John 17:1
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:
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(1) These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven.—Comp. Note on John 14:31. If the view thus adopted is the correct one, it follows that the prayer of this chapter, as well as the discourses which preceded it, was uttered as they were preparing to leave the chamber after supper. The words “to heaven” ought not to be taken to imply that he looked up to the sky, and must, therefore, have been in the open air. The upward look is naturally expressive of feeling, and irrespective of place. This chapter contains, then, the words uttered by our Lord, with eyes lifted up to heaven, in prayer to the Father. It is often spoken of as the High Priest’s Prayer (comp. John 17:19). He who would understand it must remember that he is in the Holy of Holies, and must approach it with eyes and heart uplifted to the God to whom and by whom it was spoken.

Bengel speaks of this chapter as the simplest in word, and profoundest in thought, in the whole Bible. The key to the thought is in the presence of the Spirit, who shall guide into all truth (John 16:26).

Father, the hour is come.—“Father,” without any addition, as in John 17:5; John 17:21; John 17:24. Comp. “Our Father,” in the prayer taught to the disciples, and “Holy Father” and “Righteous Father” in John 17:11; John 17:25. In the first petition of this prayer the disciples are not identified with Him, and yet He does not by the use of the singular person exclude them. Through Him they and all believers receive the spirit of adoption, and cry, as He cried, “Abba, Father.” For the thought of the hour, comp. John 12:23; John 12:28; John 13:1; John 13:31-32.

Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.—What is meant by glorifying the Son is further explained in John 17:5. But this implies the dark path of death, which has to be trodden before that glory will be attained. (Comp. John 12:23 et seq.) The glorifying of the Father by the Son is the manifestation of God’s glory in the completion of the Messianic work by the mission of the Advocate and the future victories of the Church. This is further explained in John 17:2-4.



John 17:1 - John 17:19

We may well despair of doing justice to the deep thoughts of this prayer, which volumes would not exhaust. Who is worthy to speak or to write about such sacred words? Perhaps we may best gain some glimpses of their great and holy sublimity by trying to gather their teaching round the centres of the three petitions, ‘glorify’ {John 17:1, John 17:5}, ‘keep’ {John 17:11}, and ‘sanctify’ {John 17:17}.

I. In John 17:1 - John 17:5, Jesus prays for Himself, that He may be restored to His pre-incarnate glory; but yet the prayer desires not so much that glory as affecting Himself, as His being fitted thereby for completing His work of manifesting the Father. There are three main points in these verses-the petition, its purpose, and its grounds.

As to the first, the repetition of the request in John 17:1 - John 17:5 is significant, especially if we note that in the former the language is impersonal, ‘Thy Son,’ and continues so till John 17:4, where ‘I’ and ‘Me’ appear. In John 17:1 - John 17:3, then, the prayer rests upon the ideal relations of Father and Son, realised in Jesus, while in John 17:4 - John 17:5 the personal element is emphatically presented. The two petitions are in their scope identical. The ‘glorifying’ in the former is more fully explained in the latter as being that which He possessed in that ineffable fellowship with the Father, not merely before incarnation, but before creation. In His manhood He possessed and manifested the ‘glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth’; but that glory, lustrous though it was, was pale, and humiliation compared with the light inaccessible, which shone around the Eternal Word in the bosom of the Father. Yet He who prayed was the same Person who had walked in that light before time was, and now in human flesh asked for what no mere manhood could bear. The first form of the petition implies that such a partaking in the uncreated glory of the Father is the natural prerogative of One who is ‘the Son,’ while the second implies that it is the appropriate recompense of the earthly life and character of the man Jesus. John 17:4, where

The petition not only reveals the conscious divinity of the Son, but also His willing acceptance of the Cross; for the glorifying sought is that reached through death, resurrection, and ascension, and that introductory clause, ‘the hour is come,’ points to the impending sufferings as the first step in the answer to the petition. The Crucifixion is always thus treated in this Gospel, as being both the lowest humiliation and the ‘lifting up’ of the Son; and here He is reaching out His hand, as it were, to draw His sufferings nearer. So willingly and desiringly did this Isaac climb the mount of sacrifice. Both elements of the great saying in the Epistle to the Hebrews are here: ‘For the joy that was set before Him, [He] endured the Cross.’

The purpose of the petition is to be noted; namely, the Son’s glorifying of the Father. No taint of selfishness corrupted His prayer. Not for Himself, but for men, did He desire His glory. He sought return to that serene and lofty seat, and the elevation of His limited manhood to the throne, not because He was wearied of earth or impatient of weakness, sorrows, or limitations, but that He might more fully manifest by that Glory, the Father’s name. To make the Father known is to make the Father glorious; for He is all fair and lovely. That revelation of divine perfection, majesty, and sweetness was the end of Christ’s earthly life, and is the end of His heavenly divine activity. He needs to reassume the prerogatives of which He needed to divest Himself, and both necessities have one end. He had to lay aside His garments and assume the form of a servant, that He might make God known; but, that revelation being complete, He must take His garments and sit down again, before He can go on to tell all the meaning of what He has ‘done unto us.’

The ground of the petition is twofold. John 17:2 represent the glory sought for, as the completion of the Son’s mission and task. Already He had been endowed with ‘authority over all flesh,’ for the purpose of bestowing eternal life; and that eternal life stands in the knowledge of God, which is the same as the knowledge of Christ. The present gift to the Son and its purpose are thus precisely parallel with the further gift desired, and that is the necessary carrying out of this. The authority and office of the incarnate Christ demand the glory of, and consequent further manifestation by, the glorified Christ. The life which He comes to give is a life which flows from the revelation that He makes of the Father, received, not as mere intellectual knowledge, but as loving acquaintance.

