Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures
THE HIGH-PRIESTLY, INTERCESSORY PRAYER OF CHRIST ON BEHALF OF HIS PEOPLE. A PRAYER FOR THE GLORIFICATION OF HIS NAME EVEN TO THE GORIFICATION OF HIS PEOPLE AND THE WORLD, OR UNTIL THE VANISHMENT OF THE WORLD AS WORLD. CHRIST, IN HIS SELF-SACRIFICE FOR THE WORLD, THE TRUTH AND FULFILLMENT OF THE SHEKINA AND ALL THE MANIFESTATIONS OF GOD IN THE WORLD. GLORIFICATION OF THE PRAYER, OF DECISIVE CONFLICTS OF SPIRIT, OF SACRIFICE. THE HEAVENLY GOAL
1These words spake1 Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven and said [and having lifted up … he said],2 Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy [the] Son also [omit also] may glorify thee: As [According as] thou hast given him [gavest him, ἔδωχας] power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many 2as thou hast given him [that whatsoever, or, all which thou hast given him, he might give to them life eternal, ἵνα πᾶν δ δέδωχας αὺτῷ, δώσει αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰὠνιον]. 3And this is life eternal [the eternal life, ἡ αἰὠνιος ζωή], that they might know3 thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent [didst send]: 4I have glorified [I glorified, ἐδόξασα] thee on the earth: I have finished [having finished, or, by finishing, τελειώσας]4 the work which thou gavest [hast given, δέδωχας] me to do. 5And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.5
6I have manifested [I manifested] thy name unto the men which [whom] thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest6 them [unto] me; and they have kept thy word. 7Now they have known [they know]7 that all things whatsoever [even as many as] thou hast given me are of [from] thee. 8For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known [they received them and knew]8 surely that I came out [forth] from thee, and they have believed [and believed] that thou didst send me. 9I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which [those whom] thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10And all mine [all things that are mine, τὰ ἐμὰ πἀντα, neut.] are thine, and11thine are mine; and I am [have been] glorified in them. And now [omit now] I am no more [longer] in the world, but [and, χαί] these are in the world, and I come [am coming] to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom [keep them in thy name which ἐν τῷ ὀνὁματί σου ᾧ]9 thou hast given me, that they may be one 12[even] as we are [omit are]. While I was with them in the world [omit in the world]10 I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept [I kept them—ἐτήρουν—in thy name which11 thou hast given me, and guarded, watched over—ἐφύλαξα—them], and none [not one] of them is lost, but the son of 13perdition; that the Scripture might [may] be fulfilled. And [But] now come I [I am coming] to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might 14[may] have my joy fulfilled [made full] in themselves. I have given [δέδωχα] them thy word; and the world hath hated [hated, ἐμίσησεν] them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [the evil one, ἐχ τοῦ πονηροῦ]. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17, Sanctify them through thy12 truth [in the truth]: thy word is truth. 18As thou hast sent [didst send] me into the world, even so have [omit even so have] I also sent 19[or, even so I sent] them into the world. And for their sakes [or, for them, in their behalf] I sanctify myself [mine own self], that they also might [may] be sanctified through [in] the truth.
20Neither pray I for these alone [Yet not for these alone do I pray], but for them also which shall believe [but also for those who believe, τῶν πιστευό ντων]13 on [in] me through their word; 21That they all may [may all] be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one14 in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent [didst send] me. 22And the glory which thou gavest [hast given, δέ δωχας] me I have given [δέ δωχα] them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in [perfected into, τετελειωμένοι εἰς] one; and [omit and15] that the world may know that thou hast sent [didst send] me, and hast loved [didst love, or, lovedst] them, as thou hast loved [didst love, or, lovedst] me. 24Father, I will that they also, whom [that what16] thou hast given me,17 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.
25O [omit O] righteous Father,18 [and (yet), χαί19] the world hath not known thee [knew thee not]: but I have known [knew] thee, and these have known [knew] that thou hast sent [didst send] me. 26And I have declared [I made known] unto them thy name, and will declare it [make it known]; that the love wherewith thou hast loved [didst love, or, lovedst] me may be in them, and I in them.
EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL
[INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.—The seventeenth chapter, the simplest, and yet the deepest and sublimest in the whole Bible,20 contains the sacerdotal or high-priestly prayer of our Lord, so called because He here intercedes for His people and enters upon His function as the High-Priest in offering His own life as a perfect sacrifice for the Bins of the whole world.21 Dr. Lange (see DOCTR. AND ETHIC. below). justly claims for it also a prophetical and kingly character. There are several prayers of Jesus recorded in the New Testament: the model prayer for His disciples (Matt. 6:13), brief thanksgivings (Matt. 11:25, 26; John 6:11; 11:41, 42); the petition in Gethsemane (Matt. 26:39; comp. the similar petition John 12:2); and the exclamation on the cross: “Father, forgive them,” “Eli Eli,” “Father, into Thy hands.” The sacerdotal prayer, spoken in the stillness of the night, under the starry heavens, before the wondering disciples, in view of the approaching consummation of His work, for Himself, His apostles, and His Church to the end of time, is peculiarly His own, the inspiration of His grand mission, and could be uttered only by Christ, and even by Christ only once in the world’s history, as the atonement could occur but once, but its effect vibrates through all ages. It is not so much the petition of an inferior, or dependent suppliant, as the communion of an equal, and a solemn declaration of His will concerning those whom He came to save. While praying to the Father He teaches the apostles (Bengel: orat Patrem, simulque discipulos docet).22 He prays as the mighty Intercessor and Mediator standing between earth and heaven, looking backward and forward, and comprehending all His present and future disciples in one holy and perfect fellowship with Himself and the eternal Father. The words are as clear and calm as a mirror, but the sentiments as deep and glowing as God’s fathomless love to man, and all efforts to exhaust them are in vain. See the quotation below sub B.—P. S.]
A. The time of the High-priestly prayer of Jesus. It is indicated with the going forth over the brook Kedron [18:1]. The crossing of the brook Kedron was the act and sign of final decision. It is not necessary to understand the going forth as a going forth from the Supper-room, for the precincts of the city probably extended, in single residences, down into the valley.
B. Worth of the prayer. The highest estimation was accorded it by ancient theologians. Luther: “It is, verily, an exceeding fervent, hearty prayer; a prayer wherein He discovereth, both unto us and to the Father, the abysses of His heart and poureth forth its treasures.”23 Spener, according to Canstein (Spener’s Leben, p. 146), would never preach on this chapter; he declared that a true understanding of it mounted above the ordinary degree of faith which the Lord is wont to communicate to His people on their pilgrimage. The evening before his death, however, he caused it to be read to him three times in succession.24 Chytræus called it precatio summi sacerdotis. Similarly, Melanchthon (see Lücke, II., p. 692),25 Lampe, Bengel [see quotation on p. 511], Herder and others have expressed their admiration of the prayer.
[Barnes: “It is perhaps the most sublime composition to be found anywhere.” Owen: “It is Christ’s almighty fiat, addressed to the Father, as Him from whom He came forth, and as the one that had covenanted to save and bless all who by the drawing of His ineffable love had come to Jesus.” Tholuck: “If in any human speech divinity is manifest, and sublimity is joined to condescending humility, it is in this prayer.” De Wette: “Here all the parting discourses are summed up and raised to the highest pitch of thought and feeling. It is beyond a doubt the sublimest part of the evangelical tradition, the pure expression of Christ’s lofty consciousness and peace of God (unstreitig das Erhabenste was uns die evang. Ueberlieferung aufbewahrt hat, der reine Ausdruck von Jesu hohem Gottesbewusstsein und Gottesfrieden).” This testimony has all the more weight on account of the skeptical tendency of De Wette. Luthardt (II., 354): “Neither in the Scripture nor in the literature of any nation can there be found a composition which in simplicity and depth, in grandeur and fervor may be compared to this prayer. It could not be invented, but could proceed only from such a consciousness as the one which speaks here. But it could be preserved and reproduced by a personality so wholly devoted and conformed to the personality of Jesus as the Evangelist.” Ewald (p. 386 f.): “A prayer such as the world never heard nor could hear … For Himself He has little to ask (John 17:1–5), but as soon as His word takes the character of an intercession for His own (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.” Meyer (p. 587) calls it “the noblest and purest pearl of devotion in the New Testament (die edelste und reinste Perle der Andacht im N. T.).”—P. S.]
Bretschneider, on the other hand, has opened the way for the most unfavorable opinions of modern, negative criticism. He calls it an “Oratio frigida, dogmatica, metaphysica.”
[Rationalists and the advocates of the mythical and legendary hypothesis of the life of our Lord can do nothing with this prayer. Renan (Vie de Jésus, p. 275, 12th ed.) disposes of all the parting discourses, John 13–17, in a short footnote, categorically declaring that they cannot be historical, but must be a free fiction of John in his own language. So also Strauss, Weisse, Baur, Scholten. Such a view, which stands and falls with the whole fiction-theory of the Johannean discourses of Christ, is not only revolting to all religious feeling, but plainly incompatible with the depth and height, the tenderness and fervor of this prayer. If John, or whoever was the author of the Gospel, invented it, he must have been conscious of his own fiction and intention of deceiving the reader. That a person in such a frame of mind and heart could produce such a prayer as this, is a psychological and moral impossibility. That the prayer, as the discourses of Christ generally, was not only translated from the Hebrew into the Greek, but freely reproduced in John’s mind, and received his peculiar coloring, may be admitted without impairing the faithfulness as to the thoughts and spirit, especially if we take into consideration that the Paraclete reminded the apostles of Christ’s words and opened to them their full meaning (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13, 14). Godet (II., 367) justly remarks against Reuss, that the internal miracle of a faithful reproduction of the long discourses of Christ is less inexplicable than the artificial composition or fiction of such a master-piece.—P. S.]
