ἡ γραφή always refers in Jn. to a definite passage of the O.T. (see on 2:22), and the Scripture here indicated was probably Psalm 41:9, which was cited before (13:18) as foreshadowing the treachery of Judas. Psalm 69:25 and 109:8 are cited in Acts 1:20 in reference to his miserable and execrated end, and his replacement by Matthias, but Psalm 41:9 is more in place here.
13. νῦν δὲ πρὸς σὲ ἔρχομαι, repeated from v. 11; cf. 14:12.
καὶ ταῦτα λαλῶ, “And I say these things,” viz. “I say them aloud,” for λαλῶ implies this.
ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, sc. before my departure.
ἵνα ἔχωσιν κτλ. The prayer was spoken aloud, so that the apostles might overhear His intercessions for them, and hearing might rejoice. See on 11:42, where Jesus is represented, in the rec. text, as having said explicitly that some words of His thanksgiving were uttered διὰ τὸν ὄχλον.
τὴν χαρὰν τὴν ἐμὴν πεπληρωμένην ἐν ἑαυτοῖς. This is a phrase several times repeated in Jn.; see on 15:11, 16:24. To hear Jesus rejoice when speaking in prayer of the faithfulness of His chosen friends would awaken in them feelings of joy, which would be His joy “fulfilled in them.”
For ἑαυτοῖς (אABNW), the rec. has αὐτοῖς (probably from the next line).
14. ἐγὼ δέδωκα αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον σου, repeated from v. 8, τὸν λόγον being substituted for τὰ ῥήματα (see on 5:38), the perfect δέδωκα in both cases implying that Jesus had continued to give to the disciples the revelation of the Father, and was still giving it.
καὶ ὁ κόσμος ἐμίσησεν αὐτούς. This was the badge of a disciple (15:18, 19, where the verb is in the present tense, μισεῖ, which D substitutes here for the harder ἐμίσησεν). We should expect the perf. μεμίσηκεν as in 15:24, if not μισεῖ; this is one of the cases in which Jn. uses the aorist as if it were a perfect (cf. 12:28, 13:34, 15:15; and see Abbott, Diat. 2441).
ὅτι οὐκ εἰσὶν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου. A fine and eloquent exposition of the thought that Christian disciples generally, and not the apostles only, are in the world but not of the world is given in the second-century Ep. to Diognetus (vi. 3), with a probable allusion to vv. 11, 14. See on 3:16.
καθὼς ἐγὼ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου. So He had said at 8:23, where see note.
15. οὐκ ἐρωτῶ ἵνα ἄρῃς αὐτούς κτλ. The question as to how far Christians were to separate themselves from the company of non-Christians, from the Jewish and heathen world, was urgent and difficult in the apostolic age. In 1 Corinthians 5:10, Paul explains, in terms similar to those of this passage, that for a complete dissociation from heathen of evil lives, a Christian disciple would have to “go out of the world.” On the other hand, he is equally explicit in his statement (Galatians 1:4) that the purpose of the sacrifice of Christ was that He might deliver us from the present evil age (αἰῶνος). These two principles are tersely enunciated in the present verse. The apostles would have to live in the world, for that was to be the theatre of their evangelical ministry; but they would need the special grace of God to keep them from its evil influences.
ἀλλʼ ἵνα τηρήσῃς αὐτοὺς ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ. This is the first petition of Jesus for the Eleven, viz. for their protection and deliverance. τηρεῖν ἐκ is found again in N.T. only at Revelation 3:10, a passage very similar to the present: ὅτι ἐτήρησας τὸν λόγον (cf. v. 6, τὸν λόγον σου τετήρηκαν) … κἀγώ σε τηρήσω ἐκ τῆς ὥρας τοῦ πειρασμοῦ (cf. v. 11, τήρησον αὐτούς). A nearer parallel is in 1 John 5:18, where it is said of a child of God, that Christ τηρεῖ αὐτόν, καὶ ὁ πονηρὸς οὐκ ἅπτεται αὐτοῦ.