The second ground for the petition is in John 17:4, the actual perfect fulfilment by the Son of that mission. What untroubled consciousness of sinless obedience and transparent shining through His life of the Father’s likeness and will He must have had, who could thus assert His complete realisation of that Father’s revealing purpose, as the ground of His deserving and desiring participation in the divine glory! Surely such words are either the acme of self-righteousness or the self-revealing speech of the Son of God.

II. With John 17:6 we pass to the more immediate reference to the disciples, and the context from thence to John 17:15 may be regarded as all clustered round the second petition ‘keep’ {John 17:11}.

That central request is preceded and followed by considerations of the disciples’ relation to Christ and to the world, which may be regarded as its grounds. The whole context preceding the petition may be summed up in two grounds for the prayer-the former set forth at length, and the latter summarily; the one being the genuine, though incomplete discipleship of the men for whom Christ prays {John 17:6 - John 17:10}, and the latter their desolate condition without Jesus {John 17:11}.

It is beautiful to see how our Lord here credits the disciples with genuine grasp, both in heart and head, of His teaching. He had shortly before had to say, ‘Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known Me?’ and soon ‘they all forsook Him and fled.’ But beneath misconception and inadequate apprehension there lived faith and love; and He saw ‘the full corn in the ear,’ when only the green ‘blade’ was visible, pushing itself above the surface. We may take comfort from this generous estimate of imperfect disciples. If He did not tend, instead of quenching, ‘dimly burning wicks,’ where would He have ‘lights in the world?’

John 17:6 lays down the beginning of discipleship as threefold: Christ’s act in revealing; the Father’s, in giving men to Jesus; and men’s, in keeping the Father’s word. ‘Thy word’ is the whole revelation by Christ, which is, as this Gospel so often repeats, not His own, but the Father’s. These three facts underlying discipleship are pleas for the petition to follow; for unless the feeble disciples are ‘kept’ in the name, as in a fortress, Christ’s work of revelation is neutralised, the Father’s gift to Him made of none effect, and the incipient disciples will not ‘keep’ His word. The plea is, in effect, ‘Forsake not the works of thine own hands’; and, like all Christ’s prayers, it has a promise in its depths, since God does not begin what He will not finish; and it has a warning, too, that we cannot keep ourselves unless a stronger Hand keeps us.

John 17:7 - John 17:8 carry on the portraiture of discipleship, and thence draw fresh pleas. The blessed result of accepting Christ’s revelation is a knowledge, built on happy experience, and, like the acquaintance of heart with heart, issuing in the firm conviction that Christ’s words and deeds are from God. Why does He say, ‘All things whatsoever Thou hast given,’ instead of simply ‘that I have’ or ‘declare’? Probably it is the natural expression of His consciousness, the lowly utterance of His obedience, claiming nothing as His own, and yet claiming all, while the subsequent clause ‘are of Thee’ expresses the disciples’ conviction. In like fashion our Lord, in verse 8, declares that His words, in their manifoldness {contrast John 17:6, ‘Thy word’}, were all received by Him from the Father, and accepted by the disciples, with the result that they came, as before, to ‘know’ by inward acquaintance with Him as a person, and so to have the divinity of His Person certified by experience, and further came to ‘believe’ that God had sent Him, which was a conviction arrived at by faith. So knowledge, which is personal experience and acquaintance, and faith, which rises to the heights of the Father’s purpose, come from the humble acceptance of the Christ declaring the Father’s name. First faith, then knowledge, and then a fuller faith built on it, and that faith in its turn passing into knowledge {John 17:25}-these are the blessings belonging to the growth of true discipleship, and are discerned by the loving eye of Jesus in very imperfect followers.

In John 17:9 Jesus assumes the great office of Intercessor. ‘I pray for them’ is not so much prayer as His solemn presentation of Himself before the Father as the High-priest of His people. It marks an epoch in His work. The task of bringing God to man is substantially complete. That of bringing men by supplication to God is now to begin. It is the revelation of the permanent office of the departed Lord. Moses on the Mount holds up the rod, and Israel prevails {Exodus 17:9}. The limitation of this prayer to the disciples applies only to the special occasion, and has no bearing on the sweep of His redeeming purpose or the desires of His all-pitying heart. The reasons for His intercession follow in John 17:9 - John 17:11. The disciples are the Father’s, and continue so even when ‘given’ to Christ, in accordance with the community of possession, which oneness of nature and perfectness of love establish between the Father and the Son. God cannot but care for those who are His. The Son cannot but pray for those who are His. Their having recognised Him for what He was binds Him to pray for them. He is glorified in disciples, and if we show forth His character, He will be our Advocate. The last reason for His prayer is the loneliness of the disciples and their exposure in the world without Him. His departure impelled Him to Intercede, both as being a leaving them defenceless and as being an entrance into the heavenly state of communion with the Father.