C. Historical truth of the prayer and its relation to the agony in Gethsemane. The modern criticism of Bretschneider, Strauss, Baur pretends to discover a contradiction between the triumphant mood of Jesus in this prayer and His dejection in Gethsemane. This rests partly on the false assumption that in Gethsemane Christ petitioned for the averting of His death. See, in opposition to this view, Comm. on Matthew [p. 481, Am. Ed.] Since there can be no question of a change of resolve, but only of a change of mood, we have simply to recognize the profundity and gloriousness of Jesus’ psychical life in the great contrasts presented by His mental frames. [Sudden transitions of feeling belong to human nature, and cannot appear strange in Christ who was peculiarly sensitive and sympathetic, yet in all these changing moods retained equilibrium and self-control, comp. John 11:33 ff. On the apparent inconsistency between the calmness and repose of the sacerdotal prayer and the subsequent agony in the garden, which was but the anticipation of the sufferings of the cross, comp. also the sensible remarks of Meyer, p. 588, Hengs-tenberg, III. 143, and Godet, II. 507 f.—P. S.]
D. But why did not John append the psychical combat of Jesus in Gethsemane to this prayer? A presentation of that was, like a presentation of the Supper, foreign to his plan, and the omission must be justified by that plan. The victory of Jesus, in His spiritual sorrow, over Judas (John 13:31), involved the victory in Gethsemane, as also His victory on the cross. Moreover, John had related the prelude consisting of the suffering of Jesus in the circle of disciples, and the scene in the Temple-precincts (John 12:27), and could assume the Church’s familiarity with the conflict in Gethsemane, to which familiarity Heb. 5:7 also bears testimony. [Besides Christ Himself points to the agony, John 14:30, in the words: “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.”—P. S.]
E. Symbolism of the prayer: With eyes upraised to heaven. An evidence that He seeks His home above, where the Father is. The observation that, in an astronomical sense, there is no above or beneath, is a worthless one here. Heaven, as the place where the Divine glory is manifested, constitutes the above, in antithesis to earth. Christ prays aloud, in order to the consolation and elevation of the disciples, for here, too, the rule holds good, that the human reference and design of prayer does not vitiate its directness and subjectivity. See John 11:42. Augustine: Tanti magistri non solum sermocinatio ad ipsos, sed etiam oratio pro ipsis discipulorum est ædificatio.
F. Progression of the Prayer:
1. Christ first prays for His own glorification, John 17:1–5.
2. Then for the preservation of His disciples, John 17:6–19.
3. Finally for the congregation of believers, which they are to lead to Him; for their unity and perfection in the kingdom of glory, that the whole world may believe through them, may attain unto knowledge and, as world, vanish out of existence, John 17:20–24.
4. The conclusion sums up the whole in the thought that Christ’s love in the disciples shall become the full presence of Christ in the world. [The connecting idea of the three parts is the work of God, as accomplished by Christ, carried on by the apostles, and to be completed in the church, to the glory of God.—P. S.]
John 17:1. These words spake Jesus and having lifted up His eyes, etc. [Ταῦταἐλάλησε ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἐπάρας τοὺςὀφθαλμοὺς αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν εἶπε. The double καί (text. rec.) is not carelessness (De Wette), but solemn circumstantiality of expression (Meyer). But ἐπάρας without καί is better authenticated than ἐπῇρεν with καί—P. S.].—With this expression the Evangelist connects the prayer of Jesus with the farewell discourses, making it the sealing of the same. Prayer the blossom of holy speech; meditation the root of prayer. [Christ prayed aloud, partly from the strength of emotion which seeks utterance in speech, partly for the benefit of His disciples (John 17:13), that He might lift them up to the throne of grace and reveal to them and to the church the love and sympathy of His heart. Such reflection, especially in a prayer of intercession for others, is quite consistent with the deepest spirit of devotion (comp. on John 11:42). The occasion made an indelible impression on the mind of John, who depicts here also the gesture and heavenward look of the praying Lord.—P. S.]
To heaven.—Calvin: Quia cœlorum conspectus nos admonet, supra omnes creaturas longe eminere deum. See the beginning of “Our Father.” We could not absolutely infer from this remark by itself, that Jesus offered up His prayer in the open air, as Rupert and others affirm. Since that fact, however, is otherwise established, the expression gains in significance.
[In prayer the eye of faith is always instinctively directed to heaven, as heaven is everywhere open, and angels are ascending and descending. Heaven is the abode of the Hearer of prayer and Giver of every good gift. Every prayer of faith is a spiritual ascension. Christ addresses God here as “Father,” πά τερ, simply, six times in this prayer, not “Our Father,” as in the Lord’s Prayer, which is intended for the disciples, nor “My Father,” where He prays for Himself only. Bengel: “Talis simplicitas appellationis ante omnes decuit Filium Dei.” He is the Only Begotten Son of His,. Father, we the common children of our Father (comp. John 20:17). The name of Father is the most endearing under which we can know and address God, and which calls out all our feelings of filial trust and gratitude. Christ probably used the Aramean word אַבָּא, Abba, which passed into the devotional vocabulary of Christians, Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6.—P. S.]
The hour is come [ἐλήλυθεν ἡ ὥρα].—The great, unique hour of decision by death and resurrection, which are inseparable; the hour whose aim and consummation is the glorification [12:23; 13:1, 32].
Glorify Thy Son [δό ξασόν σου τὸν υἱόν—σου placed first to give force to the petition which, being the prayer of the Only Begotten Son, can not be refused—ἵνα (καὶ) ὁ υἱός (σου) δοξά σῃ σέ.—P. S.]. δό ξασον, conduct Him into the state of δόξα of glory. See John 17:5. This glorification of the Son was fulfilled in the Resurrection and Ascension, the “unbounding” of Christ; similarly, the thence-issuing glorification of the Father was fulfilled through the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and the establishment of the Church and of the gospel ministry. The interpretation of Didymus [De Wette, Reuss]: Manifest Me to them who know Me not, is expressive of but one consideration: the effect of Christ’s exaltation. “The communication to mankind of the true consciousness of God” (Baur) is, apprehended monotheistically, a glorification of the Father. [Stier: “These words are a proof that the Son is equal to the Father as touching His Godhead. What creature could stand before his Creator and say, ‘Glorify Thou me, that I may glorify Thee?’ ”—The Son glorifies the Father, not by adding to His glory, but by making it known to men through the Holy Spirit, who makes known and thus glorifies the Son.—P. S.]
John 17:2. According as Thou gavest Him, etc. [Καθὼς ἔδωκας αὐτῷ ἐξουσίαν πάσης σαρκό ς].26—The power over all flesh, received by Christ, in His divine-human person, from God, 13:3], and in spirit exercised by Him through His spiritual victory, is the measure and index of His hope of glorification. The infinite power of His personality over mankind, the infinite verification of that power in the self-humiliation of His love, shall be the measure of His infinite glorification.—Over all flesh [πάσης σαρκό ς].—An Old Testament expression [Colossians basar=all mankind], not found elsewhere in John. A solemn emphasizing of the universalism of His destination for the whole human race; the designation applied to mankind is significant not only of its antithesis to the spiritual life of Christ, but also of its susceptibility of salvation. This power over all flesh is expressive, therefore, of the magnitude of His expectations with regard to the spread of His gospel. See Phil. 2:6 ff.
That all which Thou hast given Him, to them He should give, etc. [ἴνα πᾶν ὅδέδωκας αὐτῷ, δώσῃ (al. δώσει) αὐτοῖς ζωὴν αἰώνιον].—A select number is not here meant by this; the peculiar expression (πᾶν, αὐτοῖς) brings out the fact that the Father has given Him a great, unitous collectivity in the creation;—a mass limbing and sundering into individual members, as men, successively exercising, and departing in, faith, come into possession of eternal life. The collective mass of created beings, souls destined for salvation, is necessarily broken up into individual members, for every man must singly attain to saving faith; this individualization, however, is but conducive to a higher unity. See John 17:21. His glorification is, it is true, an end in itself; nevertheless, it also aims at the bliss of believing humanity; and the one design is inseparable from the other. The design of the creation of the world is the glorification of God and Christ in the blessedness of men; such, likewise, is the design of the redemption. The Father is to be glorified by the diffusion of salvation in Christ, the dissemination of eternal life.