ὁ πονηρός appears again 1 John 2:14, 1 John 5:19 (ὁ κόσμος ὅλος ἐν τῷ πονηρῷ κεῖται). The agency of the personal devil, Satan, is not doubted by John 13:27, and the references to ὁ ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου τούτου (12:31, 14:30, 16:11).
In the words ἵνα τηρήσῃς αὐτοὺς ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ, we probably have an echo of the clause in the Lord’s Prayer, ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ πονηροῦ (Matthew 6:13; see above on v. 1).1 Some commentators have endeavoured to distinguish the meaning of ἀπὸ from that of ἐκ in constructions like this (see on 1:44), but this is over subtle. Cf. the parallelism in Psalm 140:1:
ἐξελοῦ με ἐξ ἀνθρώπου πονηροῦ
ἀπὸ ἀνδρὸς ἀδίκου ῥῦσαί με.
16. This verse is repeated from v. 14, οὐκ εἰμί here preceding ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, according to אABcDLW.
17. Here is the second petition for the Eleven (cf. v. 15), viz. for their consecration. ἁγιάζειν (see on 10:36) connotes not so much the selection of a man for an important work as the equipping and fitting him for its due discharge. It is applied to the divine separation of Jeremiah for the work of a prophet (Jeremiah 1:5); and also to Aaron and his sons for their priestly office, Exodus 28:41, where the Divine command to Moses is ἀγιάσεις αὐτούς, ἵνα ἱερατεύωσίν μοι. (See Additional Note on 18:15.)
ἁγιάζειν is not equivalent to καθαρίζειν; one who is not ἡγιασμένος is not necessarily impure. Of the apostles it had already been said ἤδη ὑμεῖς καθαροί ἐστε, and the effective instrument of their purification was the λόγος which Jesus had spoken to them (15:3), as the Divine λόγος is said here also to be the medium of their consecration. But the two ideas of ἁγιασμός and καθαρισμός are not identical. Just because the Eleven were already, in a sense, pure, being not “of the world” even as their Master was not “of the world” (v. 16), is their consecration for their future task a fitting boon to be asked in prayer of God who is Himself ἅγιος (v. 11). Cf. Paul’s prayer for his Thessalonian converts that God would consecrate them wholly (ἁγιάσαι ὑμᾶς ὁλοτελεῖς, 1 Thessalonians 5:23).
ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ. Truth would be the medium of their consecration, as (although this is not expressed in the present passage) the “Spirit of Truth” would be the Agent (cf. 16:13). See also 8:32. So Paul said of his Thessalonian converts that God had chosen them εἰς σωτηρίαν ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος καὶ πίστει ἀληθείας (2 Thessalonians 2:13). Westcott makes the pregnant comment that “the end of the Truth is not wisdom … but holiness.”
After άληθείᾳ the rec. text adds σου, but om. א*ABC*DLWΘ. What is meant by ἀληθείᾳ is explained in the next clause.
ὁ λόγος ὁ σὸς ἀλήθειά ἐστιν. It is not always noticed that this is a quotation from the LXX of Psalm 119:142, ὁ λόγος σου ἀλήθεια (cf. 2 Samuel 7:28). Jesus had already said of the disciples, τὸν λόγον σου τετήρηκαν (v. 6, where see note); and thus they were in the way of consecration, which is in truth (cf. 14:6). Such consecration is not an isolated event in the life-history of a disciple, but is a continuous process (cf. οἱ ἁγιαζόμενοι, Hebrews 2:11).
Westcott quotes an interesting parallel from a Jewish prayer for the new year: “Purify our hearts to serve Thee in truth. Thou, O God, art Truth, and Thy word is truth, and standeth for ever.”
18. καθὼς ἐμὲ ἀπέστειλας. For this thought, five times expressed in this chapter, cf. v. 8 and see on 3:17.