In the petition itself {John 17:11}, observe the invocation ‘Holy Father!’ with special reference to the prayer for preservation from the corruption of the world. God’s holiness is the pledge that He will make us holy, since He is ‘Father’ as well. Observe the substance of the request, that the disciples should be kept, as in a fortress, within the enclosing circle of the name which God has given to Jesus. The name is the manifestation of the divine nature. It was given to Jesus, inasmuch as He, ‘the Word,’ had from the beginning the office of revealing God; and that which was spoken of the Angel of the Covenant is true in highest reality of Jesus: ‘My name is in Him.’ ‘The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it and is safe.’

Observe the issue of this keeping; namely, the unity of believers. The depths of that saying are beyond us, but we can at least see thus far-that the true bond of unity is the name in which all who are one are kept; that the pattern of the true unity of believers is the ineffable union of Father and Son, which is oneness of will and nature, along with distinctness of persons; and that therefore this purpose goes far deeper than outward unity of organisation.

Then follow other pleas, which are principally drawn from Christ’s relation to the disciples, now ending; whereas the former ones were chiefly deduced from the disciples’ relation to Him. He can no more do what He has done, and commits it to the Father. Happy we if we can leave our unfinished tasks to be taken up by God, and trust those whom we leave undefended to be shielded by Him! ‘I kept’ is, in the Greek, expressive of continuous, repeated action, while ‘I guarded’ gives the single issue of the many acts of keeping. Jesus keeps His disciples now as He did then, by sedulous, patient, reiterated acts, so that they are safe from evil. But note where He kept them-’in Thy name.’ That is our place of safety, a sure defence and inexpugnable fortress. One, indeed, was lost; but that was not any slur on Christ’s keeping, but resulted from his own evil nature, as being ‘a son of loss’ {if we may so preserve the affinity of the words in the Greek}, and from the divine decree from of old. Sharply defined and closely united are the two apparent contradictories of man’s free choice of destruction and God’s foreknowledge. Christ saw them in harmony, and we shall do so one day.

Then the flow of the prayer recurs to former thoughts. Going away so soon, He yearned to leave them sharers of His own emotions in the prospect of His departure to the Father, and therefore He had admitted them {and us} to hear this sacred outpouring of His desires. If we laid to heart the blessed revelations of this disclosure of Christ’s heart, and followed Him with faithful gaze as He ascends to the Father, and realised our share in that triumph, our empty vessels would be filled by some of that same joy which was His. Earthly joy can never be full; Christian joy should never be anything less than full.

Then follows a final glance at the disciples’ relation to the world, to which they are alien because they are of kindred to Him. This is the ground for the repetition of the prayer ‘keep’, with the difference that formerly it was ‘keep in Thy name,’ and now it is ‘from the evil.’ It is good to gaze first on our defence, the ‘munitions of rocks’ where we lie safely, and then we can venture to face the thought of ‘the evil,’ from which that keeps us, whether it be personal or abstract.

III. John 17:16 - John 17:19 give the final petition for the immediate circle of disciples, with its grounds.

The position of alienation from the world, in which the disciples stand by reason of their assimilation to Jesus, is repeated here. It was the reason for the former prayer, ‘keep’; it is the reason for the new petition, ‘sanctify.’ Keeping comes first, and then sanctifying, or consecration. Security from evil is given that we may be wholly devoted to the service of God. The evil in the world is the great hindrance to that. The likeness to Jesus is the great ground of hope that we shall be truly consecrated. We are kept ‘in the name’; we are consecrated ‘in the truth,’ which is the revelation made by Jesus, and in a very deep sense is Himself. That truth is, as it were, the element in which the believer lives, and by abiding in which his real consecration is possible.

Christ’s prayer for us should be our aim and deepest desire for ourselves, and His declaration of the condition of its fulfilment should prescribe our firm adhesion to, and constant abiding in, the truth as revealed and embodied in Him, as the only means by which we can attain the consecration which is at once, as the closing verses of the passage tell us, the means by which we may fulfil the purpose for which we are sent into the world, and the path on which we reach complete assimilation to His perfect self-surrender. All Christians are sent into the world by Jesus, as Jesus was sent by the Father. We have the charge to glorify Him. We have the presence of the Sender with us, the sent. We are inspired with His Spirit. We cannot do His work without that entire consecration which shall copy His devotion to the Father and eager swiftness to do His will. How can such ennobling and exalted consecration be ours? There is but one way. He has ‘consecrated Himself,’ and by union with Him through faith, our selfishness may be subdued, and the Spirit of Christ may dwell in our hearts, to make us ‘living sacrifices, consecrated and acceptable to God.’ Then shall we be truly ‘consecrated,’ and then only, when we can say, ‘I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.’ That is the end of Christ’s consecration of Himself-the prayer which He prayed for His disciples-and should be the aim which every disciple earnestly pursues.