John 17:3. Now this is the eternal life [αὕτη δέ ἐστον ἡ αἰώνιος ζωή].—Ζωὴ αἰώνιος see John 1:4; 3:16, 36. According to the Prologue, the Logos appears in the fundamental forms of light, life, and love; and His absolute life (1 Tim. 6:19) is communicated to believers, through the Holy Ghost, as the fundamental impulse and might of eternal life. Life is an appearing from within outwards, in the form of self-development; eternal life is an eternal self-rejuvenating and appearing; it is life in the eternity of God, inclusive of all times and spaces; the eternity of God in the power of life; an unobstructed self-developing beyond the æons. The believer has the unity of eternity in the manifoldness of life and the manifoldness of life in the unity of eternity27 “If we define life as the undisturbed self-development of the idea implanted in the being, the term signifies, subjectively, self-gratification, bliss,—objectively, the glorification of the finite life in the divine.” Tholuck. John 15:1–3. This is, αὕτη δέ ἐστιν Not metonymically: hoc modo paratur (Beza, etc.), but by way of explanation: heroin it consists, in respect of its principle.
That they must know Thee [ἵνα γινώσκωσί (γινώ σκουσί). σέ τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν]—the distinctive truth of the O. T.—καὶ ὁν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν Χριστό ν—the distinctive truth, of the N. T.]. ἵνα. Eternal life at the same time an eternal unobstructed striving or further striving, toward a goal continually attained and as continually set afresh.28 See the TEXTUAL NOTES. The tendency toward the knowledge of God is not distinct and separate from that toward the knowledge of Christ; they are in reality one; the essential, true tendency of man. To this bias there is an objective and a subjective definitiveness.
I. The objective. Meyer after Lücke: A (confessionally distinct) summary of belief in antithesis to the polytheistic (τ. μόνον ἀληθ. θεόν), and Jewish κόσμος (which latter rejected Jesus as the Messiah). The distinction of the true God and His Ambassador emphasizes the personality of God and Christ, and lays stress upon the knowledge of it as the condition of life and development for the human personality (in opposition to Pantheism). The objective definitiveness of the expression requires that Christ should speak of Himself in the third person; He subsequently returns to ἐγώ—The only true God [τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν comp. μό νοςσοφὸς, Rom. 16:27; μόνος ὅσιοςκύ ριος., Rev. 15:4.—P. S.]. The only essential, real God;—ἀληθινός in antithesis to the unreal, symbolical and mythical gods of the world, not of the Gentile world alone, but also of later Judaism in its estrangement from the faith of revelation, 1 John 5:20; Rev. 5:7; 1 Thess. 1:9. It is the God of revelation in Christ, the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Eph. 1:3; not in antithesis to the Old Testament idea of God or to the idea of Christ, but in antithesis to all false and obscured belief in God; hence God as He reveals Himself in Christ, distinct as to His divine consciousness and distinguished from Christ.—And Him whom Thou hast sent, Jesus Christ. Tholuck: Not Moses, not a prophet, could have been named in this co-ordination, by the side of God, but He only who could say: “he that seeth Me, seeth the Father.” Calvin: Sensus est, Deum mediatore tantum interposito cognosci. At the same time, however, the modification of God’s and Christ’s personality must be observed. Where God is rightly known, He is known as the μόνος ἀλ̇ηθινός where Jesus is rightly known as the Sent of God, He is known as the Χριστόνς. In opposition to this, Tholuck says: According to the Christological view, the Father is not known along with the Messiah, but in Him, John 10:38; 14:7, 8; 18:19. But it is just in the distinction of the two personalities that true knowledge of God in Christ is consummated.
Several explanations present themselves:
(1) Augustine, Ambrose [Hilary] and others: As though it were written: Ut te et, quem misisti, Jesum Christum, cognoscant solum verum deum.29 This is contrary to the text, though from the distinction of Christ from God the Arians and Socinians draw an unjust inference against the divine nature of Christ, the knowledge of God being indissolubly connected with the knowledge of Christ.
(2) The two terms are nomina propria in undivided unity (Tholuck, Luthardt).30 In such case, however, too great a portion of the weight of the passage would be transferred from the objective to the subjective side, the knowing.
(3) Τὸν μόνον, etc. is predicate to σε, Χριστός is predicate to: “Whom Thou hast sent,” Jesus (Clerikus, Nösselt and others).31
(4) Χριστός is the subject; the predicate is contained in ὅν ἀπέστειλας (De Wette).
The last two interpretations lay too great stress upon the ideal on the objective side. We must not apprehend the modifications as predicates, declarative of doctrine, but as definitions, explanatory of the nature of Father and Son, or definitive nomina appellativa.
II. Subjective definitiveness of the sentence. “The schools, after the precedent of Augustine, held γινώσκειν to be a proof of the beatitudo intuitiva æternitatis; in the Hegelian period it was considered to prove the dignity of speculative science. But even Greek exegesis recognizes the practical value of the term; Cyril: τὴν ἐνἕργοις πίστιν, Calov.: notitia practica, better: experimental knowledge. See John 6:19.” Tholuck. Still, we cannot overlook the fact that the whole experience of faith is teleologically leveled at its consummation in contemplative knowledge (Matt. 5:8; 1 Cor. 13:12). John recognizes no knowledge that is not practical, but also no practice whose aim is not seeing. The term knowing is so centrally poised between believing and seeing, as to embrace both, as well as mark the transition from the first to the second.32
John 17:4. I glorified Thee on the earth [ἐγώσε ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, τὸ ἕργον τελειώσας (rec. ἐτελείωσα). The aorists are proleptical and should not be rendered as perfects as in the E. V.—P. S.]—Foundation of the foregoing petition. This not in the sense of urging His claims to being, glorified by the Father on the score of legal merit, but in a sense that presents Him as intimating that, by His glorification of the Father, He has prepared the moment of His own glorification, and that He may now expect such glorification as a recompense agreeable to the fundamental law of the kingdom of love and righteousness. In John 17:1 He modified the succession thus: Father, glorify the Son, that the Son may glorify Thee; now He says: I glorified Thee, now do Thou glorify the Son. To avoid a mingling of the conceptions, we must admit the question to be here of a preliminary glorification of the Father through the Son. And this is Christ’s meaning; He says: I glorified Thee on the earth, and in elucidation of these words He acids: I have finished the work, etc. In His doctrine and life Ho had manifested the Father conformably to the grace and truth of the latter, John 1:17. He could lay this work before the Father as finished and complete. Augustine and Gerhard understand by these words the sacrifice of Christ’s death, of which He speaks, say they, as from the stand-point of its consummation. “Most commentators, even Grotius, at least consider it (the death-sacrifice) to be jointly included by prolepsis; Socinian exegesis alone absolutely excludes it. The fact that John 17:6–9 speak exclusively of Christ’s doctrinal ministry is not decisive in favor of such exclusion.” Tholuck. It is more decisive, however, that Christ here reckons His death as comprising one point in the Father’s glorification of the Son. Hence it is doubtless in the more limited sense that He has been speaking of the work which the Father has commanded Him to do; in a sense similar to that of the words: I must work as long as it is day; the night cometh, etc., John 9:4. Now, however, this work is brought to a conclusion; He makes His high-priestly offering of Himself and seals that with His Passion. The Passion comes under consideration as the conclusion of His obedient doing. See also the καὶ νῦν δόξασον μὲ σύ
John 17:5. And now glorify Me, Thou, Father, with Thyself [καὶ νῦν δόξασόν μεσύ, πάτερ, παρὰ σεαυτῷ τῇ δόξῃ ᾖεἶχον].33—Although the mortal suffering of Jesus should indirectly conduce to the glorification of the Father (see John 17:1), it must be primarily a glorification of the Son; His glorification by death, resurrection and ascension. Christ henceforth conducts Himself passively; the Father assumes the active. With Thyself, i.e. not simply in heaven, but in His submissive resignation to God, in His going to the Father, in His being in God (Col. 3:3), in antithesis to His life in the world hitherto. He has glorified the Father in this world and from this world; the Father is to glorify Him in the other world and from the other world. [παρά denotes closest proximity and equality with personal distinction, “with Thyself as Thy fellow;” comp. 1:2.—P. S.]
With the radiance of glorification [τῆδόξῃ, the glory].—It is the real glory which Christ, as the Son of God and the λόγος possessed, as the medium of the world, before the existence of the world; at once the ideal radiance of glorification which He then, as the future divine-human Lord of glory, had in the view of God, and the ideo-real radiance of glorification of His eternal nascency and advent from the beginning. For Christ in His glorification, did not merely receive back that which He once possessed in the μορφὴ θεοῦ (Phil. 2:6; John 1:1); He also newly received a glory destined Him from the beginning and from the beginning in embryo, as the ideo-real fundamental impulse of the world (see the Prologue). Accordingly, the interpretation which apprehends this δόξα ideally alone, as significant of the destinatio divina (the Socinians, Grotius, Baumg.-Crus.), is inadequate; and inadequate is also the view which would limit the reference of the words to a re-reception of the original real glory (Meyer after some ancients). Be it observed that the future divine-human glory was assured to the Son along with His eternal Logos-glory. It is a question how the δόξα which, according to John 1:14, He manifested even in the state of humiliation, must be distinguished from that other δόξα. The divine highness or majesty consists in the limitless, unobstructed self-manifestation of God in omnipotence and omnipresence or in creative working and appearing; the divine lowliness, or self-divestment of Christ, consists in a self-limitation within the divinely appointed limits of judgment and suffering,—limits actualized in the counter-operations of the world against the Holy One; this self-limitation is carried to impotence, as the antithesis to omnipotence, and to death, as the antithesis to omnipresence:—only, however, that it may thus be all the more gloriously manifested in the δόξα of grace and truth. First, omnipotence and omnipresence stood forth, limitless, and grace and truth were, as yet, hidden; then grace and truth advanced; so boundless these, that omnipotence and omnipresence appeared to vanish behind them. The new condition of Christ, however, will consist in the glorifying of His grace into omnipotence, and of His truth into omnipresence, or of His self-divestment into majesty. Dogmatically defined: At first, alone the “physical” attributes of God are, in the Logos,’ exhibited in the creation of the world. In the redemption of the world, the “ethical” attributes are exhibited in the self-humiliation of Christ. In the glorification of the world, the “ethical” and “physical” attributes are to shine united, as a manifestation of the majesty of Christ. And so the new glory of Christ shall be an eternal synthesis of the gloria mediatoria (which Lampe considers as the sole meaning of the text) and the primordial majesty (Heb. 1:3); this latter, however, must not be described as the quality “by which God is God,” unless we are prepared to understand by it the glory of God as the sum of all His attributes.