That the relation between Jesus and His disciples is comparable with that between the Son and the Father is several times stated in the discourses of Jesus as reported by Jn. As is the love of the Father to the Son, so is the love of Jesus for His disciples (15:9). The glory which the Father gave to the Son was given by Jesus to His disciples (17:22). As the Son lives by the Father (διὰ τὸν πατέρα), so His disciples live by Jesus (διʼ ἐμέ, 6:57). As the Father knows the Son, and the Son the Father, so does Jesus know His sheep, and they know Him (10:14, 15). As the Son is “in” the Father, so are His disciples “in” Jesus (14:20). These are amazing teachings, but they are deep-rooted in the Fourth Gospel. And, corresponding to them, we have the saying of this verse that as the Father sent the Son into the world, so Jesus sent His apostles into the world.
The comparison καθὼς … καί in such passages can never be exact or definite (see on 6:57), but at the same time it points in each case to something more than a superficial analogy.
κἀγὼ ἀπέστειλα αὐτοὺς εἰς τὸν κόσμον. The words carry a reference not only to the original choice of the Twelve, ἵνα ἀποστέλλῃ αὐτοὺς κηρύσσειν (Mark 3:14; cf. Luke 9:2), but to their future mission, the aorist being used because of the certainty of this predetermined future in store for them. The actual commission is recorded at 20:21, 22: καθὼς ἀπέσταλκέν με ὁ πατήρ, κἀγὼ πέμπω ὑμᾶς … λάβετε πνεῦμα ἅγιον. (No distinction can be drawn between ἀποστέλλω and πέμπω in such passages; see on 3:17.) Cf. also 4:38.
19. καὶ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἐγὼ ἁγιάζω ἐμαυτόν. ἐγώ is om. by אW, but ins. BCDLNΘ rightly: it is here emphatic.
ὑπέρ is a favourite prep. with Jn., who always uses it as meaning “on behalf of.” See on 1:30, and cf. 6:51.
ἐγὼ ἁγιάζω ἐμαυτόν. At 10:36 He had spoken of Himself as One ὃν ὁ πατὴρ ἡγίασεν. But there is no inconsistency. The Father “consecrated” Jesus for His mission to the world; and now that His mission is about to be consummated in death, Jesus “consecrates” Himself, as He enters upon the Passion. So He had said before of His life, “I lay it down of myself” (10:18). In His death He was both Priest and Victim.
The two petitions for the disciples were for their deliverance from the Evil One (v. 15), and for their consecration (v. 17). These are the two purposes of the Atonement, as set out Titus 2:14, “Who gave Himself for us, in order that He might (1) redeem us from all iniquity, and (2) purify to Himself a peculiar people zealous of good works.” So here the “consecration ” of Himself to the Cross by Jesus was not only that (ἵνα) His chosen apostles might in their turn be guarded and consecrated, but that the same consecration might be the portion of all future disciples (v. 20). There is a special emphasis on ἐγώ. No one else could say, “I consecrate myself.” It is only through His consecration that His disciples can be consecrated; and so in Hebrews 10:10 we find the confession, “We have been consecrated through the offering of the Body of Jesus Christ.” In a sense, He is the consecrator of all such: “He that consecrates and they that are being consecrated are all of one” (ἐξ ἑνός, Hebrews 2:11), a thoroughly Johannine statement, although it does not appear in Jn.
ἵνα ὦσιν καὶ αὐτοὶ ἡγιασμένοι ἐν ἀληθείᾳ. Cf. v. 17 for truth, the Divine λόγος, the full revelation of the Father, as the medium of consecration to the Christian life.
The Prayer of Jesus for All Future Disciples (vv. 20-26)
20. We now reach the third division of the Prayer of Jesus, which passes from the thought of the apostles to the thought of all those who should reach discipleship through their ministry.
ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῶν πιστευόντων κτλ. πιστευόντων is a proleptic or anticipatory present participle, with the force of a future, qui credituri sunt (Vulg.). Some minuscules, which the rec. text follows, through misunderstanding, have adopted πιστευσόντων.
διὰ τοῦ λόγου αὐτῶν. The “word” of the evangelical preachers was the message of God in Christ which they brought, such preaching being an essential preliminary to faith. Cf. Romans 10:14.