John 17:1-3. These words spake Jesus — Namely, the words recorded in the three preceding chapters; and lifted up his eyes to heaven — Put himself in the posture of prayer. The following has been called Our Lord’s Intercessory Prayer, because it is considered as a pattern of the intercession he is now making in heaven for his people. In it he comprises all he had said from chap. John 13:31, and seals, as it were, all he had hitherto done, beholding things past, present, and to come. It contains the easiest words, and the deepest sense, of any chapter in all the Scriptures; yet is there no incoherent rhapsody, but the whole is closely and exactly connected. Father — This simplicity of appellation highly became the only-begotten Son of God; to which a believer then makes the nearest approach, when he is most full of love and humble confidence. The hour is come — The time of my sufferings is come; glorify thy Son — Let me have such succours from thee as will enable me to bear them; let the circumstances of my trial, both in the Jewish and Gentile courts of judicature, be such as will plainly prove my innocence; and let my death be accompanied with such interpositions of thy power as will remove the scandal of the cross, and demonstrate the relation I stand in to thee; particularly let me be raised from the dead, and taken up to heaven; finally, shed down upon my apostles such miraculous gifts as will qualify them for bearing witness to my miracles, my death, my resurrection, and my ascension. Thus glorifying thy Son, he also will glorify thee — By converting to the belief and practice of true religion, many who will celebrate thy praises eternally. As thou hast given him power over all flesh — Thou hast sent thy Son into the world, and given him power over all men, in this respect, that he can bestow eternal life upon as many as thou hast given him, namely, upon all believers. This is a clear proof that Christ designed his sacrifice should avail for all mankind; yea, that all flesh, every man, should partake of everlasting life. For, as the Father had given him power over all, so he gave himself a ransom for all. And this is life eternal — Is the way to, a preparation for, and a pledge and earnest of life eternal; that they might know — Or, to know, by loving, obedient faith, thee; the only true God — The only cause and end of all things; not excluding the Word that was in the beginning with God, and was God, (John 1:1,) nor the Holy Ghost, any more than the Father is excluded from being Lord, (1 Corinthians 8:6,) but the false gods of the heathen; and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent — To be their prophet, priest, and king. The meaning of our Lord here is, either, “1st, I teach that men should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, as the means of obtaining that eternal life which thou hast given me power to bestow: Or, 2d, Now this eternal life is bestowed by me on men, that they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent; importing that the happiness of eternity will consist in the knowledge of God and Christ. It is justly observed by Grotius, that the Father is here styled, the only true God, in exclusion of those deities which the ignorance and folly of the heathens had introduced. For, as in the latter clause our Lord undoubtedly spake of the Jews, when he mentioned it as the means of eternal life, that they should know Jesus Christ; so, it is probable, that in the former he had the Gentiles in his eye, when he represented the knowledge of the true God as the road to felicity. If so, we cannot from this passage infer that Jesus is not truly, or really God. For, had this been the meaning of the words, would the evangelist have begun his gospel with so solemn a declaration of our Lord’s divinity? Besides, in other passages of Scripture, the word μονος denotes a partial exclusion. For instance, (Genesis 42:38,) Jacob, speaking of Benjamin, says, His brother is dead, και αυτος μονος καταλελειπται, and he only is left: he did not mean that he was his only son absolutely, but his only son by Rachel. In like manner, (Luke 9:18,) And it came to pass as he was alone, praying, his disciples were with him; where καταμονας is to be understood in exclusion of the multitude, and not of the disciples, who were now with him. So also, (Luke 9:36,) Jesus is said to be left (μονος) alone, notwithstanding the three disciples were with him. The meaning is, he was alone in respect of Moses and Elias, who were now departed from him. And to give no more instances, Jdg 1:4, uses μονος in this partial sense, where, speaking of some wicked men in his time, he says, they denied, τον μονον δεσποτην Θεον, και Κυριον ημων Ιησουν Χριστον, our only Master, God and Lord, Jesus Christ. For, whether the first clause is understood of Christ, it cannot mean that he is our only Lord and God, in exclusion of the Father; or, whether it is understood of the Father, it cannot be said that he is our only Lord, in exclusion of Christ, who is expressly styled Δεσποτης, Master.”

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.These words - The words addressed to them in the preceding chapters. They were proceeding to the garden of Gethsemane. It adds much to the interest of this prayer that it was offered in the stillness of the night, in the open air, and in the especially tender circumstances in which Jesus and his apostles were. It is the longest prayer recorded in the New Testament. It was offered on the most tender and solemn occasion that has ever occurred in our world, and it is perhaps the most sublime composition to be found anywhere. Jesus was about to die. Having expressed his love to his disciples, and made known to them his last desires, he now commends them to the protection and blessing of the God of grace. This prayer is moreover a specimen of the manner of his intercession, and evinces the interest which he felt in behalf of all who should become his followers in all ages of the world.

Lifted up his eyes - This was the common attitude of prayer. Compare Luke 18:13.

The hour is come - That is, the appointed time for his sufferings and death. Compare the notes at John 12:27.

Glorify thy Son - Honor thy Son. See John 11:4. Give to the world demonstration that I am thy Son. So sustain me, and so manifest thy power in my death, resurrection, and ascension, as to afford indubitable evidence that I am the Son of God.

That thy Son also may glorify thee - This refers clearly to the manifestation of the honor of God which would be made by the spread of the gospel among men, John 17:2. Jesus prayed that God would so honor him in his death that striking proof might be furnished that he was the Messiah, and men thus be brought to honor God. By his death the law, the truth, and the mercy of God were honored. By the spread of his gospel and the conversion of sinners; by all that Christ will do, now that he is glorified, to spread his gospel, God will be honored. The conversion of a single sinner honors God; a revival of religion is an eminent means of promoting his honor; and the spread of the gospel among all nations shall yet do more than all other things to promote the honor of God among men. Whatever honors the Saviour honors God. Just as he is exalted in view of the mind, so will God be honored and obeyed.


Joh 17:1-26. The Intercessory Prayer.

(See on [1869]Joh 14:1). Had this prayer not been recorded, what reverential reader would not have exclaimed, Oh, to have been within hearing of such a prayer as that must have been, which wound up the whole of His past ministry and formed the point of transition to the dark scenes which immediately followed! But here it is, and with such signature of the Lips that uttered it that we seem rather to hear it from Himself than read it from the pen of His faithful reporter.