John 17:6. I manifested Thy name to the men, etc. [ἐφανέρωσά σου τὸ ὅνομα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις οὓς ἔδωκάς μοι ἐκ τοῦ κό σμου] Here begins the intercession for the disciples. He introduces it with a rationale; they are not simply worthy of His intercession; God’s eyes must be fastened upon them as bearers of His name and Christ’s work. The great work of manifestation must in them be protected and secured.—Manifested Thy name.—Such, in one word, was Christ’s work hitherto. The name of God, its specific self-manifestation in the Son, and, with that name, the God of Christ, the personal, heavenly Father, was distinctly manifested to men by the word, work, and life of Christ. The prophetic office of Christ is completed in an absolute manifestation of God. Though the disciples were not yet enlightened to gaze into this revelation, it, nevertheless, was finished, as regarded its objective elements.—The men whom Thou gavest me.—[οὕς ἕδωκάς μοι ἕκ τοῦ κόσμου] The disciples (see John 17:8, 11, and John 16:30). God gave them to Him through His election, through the attraction drawing them to the Son, and through the power of His calling.
Christ then defines the process of development exhibited in their conversion:—
1. Thine they were [σοὶ ἦσαν]. Not merely in the general cense in which all things belong to God (Cyril), but as Israelites without guile (see John 1:47; 3:21); per fidem Veteris Test. (Bengel.)
2. Thou gavest them to Me.—[καὶ ἐμοὶ αὐτοὺς ἕδωκας]. The before-mentioned considerations of this giving became manifest and realized in the calling, John 10:27.
3. And they have kept Thy word. [καὶ τὸν λόγον σου τετήρκαν]. Though it is still necessary that they should be sifted, they have stood the main test, and have not suffered themselves to be entangled in the apostasy of Judas. To Christ’s eyes, they do already issue victorious out of temptation (see John 8:51).
4. Now they know that all, etc. [νῦν ἕγνωκαν (Alexandrian form for ἐγνώκασιν) ὅτι πάντα, κ. τ. λ.]. Their fidelity has been rewarded by the beginnings of a higher faith-knowledge, or cognition of faith, as they have already testified. See John 16:30. Their knowledge is the knowledge that everything which has been given to Christ, i.e., His doctrine (De Wette), and particularly His work (Luthardt), is of God; i.e., they know God in Christ. They know the words of Christ to be divine by the works, the works by the words; the latter method Christ brings out with special prominence (as the higher way of knowledge, see above, John 14:11), in order to explain how they have attained to their faith-knowledge. They have received in faith Christ’s words which He gave them. From this trust in the divine words confided to them by Him, there has sprung a true cognition of the divine nature of Christ (they truly knew that I am come forth from Thee, John 17:8), and thereby a belief in His divine mission to the world, in which mission theirs should now be rooted, has been mediated (they believed that Thou didst send Me). The Aorists [ἕγνωσαν and ἐπίστευσαν] jointly serve as an elucidation of the Perfect: νῦν ἕγνωκαν.—Such are the reasons why He prays for them.
[John 17:8. For I have given them the words which Thou gavest me, ὅτι τὰ ῥήματα ἅ ἕδωκάς (gavest; so A. B. C. D.) Lachm., Tischend., Alf., Westc. versus δέδωκάς, hast given, which is supported by א. L. X. and text. rec.) μοι, δέδωκα αὐτοῖς. “On the truth of this saying stands the whole fabric of creeds and doctrines. It is the ground of authority to the preacher, of assurance to the believer, of existence to the church. It is the source from which the perpetual stream of Christian teaching flows. All our testimonies, instructions, exhortations, derive their first origin and continuous power, from the fact that the Father has given to the Son, the Son has given to His servants, the words of truth and life.” Bernard, Progress of Doctrine in the N. T. (1867) p. 25.—P. S.]
John 17:9. I pray (am praying) for them; I pray not (am not praying) for the world, etc.—[ἐγὼ περὶ αὐτῶν ἐρωτῶ• οὐ περὶ τοῦ κόσμου ἐρωτῶ, ἀλλὰ περὶ ὥν δέδωκάς μοι, ὅτι σοί εἰσιν]. The grand stress of this intercession is contained, 1. In the ἐγώ; 2. in the fact that the proposition, I pray for them, is first simply laid down, then 3. negatively expressed: not for the world; 4. positively expressed: but for them; the motives assigned being: they have been given Me by Thee, and they are Thine. The expression: not for the world, is doubtless of dogmatic moment (which Meyer denies); it is, however, destitute of a predestinarian import (Calvin, Lampe; Proverbs quibus Christus non orat, pro iis non satisfecit, and others; see John 17:20; Matt. 5:44; Luke 23:34).”34 It is significant of the purely dynamical view of the world and arrangement of the Gospel. By means of this dynamical principle, first concentrated in Christ and henceforth to be concentrated in His apostles, the world, as world, is to be clean done away with. Christ does not work by a fire of sparks, sprinkling them incidentally, one here and one there; His working is a concentrated central fire of absolute, positive resurrective force, which fire takes hold of the world in the centre of her receptive susceptibility, in order to her transformation. It is the strict vital law of the concentration of the divine power of the Gospel, archetypally declared in the calling and isolation of Abraham, typically set forth in the separation of Israel, and still continuing in the regulations which Christ has made for the development of His church (see Acts 1:4, 8). But the expression of Christ does not bear simply an ideo-dogmatical emphasis; it has, resulting from the ideo-dogmatical, also an affectionate emphasis: I pray, above all things, for these, who are Thine as the fruit of the Old Testament, and Mine as the firstlings of the New Testament; similarly, the expression has a religious force: the δόξα of Thy name is concerned; that δόξα is henceforth entrusted to them; it must be secured in them, must, through them, become universal in the world as the principle of the world’s glorification. This expression of supreme entreaty, however, is simultaneously the expression of confidence: in them Thy divine work and Mine shall be made secure in the world.
[Bengel, Meyer, Stier, Luthardt, Alford, etc. explain in substance: I am not praying for the world now and in this manner (hoo loco, tempore, et his verbis), but I shall do so afterwards, John 17:20, 21. But this appears somewhat trivial, and does not give the exclusion the full force. The words οὐ περὶ τοῦ κόσμου ἐρωτῶ, are intended to justify and to emphasize the intercession of Christ for His own. The whole sacerdotal prayer is not offered for the outside world at all but only for His disciples, first for those whom He had already called out of the world (6–19) and then for those who should hereafter come out of the world and believe in Him (περὶ τῶν πιστευόντων, John 17:20 ff.). The world appears, even in John 17:20, 21, 23, not as an object of intercession, but as a hostile force, against which He asks the protection of the Father. Yet by the preservation and perfection of Christ’s church in holiness and unity, which is the direct object of this prayer, the world itself is at last to be brought to believe in the divine mission of the Son, ἵνα ὅ κόσμος πιστεύῃ ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας, John 17:21, 23. Hence the exclusion of the world is not absolute (in the sense of supralapsarian commentators), but relative. On proper occasions Christ did pray for the ungodly world, even His murderers (“Father forgive them,” Luke 23:34, adding, however, as a motive not, as here, “they have known,” John 17:11, but on the contrary, “they know not what they do”); and He especially commands us to pray for our enemies (Matt. 5:44), as Stephen prayed for the persecuting Saul (Acts 7:60). For Christians we should pray that God may preserve them from the world and the devil, for the ungodly world, that it may cease to be worldly and believe in Christ.—P. S.]
John 17:10. All things that are Mine are Thine.—[τὰ ἐμὰ πάντα σά ἐστιν, καὶ τὰ σὰ ἐυά. The E. V. “All Mine is Thine” may be understood of persons only, while all things, the Godhead itself included, are meant. Comp. Alford.—P. S.] He gives prominence to the worth possessed by the disciples as the objects of His intercession. As Christ’s property, they are the property of God; as God’s property, they are the property of Christ; and since He is glorified in them, the δόξα of Christ, which is the δόξα of God, must be protected in them.