εἰς ἐμέ. For πιστεύειν εἰς …, see on 1:12.
21. As the Church grew, so would the risk of disunion among its members be intensified. Jesus had already prayed that His apostles might be united in will and purpose even as the Father and the Son are united (v. 11, ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς). He now repeats this petition for all future disciples, ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσιν, stating more fully what the nature of this ideal unity was to be.
There is no suggestion of a unity of organisation, such as that which appears in Paul’s conception of the Church as one body with many members, each performing its appropriate function (Romans 12:4f., 1 Corinthians 12:12f.). No biological analogy is offered here to assist us in comprehending the sense in which Christians are intended to be one. Jesus had said already that His sheep would ultimately be One Flock, even as they had One Shepherd (10:16). But the mystical phrases used in this passage transcend even that thought. For He prays that the unity of His disciples may be realised in the spiritual life, after the pattern of that highest form of unity, in which the Father is “in” the Son and the Son “in” the Father. This unity, however, as appertaining to Christian discipleship, is not invisible; it is to be such as will convince the world of the Divine mission of the common Master of Christians. And He has already explained that the badge of this unity is love, the love of Christian for Christian which all men may see (13:35).
ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσιν. For the use of the neuter singular here, see on 10:30; and cf. ἵνα τὰ τέκνα τοῦ θεοῦ … συναγάγῃ εἰς ἕν (11:52).
καθὼς σύ, Πάτερ, ἐν ἐμοὶ (cf. 14:10, 20) κἀγὼ ἐν σοί (cf. 14:11). That men might come to acknowledge this central assertion of His claim had been the immediate object of His mission (see on 10:38).
Jn. always expresses the voc. by πάτερ. In this passage πατήρ is read by BDW, and by AB at vv. 24, 25. See Abbott, Diat. 2052, and cf. note on :10.
ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἡμῖν ὦσιν. Before ὦσιν the rec. text inserts ἕν, with אAC3LNΘ, but BC*DW a b c e om. ἕν. It has probably come in from the earlier clause ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσιν.
The ideal is that all Christians may be ἐν ἡμῖν. “Abide in me” was the counsel of 15:4 (cf. 1 John 3:24, 1 John 5:20), but rightly obeyed this implies abiding in God; the use of the plural ἡμῖν here, recalling the plural verbs at 14:23. Cf. 1 John 1:3, ἡ κοινωνία ἡ ἡμετέρα μετὰ τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ μετὰ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. To be “in Christ” is to be “in God.” Those who are thus “in God” share the Divine life in common, and are therefore one, ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς (v. 11); it being always remembered that καθώς in such passages is only suggestive of a partial, not a complete, analogy (see on v. 18 above, and cf. 6:57).
Ignatius has some sentences reminiscent of these thoughts, where he approves the Ephesian Christians for being closely joined with the bishop: “as the Church is with Jesus Christ, and as Jesus Christ is with the Father, that all things may be harmonious in unity (ἵνα πάντα ἐν ἑνότητι σύμφωνα ᾖ, Eph_5).
ἵνα ὁ κόσμος πιστεύῃ ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας. The consequence of the spiritual unity of Christians, as indicated by their common love for each other, is that the world will be at last convinced (cf. 16:8) that the mission of Jesus was divine, and that He is “the Saviour of the world” (4:42). For such forecasts of universal homage, cf. Revelation 3:9 and 1 Corinthians 15:28. See v. 23 below.
πιστεύῃ. So א*B*W, but the rec., with אcADLNΘ, has the inferior reading πιστεύσῃ. πιστεύῃ indicates the gradual growth of faith, “may come to believe.”