1-3. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes—"John very seldom depicts the gestures or looks of our Lord, as here. But this was an occasion of which the impression was indelible, and the upward look could not be passed over" [Alford].

Father, the hour is come—(See on [1870]Joh 13:31, 32).

glorify thy Son—Put honor upon Thy Son, by countenancing, sustaining, and carrying Him through that "hour."John 17:1-5 Christ prayeth to his Father to glorify him,

John 17:6-14 and to preserve his apostles in unity of faith,

John 17:15,16 and from all evil,

John 17:17-19 and to sanctify them with the word of truth,

John 17:20-26 and for the perfect union of all believers, and

their admission to a share of his glory in heaven.

When our Lord had finished his discourses, of which we have had a large account in John 14:1-16:33, he goes to prayer. As he taught us when we pray to direct our petitions to the Father, so in this he setteth us an example; and before he speaketh it is said he

lifted up his eyes to heaven, as his Father’s mansion house who, though he filleth heaven and earth, yet doth in heaven most manifest his glory: and therefore, teaching us to pray, he commandeth us to say, Our Father which art in heaven; not exclusively, as if God were not on earth also; but eminently, as heaven is the place where he most gloriously manifests himself. Lifting up the eyes was a usual gesture in prayer, and but an indication of the soul’s being lifted up, Psalm 121:1 123:1; yet no necessary gesture, for we shall at another time find our Saviour falling upon his face when he prayed, Matthew 26:39 Mark 14:35. The lifting up of the soul to God, wherein the main and spiritual part of prayer lies, doth not necessarily require the lifting up of the eyes. The publican cast down his eyes upon the earth, in the sense of his unworthiness. Our Lord lifted up his eyes, and said,

Father, the hour is come; that is, the hour of my passion, the time wherein thou hast determined that I should die; now make thy Son glorious, by raising me from the dead, by taking me up to heaven, or by giving me assistance from thee to do the work which I have to do, to drink this bitter cup: that so I, being risen again from the dead, and ascending up to heaven, may make thy name famous by publishing thy justice, goodness, and truth, upon the preaching of the gospel to all nations.

These words spake Jesus,.... Referring to his sermons and discourses, his words of comfort, advice, direction, and instruction, delivered in the three preceding chapters:

and lift up his eyes to heaven; the seat of the divine majesty, the throne of his Father. This is a prayer gesture. It is said (c) of R. Tanchuma, that , "he lift up his face to heaven", and said before the holy blessed God, Lord of the world, &c. and this is expressive of the ardency and affection of the mind of Christ, and of his confidence of the divine favour: it shows that his mind was filled with devotion and faith, and was devoid of shame and fear, and was possessed of great freedom, boldness, and intrepidity:

and said, Father; or "my Father", as the Syriac, Arabic and Persic versions read; and no doubt but he used the word Abba, which signifies "my Father", thereby claiming his interest in him, and relation to him:

the hour is come; to depart out of the world, to suffer and die for his people, which was agreed upon between him and his Father from all eternity; and it was welcome to him, on account of the salvation of his people, and therefore he spoke with an air of pleasure and satisfaction; and it would be quickly over, was but an hour, as it were, though a time of great trouble, distress and darkness, and so a fit time for prayer:

glorify thy Son; as man and Mediator; for as God, he needed no glory, nor could any be added to him: but it designs some breakings forth of glory upon him at his death; by supporting him under all the sorrows and sufferings of it; and in carrying him through it; so that he conquered all his people's enemies, and his own, sin, Satan, the world, and death, and obtained eternal redemption for them: and at his resurrection; by not suffering him to remain so long in the grave, as to see corruption; and by raising him at the exact time that was foretold by the prophets and himself; and by sending an angel to roll away the stone; and by raising some of the saints along with him; and by putting such a glory on his body, as that it is the pattern and exemplar of the saints' resurrection: and at his ascension to heaven, when he led captivity captive; and at his session at the right hand of God, above all principalities and powers; and through the effusion of the Spirit upon his disciples, and the divine power that attended his Gospel, to make it effectual to great multitudes, both to Jews and Gentiles; by all which he was glorified, pursuant to this petition of his; in which his end is,

that thy Son also may glorify thee; as he had done throughout the whole of his life and conversation, and by his ministry and miracles; so now at his sufferings and death, through the salvation of his chosen ones, in which the wisdom, grace, justice, holiness, power, and faithfulness of God are greatly glorified; and in the after discharge of other branches of his mediatorial office, in making intercession for his people, in the ministry of his word and ordinances, by his servants, attended with his holy Spirit, and by the administration of his kingly office.

(c) Vajikra Rabba, sect. 34. fol. 174. 4.

These {1} words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, {2} Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

(1) Jesus Christ, the everlasting high Priest, being ready to immediately offer himself up, by solemn prayers consecrates himself to God the Father as a sacrifice, and us together with himself. Therefore this prayer was from the beginning, is, and will be to the end of the world, the foundation and ground of the Church of God.

(2) He first declares that as he came into the world so that the Father might show in him (being apprehended by faith) his glory in saving his elect, so he applied himself to that only: and therefore he desires from the Father that he would bless the work which he had finished.