John 17:11. And I am (henceforth) no more in the world [κἀι οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἐν τῶ κόσμῷ]. This is the motive for His urgent, provident petition. He is departing out of the world, they remain in the world and so will be needing special protection. The words: and I come to Thee [κἀγὼ πρὸς σὲ ὲρχομαι], cannot be regarded as a mere repetition of the declaration: “I am no more,” etc. On the contrary, the position and task of the disciples in the world shall be assured by Christ’s coming to the Father with His intercession. In the first place, the going away of Christ is expressed, as perilous for the disciples who remain here; and, secondly, His going home is intimated, as the indemnification for the disciples, whose position and task are here.
Hence the apostrophe: Holy Father [πάτερ ἅγιε]. God is to be the holy Father to Christians in this world when Christ has gone away.35 God, in His holiness, is entirely separated from the unholy world, in order that He may belong entirely to the world that is to be sanctified: so, the Holy. He is the holy Father (John 17:11) of the Son who sanctifies Himself for His own, i.e., goes away from both them and the world, in order to be entirely devoted to them and, through them, to the world (John 17:19), that they too may in this sense be sanctified in His truth, John 17:17. The petition itself: keep them in [better than through of.—E. V.] Thy name, etc. [τήρησον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῶ ὀνόματί σου.] In the revelation for Christian knowledge, as in Christian knowledge of revelation,—in that consciousness of God which Christ entertained.
Which (whom) Thou, etc. [ᾧ (οὕς) δέδωκάς μοι.] The reading ᾧ (see TEXT. NOTES) is by Meyer and others, supported by Cod. D., considered to stand by attraction for ὅ and to relate to the name of God [ἐν τῶ ὀνόματίσου]. We must acknowledge that we have difficulty in reading: “Thou hast given me Thy name,”—the name of the Father and that of the Son not being mingled. From this difficulty the Recepta [which reads οὔς, whom] has doubtless arisen. We, therefore, prefer to read ᾧ as Dativ. instrum. [by which], in perfect accordance with the sense of John 17:6 and 12, and interpret the passage thus: through My manifesting Thy name unto them, in Mine office as Thine Ambassador, they did believe on Me and are thus become Mine. On the glorification of the Father through Christ as His Ambassador, through whom the Father operated, the glorification of the Son is founded. Since, however, the instrumental construction is scantily supported and a stronger expression might be expected for it, we suffer the interpretation given in the translation [den, which] to stand, only explaining the term: which Thou hast given Me, by: which Thou, with Thy revelation, hast confided to Me.
[Stier says that ᾧ can bear no proper meaning. One feels tempted with Bengel and Godet to read ὅ, and to refer this not to ὅνομα, but to the disciples, as equivalent to οὕς, just as in John 17:2, πᾶν ὅ δέδωκας—αὐτοῖς), and John 17:24, if ὅ be the proper reading there. But ὅ is very poorly supported, though it may more easily have been changed by mistake into ᾧ, than into οὕς. The reading of the text. rec. (sustained by D.2 and Vulg.) is no doubt the easiest and falls in best with the style and general sentiment of John, comp. John 17:6, 9. But inasmuch as ᾧ has all the weight of external testimony (א. A. B. C., Syr., etc.) and is adopted by the best critical editors (Lachmann, Tregelles, Alford, Tischendorf, Westcott), we must give it the preference. The name must mean the essential revelation which the Father made to the Son, and the Son to the world (Luthardt), or rather the peculiar attribute of Saviour, Jehovah our Righteousness. (Alford and Wordsworth). There is, it is true, no strict parallel passage where God is said to have given His name to His Son, but an approach to it, Ex. 23:21: “My name is in Him,” viz., the angel of the covenant; comp. Is. 9:6; Jer. 23:6, and especially Phil. 2:9, 10, “God hath given Him a name (ὅνομα, but not His name) above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.”—P. S.]
The motive of the prayer is: whom Thou hast given Me. As the name of the Father is given Him for the disciples, so the disciples are given Him for the name (the Gospel of the New Covenant is for the called of the Old Covenant in the wider sense, and contrariwise). Purpose of the prayer: ἵνα ὧσιν ἕν. Meyer makes the ἵνα relate to ὃ δέδωκάς μοι, instead of to τήρησον, as is usual. The latter reference, however, is the more obvious one, for the full development of the unity of believers arrives as the fruit of their conservation. It is a question of consummate oneness (see John 17:22).
That they may be one as we [ἵνα ὧσινἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς]. Throughout the high-priestly prayer, Christ brings into view the oneness of the disciples as the mark of their matured discipleship: the sign that they are one in the name of the Father of Christ. The living, known name of God has this unifying power. As it is the bond of union between the Father and Son, it is, in like manner, to be the bond of union among the disciples. In the true, living consciousness of God is the divine life of love, the unity of divine revelation and human religion, the unity of human faith and the unity of human ethics, Eph. 4:6. [Alford: “The oneness here is not merely harmony of will or of love,—as some have interpreted it, and then tried to weaken the Oneness of the Godhead by the καθώς,—but oneness by the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ, the gift of the covenant (1 Cor. 6:17), and ultimately oneness of nature, 2 Pet. 1:4, where the ἐπαγγέλματα δεδώρηται answers to the ὄνομα ὅ δέδωκάς μοι here.” Godet: “Les mots COMME NOUS signifient que, comme c’est par la possession de essence divine que le Père et le Fils sont un, c’est par la commune connaissance de cettle essence (le nom) que les disciples peuvent aussi rester un et être individuellement gardés.” Yet the community of the spiritual life derived from Christ, must be added to the community of knowledge.—P. S.]
John 17:12. While I was with them (in the world) [ὅτε ἥμην μετ’ αὐτῶν]. Further explication of the words, John 17:11.—I kept them [έφύλαξα]. Ἐγώ with emphasis. Held them fast in Thy name. Their natural inclination tended ever out of the bounds constituted by the consciousness of God and by Christ’s view of the world; His faithfulness held them fast within these limits, and, as souls given Him by the Father (see the TEXTUAL NOTE), He watched over them faithfully. Φυλάσσειν is an intensified expression of His vigilant care over them. He guarded them as the faithful Shepherd of the souls entrusted Him by the Father.—And none of them perished except the son of perdition [καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀπώλετοεἰ μὴ ό υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας. Christ does not say, “I lost none “(comp. John 18:9, where no exception is made). “Judas lost himself.” Even after the betrayal he might have been saved if he had in true penitence fled to the cross.—P. S.] Not simply a painful recalling of the traitor (Tholuck), but also the account-rendering of a faithful and good conscience concerning Judas, and, as such, appropriate at this moment.36 The son of perdition.—A Hebrew expression:37 the properly of perdition, the prey of perdition, comp. John 12:36; Matt. 13:12. But the specific child of perdition, in whom the ἀπώλεια (see Matt. 7:13) of the Jews was concentrated, was also the instrument of perdition (see 2 Thess. 2:10).—That the Scripture might be fulfilled [ἵναἡγραφἡπληρ ωθῇ]. Here, as in John 12:38; 13:18, consolation is found in contemplating the decree of divine judgment. It was, however, not fated that Judas should become a child of perdition, but that, as such, he should be lost from the circle of disciples in accordance with the righteous judgment of God.38
What passage of Scripture is here intended? According to Lücke and Meyer [Godet], Ps. 41:10, on account of the citation of that passage, John 13:18; according to Euthymius Zigabenus, Ps. 109:8 (see Acts 1:20); according to Kuinoel the whole mass of prophecies relative to the death of Jesus. We are of opinion that the passage Is. 57:12 is the one meant (see Leben Jesu ii., p. 1412). It should be noted that the passage Ps. 41:10 was already fulfilled in the occurrence referred to John 13:18. But Is. 57:12, 13 treats specifically, in typical prophecy, of the perdition of the destroyer.
John 17:13. To Thee, and speak these things [νῦν δέ πρός σε ἔρχομαι, καὶ ταῦταλαλῶ ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ]. I.e., I can no longer watch over them, as I have done hitherto, in visible, individual intercourse. Henceforth something else must guard them. But what shall this be? His joy shall become perfect in them, and shall be their guard. His joy is that complete consciousness of God which is to be imparted to them by the Holy Ghost, as the source of the most untrammeled vital movement in their spirits (see chap. 16). I speak these things,—I now, being still in the world and heard by them as well as by Thee, do confidentially carry this petition before Thee, that, etc. I.e., not simply: Through My intercession they shall be assured of Thy protection and hence be filled with perfect gladness,—but rather: My intercession shall awaken the spirit of prayer in them and open their hearts for the reception of the Holy Spirit of perfect joy, for whom I am suing on their behalf. And if Thou keep them thus, by the bestowal of the Spirit of joy, He will watch over them as I have done until now.
John 17:14. I have given them Thy word [Ἐγὼ δέδωκα αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον σου]. The prayer for the preservation of the disciples now divides itself into two petitions; the one is for their negative protection from the Evil One in the world, the other for their positive sanctification in the truth. First the negative portion, the protection, is discussed. Christ having given them His word, they are taken from the world and hence are become, equally with Himself, objects of the world’s hatred. The ungodly consciousness of the world gravitates outwards into the impersonal; consequently the divine consciousness of Christ and His people, gravitating, in its impulse of faith and love, toward the absolute personality of God, is odious to the world. The antithesis: I, and: the world, contains the most concise expression of this fact. The world hateth them, properly: hath conceived a hatred for them (ἐμίσησεν αὐτούς). Luther: “The world’s hatred is the true livery of Christians, which they wear on earth.