22. κἀγὼ τὴν δόξαν κτλ. “And I, even I, have given to them the glory which Thou hast given to me.” Quanta maiestas Christianorum! is Bengel’s penetrating comment. But what is this δόξα? It is not the glory of the Eternal Word, spoken of in v. 24. That a faithful disciple may hope to see, but not to share (although 1 Peter 5:1 seems to claim more than is suggested in Jn.). It is rather the glory of the Incarnate Word (see on 1:14), which Jesus exhibited in His earthly ministry (2:11), the manifestation of the Divine Nature in man. His disciples were the branches of which He was the Vine (15:5), or, as it is expressed in 2 Peter 1:4, they had become θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως, “partakers of the Divine Nature.” See on 8:54 for the “glorification” of the Son by the Father; and for the “glorification” of believers, cf. Romans 8:30.
For δέδωκας (אBCLΓΔ), ADNWΘ have ἔδωκας; and for δέδωκα (BCDLWΓΔ), אANΘ have ἔδωκα. See on v. 4 for similar variants.
ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς ἕν. The rec. (Θ) adds ἐσμεν, but om. BC*DLW. The consequence of the imparting of His Incarnate δόξα to His disciples by Jesus would be that, sharing this in common with Him and with each other, they would be spiritually united, and thus be one, even as the Father and the Son are one.
23. ἐγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ σὺ ἐν ἐμοί, the nature of the unity of believers being once again illustrated by that highest pattern of Unity, the Unity of the Godhead. “I in them”; so He had spoken before (14:20), and the idea of Christ being “in” the believer is as familiar a thought to Paul as it is to Jn.; cf. Romans 8:10, 2 Corinthians 13:5, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 4:19.
ἵνα ὦσιν τετελειωμένοι εἰς ἕν. The imparting of His δόξα to the disciples of Jesus would not only tend to unite them, but it would at last completely unite them, “that they may be perfected (cf. for τελειοῦσθαι used thus, 1 John 2:5, 1 John 2:4:12, 1 John 2:17, 1 John 2:18; cf. Php 3:12) into one.” With τετ. εἰς ἕν, cf. συναγάγῃ εἰς ἕν (11:52).
ἵνα γινώσκῃ ὁ κόσμος ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας. Here is the final consequence of the impartation of the “glory” of Jesus to His disciples, viz. that the world might come to be assured of His Divine mission; the phrase being repeated from v. 21, γινώσκῃ being substituted for πιστεύῃ. Cf. the concluding words of the Farewell Discourse, ἵνα γνῷ ὁ κόσμος … (14:31). This is Jesus’ ideal of the world’s future.
καὶ ἠγάπησας αὐτοὺς καθώς κτλ. For thus will the world be led to the knowledge that God loved it (αὐτούς) with the same kind of love as that with which He loved His Son (5:20); and that therefore He had sent His Son. These are the thoughts of the “comfortable word” of 3:16, which are here expressed as a prayer.
For ἠγάπησας there is a Western reading, ἠγάπησα (D a b, etc.), which is a mistaken correction (introduced from 15:9), the connexion of the passage with 3:16 having been missed.
24. There follows the thought of those who have been “perfected into one” on earth, sharing the fellowship of their common Lord in heaven, as they behold His eternal glory.
πάτερ. See on v. 11.
ὃ δέδωκάς μοι. ὅ is for οὕς (cf. v. 12), the neuter singular suggesting their unity, as at 6:37, 39, where see note.
θέλω. He does not now say ἐρωτῶ (v. 20 and see on 11:22), but θέλω, “I wish.” He has said repeatedly that He did not come to do His own will (θέλημα), but the will of the Father (4:34, 5:30, 6:38-40); and in the Agony at Gethsemane He distinguishes His human will from the Father’s (οὐ τί ἐγὼ θέλω, ἀλλὰ τί σύ, Mark 14:36). But at this moment of spiritual exaltation, the climax of His consecration of Himself to death, He realises the perfect coincidence of His will with the Father’s, and so can say θέλω (cf. ὁ υἱὸς οὓς θέλει ζωοποιεῖ, 5:21). The use of θέλω at 21:22 is different, for there it is the θέλω of authority which the master may address to a disciple.