John 17:1-2.[185] The parting discourses to the disciples are finished, and that with the words, giving assurance of victory, ἘΓῺ ΝΕΝΊΚ. Τ. ΚΌΣΜ. But now, before Jesus goes forth into the fatal night, as He casts a parting glance on His disciples, who are standing there ready to move on (John 14:31), and on the whole future of His work, now to be completed on behalf of earth, His communion with the Father impels Him to prayer. He prays aloud (John 17:13) and long on His own behalf (John 17:1-5), on behalf of His disciples (John 17:6-19), and on behalf of those who are to become believers at a later time (John 17:20 ff.), with all the depth, intensity, clearness, and repose of the moral need, and of the childlike devotion of the Fulfiller. Because He, by this prayer, prepares Himself for the high-priestly act of the atoning self-sacrifice (see especially John 17:19), it is justly termed the precatio summi sacerdotis (Chytraeus), an appellation which is arbitrarily explained by Hengstenberg from the Aaronic blessing (Leviticus 9:22; Numbers 6:22 ff.). Luther aptly says: “that He might fully discharge His office as our sole high priest.”

ταῦτα ἐλάλησενκαὶκαί] Not negligence of style (De Wette), but solemn circumstantiality.

ΕἸς Τ. ΟὐΡ.] does not serve to establish the point that Jesus spoke in the open air (see on John 14:31; so Ruperti, Grotius, Ebrard, Hengstenberg, and many others), nor is the suggestion needed (Gerhard) that through the window of the room the heavens were accessible to view, but the eye of one who prays is on all occasions raised toward heaven. Comp. Acts 7:55.

ἡ ὥρα] The hour κατʼ ἐξοχήν, i.e. the hour of my death, as that of my passage to Thee, John 13:1, John 12:23.

δόξασονδοξάσῃ] The former through the elevation into the heavenly glory (comp. John 17:5), the latter through the revelation of the glory of God, so far, that is, as the victory of the gospel in the world, and the entire continuance and consummation of the divine work of redemption was conjoined with the heavenly glorification and ministry of Christ. To refer δόξασον to the earthly, moral glorification of Christ in the recognition of His Person and cause (Didymus, Nösselt, Kuinoel, De Wette, Reuss), or to the communication of the true God-consciousness to humanity (Baur), is opposed to the context, because Christ means His glorification through His death, but this in John is constantly the personal heavenly glorification. Note further σου τὸν υἱόν and Ὁ ΥἹΌς ΣΟΥ; the emphasis of the ΣΟΥ, which is moved to the first place, is related to the prayer as assigning a reason for it; it is in truth Thy Son whom Thou art to glorify.

John 17:2 presents to the Father the definite motive for the fulfilment of that which was prayed for, and that in such a manner that καθὼςσαρκός corresponds to the preceding ΔΌΞΑΣΟΝ ΣΟΥ ΤῸΝ ΥἹΌΝ, and ἽΝΑ ΠᾶΝ, Κ.Τ.Λ., which contains the purpose of ἜΔΩΚΑς ΑὐΤῷ ἘΞΟΥΣ. Π. Σ., is correlative to ἽΝΑ Ὁ ΥἹΌς Σ. ΔΟΞ. ΣΕ.[186]

καθώς denotes the motive contained in the relation of fitness, in the measure that, according as. Comp. on John 13:34.

Full power over all men has the Father given to the Son on His mission (John 13:3), for He has endowed Him as the sole Redeemer and Saviour with power for the execution of the decree of salvation, which extends to all; none is exempted from His Messianic authority. But this ἐξουσία He cannot carry out without returning to the heavenly δόξα, whence He must carry on and complete His work. By πάσης σαρκός, however, the whole of humanity—and that in its imperfection (see on Acts 2:17), conditioned by the very fact of the σάρξ, John 3:6, by which it is destitute of eternal life—is, with a certain solemnity of the O. T. type (כל בשר), designated. The expression is not elsewhere found in John, but it corresponds exactly to this elevated mood of prayer.

ἵνα πᾶν, κ.τ.λ.] Not a mere statement of the contents and compass of the ἐξουσία (Ebrard): no, in the attainment of the blessed design of that fulness of power (comp. John 5:26-27) lies precisely that glorification of the Father, John 17:1. Not all, however, without distinction, can receive eternal life through Christ, but (comp. John 17:6) those whom the Father has given to the Son (through the attraction by grace, John 6:37; John 6:39; John 6:44; John 6:65) are such, designated from the side of the divine efficiency, the same who, on their side, are the believing (John 1:12, John 3:15, et al.), not “the spiritual supramundane natures” whom Hilgenfeld here discovers. Comp. besides, on John 6:37; John 6:39.

αὐτοῖς] to be referred to the subjects of the absolute (Buttmann, N. T. Gr. p. 325 [E. T. pp. 379, 380]) collective ΠᾶΝ (Bremi, ad Isocr. I. Exc. X.). Note further the weighty parallel arrangement δέδωκας αὐτῲ, δώσῃ αὐτοῖς. On the form δώσῃ, see Buttmann, N. T. Gr. p. 31 [E. T. p. 36]. Not future conjunctive (Bengel, Baeumlein), but a corrupt form of the aorist.

[185] Luther’s exposition of chap. 17 belongs to the year 1534.

[186] Ewald begins a new sentence with καθώς, which is first completed in ver. 4, so that ver. 3 is a parenthesis: “Even as Thou gavest to Him full power … I glorified Thee upon the earth.” But the periodic form which thus arises is less in harmony with the manner of this prayer; and the change of persons in vv. 2 and 4 betrays the want of mutual connection.