John 17:15. I pray not that Thou, etc. [οὐκἐρωτῶ ἵνα ἄρῃς αὐτοὺς ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου, ἀλλ’]. The petition regarding the protection of the disciples from the world, likewise divides itself into two parts, a negative and a positive. They are to remain in the world, but are to be preserved from the world. Luther: “What I want is not that they also should pass out of the world with Me, for I have still more to accomplish by means of them; they must increase My little flock.”—That Thou shouldst take them out of the world, i.e., neither by actual death nor by ascetic mortifications. Christ has here rejected monkery also, as a form of life un-suited to His disciples, they having attained their majority. They are to be in the world, but not of the world. The petition runs thus: that Thou shouldst keep them from the Evil One. The question as to whether ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ is to be construed as neuter [the evil.—E. V.] or as denoting Satan [the Evil One], is decided by Olshausen, Baumg.-Crusius in the former, by Lücke and Meyer [Alford] in the latter sense with reference to “the Prince of this world,” chap. 12, John 17:31; 14:30; 16:11, and to 1 John 2:13, 14; 3:12; 5:18, 19. If we add to these chapters 8:44, we find that John merges the whole world in personal relations, as regards evil also; the world, as world, lies in the Wicked One; it has its pole in Satan; this is in conformity to the purely dynamical view of the world. The expression τηρεῖν ἐκ, Revelation 3:10.
John 17:16. They are not of the world [ἐκτοῦ κόσμου οὐκ εἰσὶν καθὼς ἐγὼ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου]. Motive for the following positive petition. They no longer have their vital principle in the world, but, like Christ and through Him, in the Father; therefore He prays that they may be perfected, in accordance with this their divine birth and kind.
Sanctify them in the truth [ἀγίασοναὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ἀληθείᾳ, as the element in which the ἁγιάζειν takes place]. Explanations:
1. Chrysostom, Euthymius [Lücke, Godet, Wordsworth]: Make them holy through [ἐν instrumental, as in the E. V.] the gift of the Holy Ghost, and by true doctrine.
2. Luther: Adverbially construing in the truth: Make them truly [ἀληθῶς] holy [in distinction from the present imperfect holiness.—Hengstenberg. Against this is the article, and still more the following ὁ λόγος, etc.—P. S.]
3. Erasmus, Calvin: Take them away from the fellowship of the world.
4. Theophylact, Lampe: Separate them for the office of the ministry.
The phrase, That they also may be sanctified (John 17:19), must be defined pursuant to the holiness of God, John 17:11, and the self-sanctification of Christ, John 17:19. Now God is holy in withdrawing Himself from the ungodly world, in order to reveal Himself in a godly, kingly-priestly people, Lev. 11:44, 45; 1 Pet. 3:16. In conformity thereto, Christ sanctifies Himself; He departs out of the world in His self-humiliation, in order to enter into the world in His majesty. On the basis of this fact, the disciples are to be sanctified, the word of God in them, through the Holy Ghost within them, being converted into perfect truth, i.e. into a unitous light, a principially developing luminous and vital view and vital power, ever emancipating them more completely from the world in order to conduct them into the world, as emancipators, with the gospel. The expression ἐν τῇ is generally apprehended as denoting instrumentality: By means of or by virtue of the truth; Meyer, on the other hand, maintains it to mean: That He would furnish them, in this their vital sphere of truth, with holy consecration, i.e. inspiration, illumination, through the Holy Ghost. This view, however, brings the holy consecration into dubious antithesis to the truth. Doubtless the word, already possessed by the disciples, must be supplemented by the Holy Ghost with His consecration, but it is to the end that the word may for them be rendered living truth, at once the vital sphere and the instrument of their sanctification. Now Apostolic sanctification is always both moral and official sanctification. The further thought-sequence, however, proves that the official sanctification should be emphasized in this place.
The rationale of the petition follows: Thy word is truth. [ὁ λόγος ὁ σὸς ἀλήθειά ἐστι. Cod. B. reads ἡ, the truth, but all other authorities omit the article.—P. S.] Truth, this time without the article, as predicate of the word. The word of God is, in the abstract, pure truth, a lively word, the source of light and the light-impulse to perfect enlightenment; and so, what it is in itself, it must become in the disciples. See John 4:24; 18:37; 1 John 5:16; 2 John 1 ff.
John 17:18 and 19 contain the further assignment of motives for the whole intercession of Christ on behalf of the disciples.—As Thou didst send Me [καθὼς ἐμὲ ἀπέστειλαςεἰς τὸν κόσμον]. First motive of the entire petition: that God would keep and sanctify the disciples. He is the great, unitous Messenger of God, in whom God’s whole apostolate to the world is contained and who has been really consecrated for it by God (John 10:36); from Him they now are to become apostles, who, being divinely consecrated to His apostolate, ramify and go forth with the same into all the world. See John 15:9; 20:21; 2 Cor. 5:20. The Aorist ἀπέστειλα corresponds in part with the proleptical character of the high-priestly Prayer,—as from the stand-point of that consummation of which He is in spirit assured,—in part with the fact that the commissioning of the disciples had its beginning simultaneously with their calling (Matt. 10), although this commissioning, graded hitherto, was to continue in gradual development until its perfection, John 20:21; Matt. 28:19; Acts 1 and 2 The καθὼς ἐμέ is placed first as the basis and degree of the mission of the disciples.
John 17:19. And for them I sanctify Myself [καὶ ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἐγὼ ἁγιάζω ἐμαυτόν, ἵνα, κ.τ.λ. The sense of καὶ here is: And, to make their sanctification (John 17:17) possible, I sanctify Myself. Mark the difference between the active ἁγιάζω and the passive ἡγιασμένοι and between ἐγὼ—ἐμαυτόν and αὐτοί=Christ sanctifies Himself by His inherent holiness, Christians are sanctified by another power.—P. S.] The specific, high-priestly element of the intercession as the concluding motive. Christ is already sanctified by the Father (John 10:36), in coming into the world; He now sanctifies Himself unto the Father, in leaving the world and, by His death, going unto the Father on behalf of His disciples, in order to lay the foundation for their sanctification. Christ sanctifies Himself for His people. The death of Jesus was a sacrificial death of self-sacrificing love for the benefit of His people; a death that as an expiatory death rendered them capable of sanctification through the Spirit, as a death of self-sacrificing love called them to a consecration unto the same love-life in the world. The expression ἁγιάζειν (הִקְדִּישׁ) is a customary term for the offering of a sacrifice in the Old Testament, Deut. 15:19 ff.; 2 Sam. 8:11; Rom. 15: 16.
1. Ἁγιάζειν denotes the same thing in both sentences:
a. I sacrifice Myself for them that they may be truly consecrate to present themselves a sacrifice, Rom. 12:1 (Chrysostom);39
b. That they also may be consecrated to sacrificial brotherly love (Olshausen and others).
Against these interpretations Tholuck cites the passive form of the second sentence; this form, however, is explained by the nature of the case, especially by the fact that the second sanctification (that of the disciples) is designated as the result of the first (the self-sanctification of Christ).
c. The official consecration of Christ is to result in the official consecration of the disciples (Heumann, Semler and others). The Present tense is unfavorable to this view.
d. There takes place a sanctification even on the part of Christ, inasmuch as the stripping off of the σάρξ is a being taken away from the world’s fellowship (Luthardt).40 Against this view Tholuck justly remarks: This is neither biblical nor correct. Nevertheless, the intimation of a sound thought is contained therein.
e. Christ’s consecration to His holy deed of love is to have for its result the corresponding consecration of the disciples (De Wette). Correct as an item of the whole.
2. Ἁγιάζειν is diverse in both sentences: I consecrate Myself to death, that they may be sanctified in the truth or, truly;
a. To righteousness in faith (Luther);
b. To obedientia nova (Calvin, Lampe).
Here, also, we must securely grasp the two imports of the conception: “to sanctify.” Christ sanctifies Himself, in the negative sense, in that by His sacrificial death He separates Himself utterly from the world, is crucified to the world and goes unto God; positively, in that He thereby gains the power to come again into the world in the power of the Holy Ghost. He sanctifies Himself negatively for His people in that He presents His life for them as an expiation for their guilt; positively, in that, by this highest love-offering, He exercises a quickening reflex-influence over them and establishes a principle of suffering out of which their martyr-sufferings shall develop, as do their works out of His works, Col. 1:24. Thereby the disciples are said to be negatively sanctified, in that they recognize their crucifixion to the world (Gal. 2:19) and present their lives unto God as a thank-offering; positively, in that, as peace-messengers, they proclaim the gospel to the world in a self-sacrificing love that stops not short of a martyr’s death. This sanctifiedness (Geheiligtsein) in the self-sanctification of Christ (ἵνα ὦσινἡ γιασ μένοι) must be distinguished, as synonymous with justification by faith, as 1 Pet. 1:2, from the moral self-sanctifying and becoming sanctified that results from justification.
May be sanctified in truth [ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ὦσιν ἡγιασμένοι ἐνἀληθείᾳ]. Two explanations:
1. The term in truth is adverbial and means truly sanctified, ἀληθῶς (Chrysostom, Beza, Calvin, Bengel, Meyer):
a. In antithesis to the Jewish consecration, the sanctimonia cæremonialis (ancient exegetes [and Godet]);
b. The eminent consecration in antithesis to every other ἁγιότης in human relations (Meyer). There is, however, in Scripture no conception of ἁγιότης other than the Old Testament typical, and the New Testament real, idea.