ἵνα ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ κἀκεῖνοι ὦσιν μετʼ ἐμοῦ, sc. hereafter in glory. See 12:26, 13:36, 14:3 for the thought of the spiritual fellowship of His disciples with Christ continuing after death. Cf. 2 Timothy 2:11, 2 Timothy 2:12, Romans 8:17.
ἵνα θεωρῶσιν τὴν δόξαν τὴν ἐμήν. This is not the glory of the Incarnate Christ. That they had been permitted to see with the eyes of the body, ἐθεασάμεθα τὴν δόξαν αὐτοῦ (see on 1:14). θεωρεῖν is used here of spiritual perception (cf. 12:45, and see on 2:23). The δόξα, of which the vision is to be the portion of the saints, is the glory of the Eternal Logos, which He had with the Father “before the world was” (v. 5). They are to see Him “as He is” (1 John 3:2).
ἣν δέδωκάς μοι. The rec. has ἔδωκας with BNΓΔΘ, but אACDLW have δέδωκας (see on v. 4), which is accepted by Westcott-Hort against the testimony of B.
Against the interpretation of δόξα here as referring to the glory of the Eternal Word, several exegetes have urged that a “giving” of glory by the Father to the Son before the Incarnation is not explicitly mentioned elsewhere in the N.T. But there is no other passage which refers to the eternal relationships inherent in Deity with the same boldness and confidence of vision that appear in this Last Prayer of Christ. These are unique utterances (cf. also v. 5); and a clear distinction seems to be indicated between the δόξα of v. 22 which had been given to the disciples, and the δόξα of v. 24 which they might hope to contemplate hereafter, but which was given only to Christ.
ὅτι ἠγάπησάς με πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου. This, in fact, is the δόξα of the Eternal Word. Eternal Love is Eternal Glory; even as Eternal Love and Eternal Glory may be regarded as respectively the subjective and objective aspects of Eternal Life.
πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου. καταβολή occurs only once in the LXX (2 Macc. 2:29, of the foundation of a house), and eleven times in the N.T., in nine of which it is followed by κόσμου (ἀπὸ κατ. κόσμ., Matthew 25:34, Luke 11:50, Hebrews 4:3, Hebrews 9:26, Revelation 13:8, Revelation 17:8). We find πρὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου, as here, at Ephesians 1:4, 1 Peter 1:20. The phrase also occurs in the Assumption of Moses, a first-century work, in a passage of which the Greek has been preserved (i. 13, 14, ed. Charles). The sentence “in that Thou hast loved me before the foundation of the world,” suggests the idea of predestination, so frequently appearing in Jn. (see on 2:4).
25. Πάτερ δίκαιε. That God is righteous is fundamental in the Jewish religion (cf. Jeremiah 12:1, Psalm 116:5, Psalm 119:137), and fundamental, too, in Christianity (Romans 3:26, Romans 3:16:5, 1 John 1:9). The appeal at this point of the Prayer is to the justice of God, that He may distinguish between those who accept the Divine mission of Jesus, and the hostile world which rejects Him. For the former, Jesus has made the request that they may be with Him, hereafter (v. 24).
καί, before ὁ κόσμος, “is intended to keep the reader in suspense, aware that the meaning is incomplete” (Abbott, Diat. 2164). It is omitted by D
ὁ κόσμος σε οὐκ ἔγνω. See on 8:55.
ἐγὼ δέ σε ἔγνων. This is a parenthetical sentence, the real antithesis to “the world knew Thee not” being “but these knew,” which follows. Jesus, as Incarnate, habitually claims a unique knowledge of God (7:29, 8:55, 10:15).
καὶ οὗτοι ἔγνωσαν κτλ. “But these knew that Thou didst send me,” this being the important thing to be assured of, viz. that God had sent Jesus, this refrain occurring for the last time (see on v. 8). The thought of Jesus returns from the Church of the future to the disciples in whose company He offered a last prayer. Its final clauses have to do with them. οὗτοι, these, knew this much at least, that the mission of Jesus was divine.
The contrast with the failure of “the world” to recognise Him is brought up by καί, used here adversatively, as often in Jn. (see on 3:11): “but these knew.”