John 17:1. Ταῦτα ἐλάλησενκαὶ ἐπῆρε. The connection of ἐλάλησεν with ἐπῆρε by καί shows that the prayer followed immediately upon the discourse, and was, therefore, uttered in the hearing of the disciples. ἐπῆρεοὐρανόν, so 1 Chronicles 21:16. ἧρα τ. ὀφθ., Psalm 121:1; Psalm 123:1. From οὐρανόν it cannot be argued that they were in the open air. “Für das Auge des Geistes is der freie Himmel überall.” Lücke. “The eye of one who prays is on all occasions raised toward heaven.” Meyer. Πάτερ, ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα, “Father,” the simplest and most intimate form of address, cf. John 11:41, John 12:27. “The hour is come,” i.e., the hour appointed for the glorification of the Son; cf. John 2:4; John 12:23. That this hour is meant is shown by the petition which follows: δόξασόν σου τὸν υἱόν, “glorify Thy Son”. σου, in position of emphasis. This glorification embraced His death, resurrection, and session at God’s right hand, as accredited Mediator, cf. John 7:39, John 12:16; John 12:23. But this glorification itself had an object, ἵνα ὁ υἱὸς δοξάσῃ σε, “that the Son may glorify Thee”. The Father is glorified by being known in His love and holiness.

1. These words] More exactly, these things, as in John 16:1; John 16:4; John 16:6; John 16:25; John 16:33.

lifted up his eyes] in calm confidence and in the assurance of victory (John 16:33). The attitude is in marked contrast to His falling on His face in the garden (Matthew 26:39). ‘To heaven’ does not prove that He was in the open air: comp. Acts 7:55; Luke 18:13.

Father] This is His claim to be heard. Comp. ‘Abba, Father’ in Mark 14:36, and see Lightfoot on Galatians 4:6.

the hour] See on John 2:4 and John 12:27. S. John loves to mark each great crisis in Christ’s life; this is the last.

glorify thy Son] By His return to glory (John 17:5) through suffering and death. Comp. Php 2:9-11.

that thy Son also may glorify] By making known the glory of God, through the Son. To make God known is to glorify Him. ‘Also’ must be omitted, and for ‘Thy Son’ we ought perhaps to read ‘the Son.’

1–5. The Prayer for Himself

The Son was sent to give to men eternal life, which consists in the knowledge of God. This work the Son has completed to the glory of the Father, and therefore prays to be glorified by the Father.

John 17:1. Ταῦτα, these things) He prays respecting Himself, John 17:1-2; respecting the apostles, John 17:6-7; and again, John 17:24-25; respecting those about to believe, John 17:20-23; and in this prayer comprises all things which He spake from ch. John 8:31, and sets His seal on all that He has heretofore done, having in His view the past, present, and future. The new Pentecost, now close at hand, is tacitly meant. Who is there that would not rejoice, that these words which Jesus spake to the Father, are extant in writing? This chapter, of all the chapters in Scripture, is the easiest in regard to the words, the most profound in regard to the ideas meant.—καὶ ἐπῆρε, and lifted up) forthwith [in continuation].—εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν, to heaven) Thither He was now directing all His thoughts.—εἶπε, spake) He prays the Father, and at the same time teaches His disciples.—Πάτερ) So Jesus addresses Him by the appellation, Father, absolutely, four times in this sweet and lengthened prayer; and twice, accompanied with an epithet; in all only six times, and that generally when a new part of the discourse is being begun: John 17:1; John 17:5; John 17:11; John 17:21; John 17:24-25. The names of God ought not to be accumulated together in prayer, but are to be addressed to Him sparingly and with religious reverence: as Hottinger shows that the Hebrews also inculcate, where he is treating of the names of God among the people of the East. Such simplicity in His mode of address was above all becoming in the Son of God: and accordingly as each believer has his soul in the best state of readiness for confidence in prayer, so he can most fully follow in the steps of His Master’s simplicity,—ἡ ὥρα) the hour of glorification.—δόξασον, glorify) This verb and the noun δόξα, glory, throughout the whole of this prayer, have the same force, and that the highest degree of force. Both before His glorification, and after it, the Son glorified the Father. Hence arises the various alternations in the mutual glorification [the Son glorifying the Father, and then as the consequence, the Father glorifying the Son, and vice versâ]: John 17:4-5; John 5:1.—σοῦ τὸν ὑιὸν, Thy Son) By this appellation it is expressed that Jesus is to be glorified, as it is becoming that the Son should be; and for this very reason, because He is the Son. Here, in treating with (where He is having to do with) the Father, He does not call Himself the Son of Man.