2. Ἐν ἀληθείᾳ is to be construed substantively; in truth=in the truth, as John 17:17 (Erasmus after some ancients, Bucer, Lücke [Olshausen, De Wette, Brückner, Ewald], etc.). In opposition to this view Meyer remarks: “In that ease the article could not be dispensed with; advocates of this view in vain appeal to John 1:14; 4:24;—the word must be interpreted in accordance with 3 John 1.” But even in the latter passage its interpretation is doubtful. The lack of the article is explained by the fact that the ἀλήθεια is not to be conceived of here as an independent cause, but as the medium or element of the effect emanating from Christ. In that Christ sanctifies Himself, His disciples are sanctified in the blessing of truth that proceeds from Him. His expiatory power is the element of truth that pours forth from Him in His Spirit, in order to present them as sanctified persons. The fact that they are at the same time truly consecrated thereby, in antithesis to Old Testament priestly consecration, needs no comment.
John 17:20. Yet not for these alone do I pray. [Οὐ περὶ τούτω δὲ ἐρωτῶ μόνον, ἀλλὰ καὶ περὶ τῶν πιστευόντων διὰ τοῦλόγου αὐτῶ νεἰς ἐμέ, ἵνα πάντες].—Now follows the intercession for future believers. “The view expands in space and, John 17:24, also in time.” Tholuck. Since John 17:24 treats of the being of believers with Christ in glory, the glimpse afforded is into extended space as well. Time and space go on mutually expanding until the supreme consummation. The present πιστευόντων (see TEXTUAL NOTES), is a vivid realization of the future. The subject of His petition is not introduced by ἵνα (according to Grotius and others); that rather denotes the purpose, the aim, as John 17:11. Consequently, the subject of the intercession is the same as before: that in the world they may be preserved from the Wicked One and may be sanctified in the truth. Here too, however, the aim is their oneness.
John 17:21. That they all may be one according as, etc. [ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσιν, καθὼςσύ, πάτερ, ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν σοί].—Thus, in this place, also, unity is the goal to be attained. Explanations:
1. Origen: The final aim, Deus omnia in omnibus, 1 Cor. 15:28. But of this there is just now no question, as John 17:21 [last clause, ἵνα ὁ κόσμος πιστεύσῃ] proves. The remaining world has yet to be won by this unity which, doubtless, we are to understand as the unity of believers.
Hence, 2. The ancient exegetes: The unity of Christians in faith and love, as Acts 4:32; Eph. 4:4. In these things, then, shall the unity of Christians first appear, conditioned by their being crucified to the world and presenting themselves, a sacrifice of love, to the Lord.
According as Thou, Father, (art) in Me and I in Thee.—So utterly should Christians be bound one to another and united. The Arians thence inferred that the unity between Father and Son was likewise merely a moral one. Orthodox believers rejected this view with the comment that the text did not turn upon sameness, but upon similarity. With more correctness some commentators (Cyril, Hilary, a few Lutheran theologians) have remarked that the unity of Christians is not a merely moral one either. Unity in the one Holy Ghost, who is the same in all, is indeed more than moral unity. Since John starts from the presupposition of a purely personal; dynamical view of the world, along with this very oneness of persons, their characteristic self-distinction is brought to completion, i.e., this oneness is precisely the opposite of a pantheistic obliteration of personal distinctions. And Christ gives utterance to this truth in setting up His oneness with the Father, as the type. They are just as decidedly distinct one from the other as they are One. In accordance with this, Their oneness, therefore, Christians are to become one in individuals and confessions. Where there is no Christian distinction of character, there is no true union. Uniformity is the negation of unity. On the other hand, the making of distinctions and the distinctions themselves between believers are elementary, raw, bad, if they do not serve to promote unity.
That they also may themselves be (one) in us. [ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἡμῖν (ἕ ν) ὦσιν].—The design of the preservation of the faithful was: 1. The unity of all; 2. a unity such as the unity between Father and Son; now 3. unity in the unity of the Father and Son.41 The design is triply intensified: 1. All one; 2. one as We; 3. one in Us. This is the unity of vital fellowship with God, through the Holy Ghost in faith, through connection with the glorified Christ in the sacrament, through personal union with the Triune in the unio mystica. Irenæus, v. 1: Filius dei propter immensam dilectionem factus est, quod nos sumus, ut nos perficeret, quod est ipse. Augustine De civit. dei ix. 15: Beatus et beatificus Deus factus particeps humanitatis nostræ, compendium præbuit participandæ divinitatis suæ. The overstepping of the human limitation of this assimilation to the Divinity, in the doctrine of deification, advanced by the medieval mystics [Master Eckart, Ruysbroek, Tauler, Suso, etc.] may not be controverted by laying too great stress upon the temporal and creaturely nature of man, but by the absolute dependence of the life of the branches on their connection with the Vine [ch. 15:1 ff.]
That the world may believe. [ἵνα ὁκόσμος πιστεύσῃ ὅτι σύ μεἀπέστειλας].—The Church, as the blessed congregation of confession and worship, or the communion of saints, is an end to herself; but she is also a means to an end as an institution of healing for immature believers and, especially, as a mission-community for the world. Hence the second ἵνα, the more remote design. The belief that the Father has sent Christ is characterized in John 17:8 as the true believingness of the disciples. The meaning of our passage is, therefore,—that the world may attain unto faith. John 17:9 must be explained accordingly. True, immediate prayer for Christians is true, immediate prayer for the world.
[This verse and John 17:23 are the classical passages on Christian union, or the communion of saints. The following points seem to be implied in the text. 1. Christian union presupposes the vital union of believers with Christ (περὶ τῶν πιστευόντων εἰς ἐμέ), and is conditioned by it. 2. It is a reflection of the union which subsists between the Father and the Son (καθὼς σὺ πατὴρ ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν σοί), consequently not merely a moral union of sympathy, but a community of spiritual life; all partaking of the life of Christ, as the branches of the vine (comp. John 15). 3. It centres in Christ and the Father who are one (ί́να ἐν ἡμῖν ὦσιν). Christ is the divine harmony of all human discords, and Christians are one among each other just in proportion as they are one with Him. There is no intimation whatever of a visible centre of unity on earth (such as Rome claims to be), or of a particular form of government (such as episcopacy or presbytery), or form of worship, as a necessary condition of such union, or means of its promotion. There was considerable difference in the apostolic age between the Jewish-Christian and the Gentile-Christian type of Christianity, between the doctrinal system of Paul and of James, etc., and yet there was essential unity and harmony, 4. Hence Christian union is free and implies the greatest variety (but no contradictions) of types and phases of Christian life. Christian union and Christian liberty are not contradictory, but complementary and mutually sustaining forces (comp. John 8:36; Rom. 8:2; Gal. 5:1). 5. The unity must manifest itself in some outward form, so that the world may perceive it and be impressed by it (ἵνα ὁ κόσμος πιστεύσῃ). This was the case already in the apostolic church, Acts 2:47; 4:32, and in the times of persecution, when the heathen used to exclaim: “How these Christians love one another, and how they are ready to die for one another.” Even among the sectarian strifes the spiritual union of Christians has never been lost; and it will deepen and expand, and be fully realized at last, like all the other attributes of the church (catholicity and holiness, etc.), with the glorification of the body of believers (ἵνα ὦσι τετελειωμένοι εἰς ἕν, John 17:23, ἵνα θεωρῶσιν τὴν δόξαν ἐμήν, John 17:24). “Corporeality,” says Œtinger, “is the end of God’s ways.” To promote the union for which our Saviour so fervently prayed, is the duty and privilege of every Christian.—I quote in addition the note of the late Dean Alford who had liberal and enlightened views on this subject: “This unity has its true and only ground in faith in Christ through the word of God as delivered by the apostles; and is therefore not the mere outward uniformity, nor can such uniformity produce it. At the same time, its effects are to be real and visible, such that the world may see them.”—P. S.]
John 17:22. The glory which Thou gavest me, I have, etc. [κἀγὼ τὴν δόξαν, ἣνἔδωκάςμοι, δέδωκα αὐτοῖς, ἵνα ὦσινἕν.]—The glory which the Father has given Christ, is the state of glorification (see John 17:5). This glory, i.e., full fellowship in His glorified state (see Rom. 8:17), Christ gave His disciples by giving them the principle of future glory in His word which was about to be glorified by the Spirit of glory (1 Pet. 4:14). Baumg. Crusius explains the given as destinare. Meyer’s interpretation amounts to the same thing, although he combats the view in rejecting the reference of the passage to the glory of the inner life (Olshausen), to filiation (Bengel), love (Calvin), grace and truth (Luthardt). It is more correct to deny its reference to the gloriousness of the apostolic office in doctrine and the working of miracles (Chrysostom), though all believers have their modest portion even of that. This word of the Spirit, with which the Spirit comes, is the bond of union and peace, and is designed to be this bond. Therefore: that they may be one as We, etc., Eph. 4:4.
