And now come I to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And now I come to thee.—Comp. the first words of John 17:12, with which these are in contrast.
And these things I speak in the world.—The thought is that He is about to leave them, and that He utters this prayer in their hearing (comp. John 11:42) that they may have the support of knowing that He who had kept them while with them, had solemnly committed them to His Father’s care. The prayer itself was a lesson, and this thought is to be remembered in the interpretation of it.
That they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.—Comp. Notes on John 15:11; John 16:24. The joy here thought of is that which supported Him in all the sorrow and loneliness of His work on earth, and came from the never-failing source of the Father’s presence with Him. (Comp. Note on John 16:32.) He would have them fulfilled with the abundance of this joy.John 17:13-19. These things I speak in the world — That is, before I leave the world; that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves — I offer this prayer in behalf of my apostles, with this intention; that being heard for them, they may receive all the endowments necessary to qualify them for converting the world, and be filled with my joy, the great joy I have in being the means of saving mankind. I have given them thy word, &c. — I have omitted nothing that on my part was necessary to fit them for converting the world, and partaking of my joy. And — Though they are indeed the greatest friends and benefactors of the human race, yet the world hath hated them — And will be sure to persecute them with the utmost violence; because they are not of the world — Are neither influenced by the principles, nor conformed to the spirit or conduct, of carnal men; even as I am not of the world — In which respects they resemble me. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world — As if he had said, Although these persecutions, which shall befall them, are another great reason why I offer up this prayer for them; nevertheless, my meaning is not that, on account of these difficulties, thou shouldest immediately remove them out of the world by death; but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil which is in the world, or rather, from the evil one, as απο του πονηρου properly signifies, that is, from the influence of his subtlety and power; from being taken in the snares he will lay for them, deceived by his wiles, or led into sin by his temptations. They are not of the world, &c. — This sentiment he repeats, as reflecting with great pleasure on their being separated from the world, both in their dispositions and actions; and on their resembling himself in this respect; and hence he was the more solicitous that, after his departure, they might be preserved blameless, and therefore prays as in the following words, Sanctify them through thy truth — Consecrate them to their office, and perfect them in holiness, by the instrumentality of thy truth, accompanied by thy grace. Thy word is truth — Thy gospel, which they are to preach, is the great system of sanctifying truth, whereby real holiness is ever to be promoted: and may these my apostles experience more and more of its vital energy on their own souls, to qualify them more fully for the office of dispensing it to others. As thou hast sent me into the world — To be the messenger of this grace; even so have I sent them — Namely, on the same errand, to publish and proclaim what they have learned of me. And for their sakes — As well as for the salvation of all that do or shall believe in me; I sanctify myself — I set myself apart, as an offering holy to thee. Or, I devote myself as a victim to be sacrificed; that they also might be sanctified through the truth — That, taught by my example, and animated by my dying love, they may be fully fitted for, and wholly devoted to, their important work. To sanctify, signifies, in general, to set apart to some appropriate use; and is used with peculiar propriety with reference to a sacrifice, which seems to be the sense in which our Lord applies it to himself in this verse.John 15:11. The expression "my joy here probably refers to the joy of the apostles respecting the Saviour - the joy which would result from his resurrection, ascension, and intercession in heaven. Acts 1:3; but Christ was now shortly coming, therefore he saith, I come. And, saith he, while I am in the world, I speak these things; I put up this prayer, that the joy of my people may not be diminished by my going from them, but that when they can no longer (as hitherto) rejoice in my bodily presence with them, they may yet rejoice that I am ascended to my Father, that they stand commended to the care of thee, my Father, by this my last prayer. John 17:11, which he repeats as a very great happiness to himself, and with much pleasure and joy, but not without concern for those he was parting from:
and these things I speak in the world; which he had expressed in this prayer concerning the nature of eternal life, and his power to give it to all the Father had given him; concerning the work of redemption finished by him, and the glory due unto him on that account; concerning his chosen ones, particularly the apostles, and the mutual interest he and his Father had in them; and what he had done for them, in revealing the Gospel to them, keeping them by the powerful influence of his grace, and the great concern he had for their future preservation: and these things he took notice of in his prayer, whilst he was in the world, before he took his leave of them;
that, says he,
they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves: either the joy which Christ had in them, which was of an early date, is still continued towards them, and will be more fully expressed, when they shall all be brought safe home to glory, and be for ever with him; or else the joy of which Christ is the author and object, which comes from him, and centres in him: saints rejoice in the person of Christ; in the greatness and dignity of his person, as God over all; hence they know that what he did and suffered answered the purpose, that he must have great interest in heaven, and they must be safe in his hands; and in the fitness of it, to be a Mediator, he being God and man in one person; and in the fulness of it, which is all theirs, it is with delight they view it, with joy they receive from it, and believe they shall not want; and in the beauty of it, he being fairer than the children of men. The offices Christ bears as prophet, priest, and King, the relations he stands in as father, husband, brother and friend; his Gospel and communion with him, the blessings of grace in him, as peace, pardon, righteousness and salvation, lay a foundation for solid joy in them that believe; as do also his death, resurrection, exaltation and intercession. This joy in him is a grace of the Spirit, and is attended with faith in Christ; it should be constant, but is frequently interrupted; though the ground and foundation of it is always the same; it is therefore at present imperfect, but may be increased; it is unknown to the world, and inexpressible by the saints; and may be said to be "fulfilled" in them, when it abounds in them more and more; when they are full of it, and that is full of glory, and which will be fulfilled in glory.And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 17:13. As He Himself goes to the Father, He utters this petition aloud, and while yet with the disciples—ταῦτα λαλῶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ—that they might recognise that the power of God was engaged for their protection, and might thus have repeated and perfected in themselves the same joy with which Christ had overcome all the trials and fears of life. Cf. John 15:11, John 16:24.13. And now come I] Better, But now I come. The conjunction introduces a contrast. Hitherto Christ has been with them watching over them; ‘but now’ it is so no longer.
that they might] Better, that they may. Christ is praying aloud in order that His words may comfort them when they remember that He Himself consigned them to His Father’s keeping. Comp. John 11:42.
my joy] Literally, the joy that is Mine: see on John 14:27 and John 15:11.John 17:13. Δὲ, but) In antithesis to, I was with them. He now saith, I come to Thee.—λαλῶ, I speak) Without doubt the disciples were hearing Him whilst He was speaking.—ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, in the world) already now, before My departure.—ἔχωσι, that they may have) whilst I teach them and pray for them.—τὴν χαρὰν τὴν ἐμὴν, My joy) ch. John 15:11, note [“the joy which I have at My departure to the Father, a joy flowing from love”].Verse 13. - But now come I to thee. So that the condition, the shielding protection of my love is removed, thou, O my Father, must be their Sun and Shield. And these things I am uttering in the world; uttering, i.e. in their hearing before my last step is taken, and perhaps in the very midst of the machinations which are going on against me. That they might have the joy that is mine fulfilled, fully unfolded and completed, in themselves. By overhearing the high-priestly prayer, they would be assured of the Divine guardianship, and would receive the transfer of even his joy as well as of his peace. They would find the higher joy also of the return of their Lord to the bosom of the Father. Christ has taught his disciples to desire such joy and peace as he found on the night of the Passion.
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