26. καὶ ἐγνώρισα αὐτοῖς τὸ ὄνομά σου, repeated in slightly different form from v. 6, where see note. For γνωρίζειν, cf. 15:15.
καὶ γνωρίσω, sc. in the Church of the future, by the Spirit which is to come (16:12, 25).
ἵνα ἡ ἀγάπη ἣν ἠγάπησάς με ἐν αὐτοῖς ᾖ. This is not a prayer that God may love Christian disciples with the same kind of love as that with which He loved Christ. Already, at v. 23, we have seen that even “the world”—in its alienation and hostility—was thus loved by God, although the world did not recognise it. But the prayer is that the love of God for all Christian disciples, similar as it is to the love of God for Christ, may be “in them,” that is, their sense of it may become vivid and efficacious; so that they may recognise, in Paul’s words, “that the love of God has been shed abroad in their hearts, through the Holy Spirit” (Romans 5:5).
For ἤν after ἀγάπη D substitutes the more usual ᾗ, qua; but there is an exact parallel to the true reading at Ephesians 2:4: διὰ τὴν πολλὴν ἀγάπην αὐτοῦ ἣν ἠγάπησεν ἡμᾶς (cf. 7:39 for a similar constr.).
κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς. “I in them.” This has already been proclaimed as the ideal condition of the disciples of Christ (v. 23, where see note). Here the thought is, as in the preceding clause, of a growing sense of Christ’s presence in the believer’s heart. It is this for which the last petition is offered, “ut cor ipsorum theatrum sit et palaestra huius amoris” (Bengel). Ego in ipsis is the last aspiration of Jesus for His own, before He goes forth to meet death.
1 What is Christianity?, Eng. Tr., p. 132.
1 See Chase, The Lord’s Prayer in the Early Church, p. 111.
אԠSinaiticus (δ 2). Leningrad. iv.
B Vaticanus (δ 1). Rome. Cent. iv.
Θ̠Koridethi (ε 050). Tiflis. vii-ix. Discovered at Koridethi, in Russian territory, and edited by Beermann & Gregory (Leipzig, 1913). The text is akin to that of fam. 13, fam. 1, and the cursives 28, 565, 700 See Lake and Blake in Harvard Theol. Review (July 1923) and Streeter, The Four Gospels. Cf. also J.T.S. Oct. 1915, April and July 1925.
A Alexandrinus (δ 4). British Museum. v. Cc. 6:50-8:52 are missing.
C Ephræmi (δ 3). Paris. v. Palimpsest. Contains considerable fragments of Jn.
N Purpureus Petropolitanus (ε 19). Dispersed through the libraries of Leningrad, Patmos, Rome, Vienna, and British Museum. vi. Some pages are missing. Edited by H. S. Cronin in Cambridge Texts and Studies (1899).
Γ̠(ε 70) Oxford and Leningrad. ix-x. Contains Song of Solomon 1:1-13 8:3-15:24 19:6 to end.
Δ̠Sangallensis (ε 76). St. Gall. ix-x. Græco-Latin.
D Bezæ (δ 5). Cambridge. v-vi. Græco-Latin. Cc. 18:14-20:13 are missing in the Greek text, and the gap has been filled by a ninth-century scribe (Dsupp).
L Regius (ε 56). Paris. viii. Cc. 15:2-20 21:15-25 are missing.
W Freer (ε 014). Washington. iv-vi. Discovered in Egypt in 1906. The Gospels are in the order Mt., Jn., Lk., Mk. Collation in The Washington MS. of the Four Gospels, by H. A. Sanders (1912).
Diat. E. A. Abbott’s Diatessarica, including his Johannine Vocabulary and Johannine Grammar, Parts I.-X. (1900-1915).
1 Apostolic Fathers, p. 489.
1 See D.C.G. i. 909.
2 See Introd., p. cxli.
1 See Chase, The Lord’s Prayer in the Early Church, p. 109, for the arguments in favour of τοῦ πονηροῦ being taken as masculine rather than neuter.
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
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.
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.