Verses 1-26. -

4. The high-priestly intercession. .Audible communion of the Son with the Father. The prayer which now follows reveals, in the loftiest and sublimest form, the Divine humanity of the Son of man, and the fact that, in the consciousness of Jesus as the veritable Christ of God, there was actually blended the union of the Divine and human, and a perfect exercise of the prerogatives of both. The illimitable task which writers of the second century must have set themselves to accomplish, if they had by some unknown process conceived such a stupendous idea without any historical basis to support it, has actually been so effected, that a representation is given which adequately conveys such a synthesis. The author of the Gospel does, however, draw rather upon his memory of that night than upon his philosophical imagination for a passage which surpasses all literature in its setting forth the identity of being and power and love in the twofold personality of the God-Man. We are brought by it to the mercy-seat, into the heaven of heavens, to the very heart of God; and we find there a presentation of the most mysterious and incomprehensible love to the human race, embodied in the Person, enshrined in the words, of the only begotten Son. It need not perplex those who believe that we have the words of Jesus, that this prayer of sublime victory and glorious promise should be followed by the agony and the bloody sweat of Gethsemane, where the glorification of the Son of man passed into the advanced stage of his willing and perfect surrender to the Supreme Will. Hengstenberg finds explanation of John's silence touching that agony in the supplemental character of the Gospel, which does not repeat a description of a scene already familiar to all readers of the synoptic narrative. This may account for the mere form of the record, but does it meet the perplexity that arises as to whether the scene of Gethsemane could possibly follow John's narrative? Is not such a conception incompatible altogether with the cry, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me"? Our answer is a reference to John 12:27, where there is the exact counterpart of the scene in the garden. Nor is a mysterious troubling of the Redeemer's soul elsewhere absent from the Johannine narrative. At the grave of Lazarus, as well as when the Greeks wrung from his lips the cry, "Father, save me from this hour," followed by "Father, glorify thy Name," we have the blending of an utterly indescribable affliction with a triumphant acceptance by him of the Divine purpose of his mission and the will of his Father. Throughout these discourses he is meditating his departure with all its accompanying grief and agony. He describes the way he is about to take as one which would be like the travail-pang of a new humanity; but in his capacity of living in the light of the Father's will, he treats the whole mystery of the cross, the grave, the resurrection, the ascension, as already achieved. Throughout this prayer he regards the work as finished, and the new order of things as already existent. Thus he had prayed for Lazarus and for his restoration from the grave, and he knew then that God heard him; but still he wept, and, groaning within himself, came to the sepulcher. It should also be remembered that (John 14:30) he had expressly said that he was then about to encounter the prince of this world. The perfect humanity of Jesus, on which John continually insists, does entirely justify the rapid changes of mood and the vehemence of the emotions which were in their conflict issuing in sublime courage and perfect peace. The school of Renan, Strauss, and others, following the lead of Bret-schneider, see insuperable difficulties, because they have an idea of Christ's Person which would render it inconceivable and incredible (see Introduction, p. 106.). Verses 1-5. -

(1) With reference to himself. Verse 1. - Jesus spake these things; i.e. the discourse which precedes, and then turned from his disciples to the Father. The place where the prayer was offered is comparatively unimportant, yet it must have been uttered somewhere. It has been well suggested that the Lord, with the disciples, sought the comparative quiet of the Father's house, and in some of the courts of the temple, within sight of the golden gate with its mighty vine, had enacted all that is recorded in John 15-17. This does not interfere with the idea that the starry sky was visible to them, and that from some portion of the temple-courts our Lord should have lifted his eyes to heaven; for the heavens are the perpetual symbol of the majesty of God, and show that side on which, by instinctive recognition of the fact, men may and do look out upon the infinite and the eternal. And having lifted up his eyes to heaven - or, lifting (Revised Version) up his eyes to heaven - he said, in a voice which the wondering, believing, and troubled disciples might hear (see Ver. 13), and from which they were intended to learn much of the relation between their Lord and the eternal Father. There is a twofold division of the prayer: From Vers. 1-5 he offers prayer for himself, but in special relation to his own power over and his own grace to the children of men; from Vers. 6-19 he contemplates the special interests of his disciples, in their present forlorn condition, in their work, conflict, and ultimate triumph; from Vers. 19-26 he prays for the whole Church,

(a) for its unity,

(b) for its expansion,

(c) its glory. For himself he has little to ask (Vers. 1-5), but as soon as his word takes the form of intercession for his own (Vers. 6-26), it becomes an irresistible stream of the most fervent love. Sentence rushes upon sentence with wonderful power, yet the repose is never disturbed (Ewald). Father; not "my Father," nor "our Father," the prayer given to his disciples, nor "my God" as afterwards upon the cross; nor was it the customary address to "God" of either Pharisee or publican; but it recalls the "Abba, Father" of the garden, which passed thence into the experience of the Church (Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). The hour which has so often presented itself as inevitable, but which so often has receded, and which even now delays its full realization (John 2, 7, 12, 13.) as part of a Divine plan concerning him, the hour of the fiery baptism, of the solemn departure, of the conflict with the prince of this world, and of complete acceptance of the Father's will, has come; glorify thy Son, that (thy) the Son may (also) glorify thee. Lift thy Son into the glory which thou hast prepared, that the Son whom thou hast sanctified and sent into the world may glorify thee. It is very noticeable that he speaks of himself in the third person. This is justified by the fact that he here conspicuously rises out of himself into the consciousness of God, and loses himself in the Father. The glorification of the Son is first of all by death issuing in life. He was crowned with glory in order that he might taste death for every man. The conflict, the victorious combat with death, was the beginning of his glory. In taking upon himself all the burden of human sorrow, and exhausting the poison of the sting of death, he would "glorify God" (cf. John 21:19). This does not exhaust the meaning, but the further forms and elements of his glory are referred to afterwards. John 17:1These words (ταῦτα)

Literally, these things. So Rev.


John nowhere says that Jesus prayed, as the other Evangelists do.

Thy Son - thy Son (σοῦ τὸν υἱὸν - ὁ υἱός)

Properly, thy Son - the Son. The second phrase marks a change from the thought of personal relationship to that of the relation in which Jesus manifests the Father's glory.

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