For I have given to them the words which you gave me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from you, and they have believed that you did send me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me.—Our Lord explains in this verse how the disciples attained to the knowledge He had spoken of in John 17:7, and lays stress in the first place on His own work in teaching them, “I, on My part, have given unto them,” and on the matter taught as that which the Father had committed unto Him (John 12:49).
And they have received them.—Not less emphatic is the work of the disciples themselves. “They on their part received them.” Others had been taught, and did not receive. The teaching was the same; the varying effect was in the heart of the hearer. (Comp. John 1:12; John 1:18.)
He has spoken of the teaching and the reception. He proceeds to the two-fold result.
And they have believed (better, and they believed) that thou didst send me.—The addition of this clause is in part to be explained as the Hebrew fulness of expression, and in part as an advance on the truth, “I came out from Thee.” That He came from God they knew by the harmony of His doctrine with the voice of God, which was already speaking in their consciences. But more than this, they believed Him to be the sent One, the Messiah, whom they expected (John 17:3).John 5:30.
received them; not only the sound of them in their ears, not only the notion of them in their understandings, but they had embraced and believed them; and had, from the force and, authority of them, given credit to him as the true Messias, who came out and was sent from God. Though they were not yet come up to a perfect faith in him as the eternal Son of God, yet they believed him one that came from God, and was sent of God as the promised Messiah; which seemeth to have been that degree of faith which Christ most insisted upon as to his disciples, until by his resurrection from the dead he declared himself to be the Son of God with power; though all along this Gospel, his discourses, and the miracles which he wrought, had a particular tendency to prove himself one with the Father, and the eternal Son of God; and the disciples had some weak persuasion of this also.
which thou gavest me; for the words and doctrines which Christ, as the great prophet in Israel spoke, were not his own, but his Father's; and these were given him to speak and deliver to others, and in which he was faithful; so Jonathan ben Uzziel (l) paraphrases the text in Deuteronomy 18:18; concerning that prophet, the Messiah, God would raise up, after this manner;
"a prophet will I raise up unto them from among their brethren, in whom the Holy Spirit shall be, like unto thee; , "and I will give the words", of my prophecy into his mouth, and he shall speak with them all that I have commanded.''
And so the Messiah Jesus did:
and they have received them; willingly and gladly, with reverence and meekness, with love, and thankfulness; so as to understand them and believe them, and so as to be affectionately and closely attached to them:
and have known surely that I came out from thee; which is meant, not of his eternal filiation, but of his constitution and commission, as Mediator by his Father: of which they had certain knowledge, full assurance of faith, and sincerely owned and confessed being fully persuaded he was the true Messiah, and no impostor:
and they have believed that thou didst send me; into this world, to seek and to save lost sinners, to redeem all the chosen ones, and perform everything necessary to their salvation.
(l) Targum Jon. in Deuteronomy 18.18.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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)John 17:8. ὅτι τὰ ῥήματα … ἀπέστειλας. The result achieved, John 17:7, was due to the fidelity of the messenger, τὰ ῥήματα … δέδωκα αὐτοῖς, and to the receptiveness of those prepared by God, αὐτοὶ ἔλαβον, etc. cf. John 16:30. ἐγὼ περὶ αὐτῶν ἐρωτῶ. He desires solemnly to commit to the Father’s keeping those who have believed. He prays for them in distinction from the world, and for the present sets the world aside, οὐ περὶ τοῦ κόσμου. The petitions now presented are only applicable to disciples, not to the world. Melanchthon says: “vide horrendum judicium Christi de mundo, cum negat se orare pro mundo, damnatque quicquid est mundi, quantumvis speciosum”. But Luther more justly says: “To pray for the world, and not to pray for the world, must both be right and good. For soon after He says Himself: ‘Neither pray I for those alone, but for them also who shall believe on me’.” He prayed too for His crucifiers, Luke 23:34. His reason for praying for those who have received Him is ὅτι σοί εἰσι, “because they are Thine”. God’s interest in them and work upon them have already been manifested, and are the promise of His further operation.8. the words] Or, the sayings (see on John 5:47). This is not the plural of ‘word’ (logos) in John 17:6; but the other noun (rhemata), the singular of which is not used by S. John. It means the separate utterances as distinct from the doctrine as a whole.
they have received … have known … have believed] Better, they received … recognised … believed. See on John 17:4.
came out from] Better, came forth from (see on John 16:28). They recognised that His mission was Divine: they believed that He was sent as the Messiah. They had proof of the first point; the second was a matter of faith.John 17:8. Ἔλαβον, they have received) by faith.—ἐπίστευσαν, they have believed) Thrice in this prayer faith is mentioned; that of the apostles in this place; that of those who are about to believe through their word, in John 17:20; that of the world, John 17:21.
Compare thy word (λόγον), John 17:6. That signified the gospel message in its entirety. This, the message considered in its constituent parts. See on Luke 1:37. Compare John 5:38, John 5:47; John 6:60, John 6:63, John 6:68; John 8:43, John 8:47, John 8:51; John 12:47, John 12:48; John 15:3, John 15:7.
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