John 17:23. I in them, and Thou in Me, that, etc. [ἐγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ σὺ ἐν ἐμοί, ἵνα ὦσιν τετελειωμένοι εἰςἕν, κ.τ.λ.]—“Appositional explication of ἡμεῖς; not isolated, not a new proposition,” etc. Meyer. God’s life in Christ through the Holy Spirit founds the ever richer life of Christ in believers; this founds their ripening to man’s stature, to perfection (Eph. 4:13); this brings with it their unity; this, finally, is instrumental towards the full conversion of the world, when it not only knows the Christ (does not simply believe), but also knows living Christians in their dignity: and didst love them, as Thou didst love Me.
John 17:24. That which (they whom) Thou hast given Me, I will, etc. [πατήρ, ὃ—comprehending all believers as one gift of the Father to the Son (text. rec. οὕς)—δέδωκάς μοι, δέλωἵνα ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγώ, κἀκεῖνοι ὦσιν μετ’ἐμοῦ, ἵνα θεωο ῶσιν τὴν δόξαν τὴν ἐμήν, ἣν δέδωκάς μοι, ὅτι, κ.τ.λ.]—The declaration θέλω must certainly not be referred to the following ἵνα; it is absolute. Since He has not now to ask for that which the Father has already given Him, θέλω is neither a prayer (Kuinoel), nor a desire (Beza, etc.), nor a petitioning in the consciousness of His ἐξουσία (Meyer), which would contain a certain contradiction, but the familiar communication of His wish from this time to assume possession of that which has been given Him. I will have them, i.e., have them with Me, those whom Thou hast given Me, i.e., with the ascension of Christ, the goal of perfected believers should be with Him in heaven (see John 14:1 ff.) [The θέλω (volo, not velim, which is too weak, comp. Mark 6:25; 10:35) and the corresponding verses have, as it were, the solemn tone of a testamentary act. Bengel: Rogat Jesus cum jure, et postulat cum fiducia, ut Filius, non ut servus. Alford: θέλω is an expression of will, founded on acknowledged right; Comp. διατίθεμαι, Luke 22:29.—P. S.]
That where I am, etc. Not the subject matter of a petition, but the consequence of a familiar expression of will. Be it observed that the prayer of Christ from this point does not issue in a human doxology of God, but in a divine dialogue with the Father. In the presentiment of His heavenly stand-point, He takes possession of them as objects bestowed by the Father. 1. They shall be with Him, where He is, in heaven (Meyer says here again: in the Parousia); 2. they shall see His glory which the Father has given Him. Of course this includes a participation in the same (Meyer; see Rom. 8:18, 29). This latter admission, however, not to the preclusion of the fact that the beholding of Christ’s glory does especially constitute their bliss (Olshausen). Luther: We should let this utterance be our soul’s pillow and bed of down, and with joyful heart resort thereunto when the sweet hour of rest is at hand.—Because Thou didst love Me (comp. John 17:5). [ὅτιἠγάπησάςμεπρὸκαταβολῆςκόσμου].—Here, without doubt, as in John 17:5, the subject treated of is not simply the divine, but the divine-human δόξα of Christ in His state of exaltation; and, correspondingly, it is not a question merely of the trinitarian love of the Father for the Son, but of the eternal complacency of God in Christ in anticipation of His good conduct, in which complacency God appointed Him this state of exaltation. (Meyer). Comp. Eph. 1:19; Phil. 2:6 ff.
John 17:25. Righteous Father! [πάτερ δίκαιε, καὶ ὁ κόσμος. See TEXT. NOTE.] Two difficulties present themselves here; first the accosting of the Father with δίκαιε, secondly the καί before ὁ κόσμος. Δίκαιος appears again in John as a predicate of God, 1 John 1:9. It there denotes a graciously recompensing righteousness. For our passage, however, the preceding saying, John 16:10, is decisive: In respect of righteousness, that I go to the Father It is agreeable to the righteousness of God and Christ that a separation should be made betwixt the perfected Christ and this present world in its blindness,—that Christ should be exalted to heaven. For the world has not known God, either in His general revelation through nature and history, or in the mission of Christ; neither does it know Him now in the judgment wherein it is judged of God even whilst it judges His Christ, whereby Christ consequently bears the judgment of the world. Christ, however, even as Man, has known Him in His whole revelation; finally, He has known and understood Him in the present coming upon Him of the judgment of retributive justice. Therefore He confides in that righteousness as one that rewards also, that shall translate Him to heaven. But because the disciples also have known that He was sent from God, and thereby have begun to know the righteousness of God, they too belong on His side; after they have performed His work in the world, they must come to Him into His heaven. “The work of divine (and divine-human) holiness (John 17:11) would otherwise fail of its final consummation and manifestation” (Meyer). The manifestation of pure holiness shall be sealed in the manifestation of pure righteousness. But because Christ confides Himself to the Father in His punitively retributive righteousness, He likewise trusts Him in His remunerative righteousness; this latter, in establishing the antithesis between heaven and earth, becomes in its turn a divider.
Hence the antithesis: καί, δέ,—differently interpreted by different commentators:
1. As forming an antithesis to what precedes: Righteous Father, Thou art righteous, Thou givest such good things, and yet the world hath, etc. (Chrysostom, Meyer, Luthardt).
2. As drawing a deduction from the foregoing in a predestinarian sense: Quia justus es, ideo te non cognovit mundus (after Augustine, Lampe).
3. As announcing a subsequent antithesis: On the one side, on the other side (Heumann, Lücke, Tholuck). This grammatical construction of καί, δέ is combated by Meyer,—with reason justified by Tholuck. Yet we
4. Hold the antithesis to be not yet adjusted by the preceding view. He glances back upon the former antithesis: Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world. This contrast of the eternal Christ to the upright world constitutes the first motive for His exaltation above the world. To it there is now added the second corresponding contrast, that the sinful world has also not known the righteous Father, whilst He has known Him thoroughly.
John 17:26. And I made known to them Thy name [καὶ ἐγνώ ρισα αὐτοῖς τὸ ό́νομἀ σου καὶ γνωρίσω, ἵνα, κ.τ.λ.].—The first motive for the elevation of believers to a participation in His heavenly glory, was that they had believed in Christ’s mission from God. This is continued in the second, viz., that He has made known unto them the Father’s name and will still make it known until the perfect revelation of it in glory. To these the third is added: the love of God for the Son must also be in them, Christ Himself being thereby in them, (through the Holy Ghost) [ἵνα ἡ ἀγάπη, ἣνἠγάπησάς με, ἑν αὐτοῖς ᾖ κἀγὼ ἐναὐ τοῖς]. That is, they must be utterly lifted up to Christ in order to be perfected in the communion of the Triune God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost (see 2 Pet. 1:4). Luther: That we may know the Father’s heart, now set before us through the Word, afterwards, in that life, to be openly beheld.
[Κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς, I in them, with all the fulness of My love and the Father’s love: this is the last and most appropriate word of this sublime prayer, and as Stier says, “a better seal than any doxology or Amen.” The prayer was richly answered in the experience of the apostles; nothing could separate them from the love of Christ (Rom. 8:39), and Christ ever remained with them and in them by His Spirit, and will remain with believers to the end, their strength and comfort and peace.—P. S.]
DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL
1. On the high valuation set upon this Prayer in the Church, see the Introductory Remarks. Comp. Heubner, p. 482; Besser, on John, chap. 17. As prominent works upon the seventeenth chapter,—works important at once for their bearing upon doctrinal ground-questions, and upon homiletics, we must mention: Freylinghausen, The Sacerdotal Prayer of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ; twenty-six public Meditations upon it, as contained in the seventeenth chapter of St. John. Halle, 1719. Again: The Sacerdotal Prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ, twenty Meditations, by Dr. Schmieder, Hamburg, Agency of the Rough House, 1848. Meditations of great worth, preceded also by an exceedingly momentous treatise upon theosophy and its relation to theology and orthodoxy. A full list of older theological and homiletical writings, see in Lilienthal’s Bibl. Archivarius der heil. Schriften Neuen Testaments, p. 335. Among the works here mentioned, A. H. Francke’s Meditations upon the Sacerdotal Prayer are worthy of note; also I. I. Ulrich in Zurich: The Spiritual Aaron (48 Sermons). [A long list of English sermons and treatises on John 17 see in Darling’s Cyclop. Bibl., Ι. 1147 ff. A. W. Tyler gives the Greek text with a critical digest and translation in the Andover Biblioth. Sacra for April, 1871, pp. 323–333.—P. S.]
2. The High-priestly Prayer is high-priestly not merely because of its being the intercession of Christ for His entire kingdom of God, but also on account of its consummation of the sacrifice of Christ, His offering up of Himself, John 17:5, 13, and especially John 17:19. At the same time, however, it is also a prophetic prayer, in that, seizing upon the principal periods and stages, it sketches and announces with divine certitude the entire progress of the kingdom of God in development. None the less is it kingly; conscious of His internal victory over the world, and believing in the consequences of this victory, Christ transports Himself, not to the stand-point of the Last Day or of the Ascension-Day, but to that of the deliverance upon Golgotha: It is finished. This royal feature of the Sacerdotal Prayer appears especially conspicuous in John 17:24. On the Sacerdotal Prayer, comp. also the ingenious words of Braune, p. 388; Stier, Words of the Lord Jesus, and others. We have still to direct attention to the fact that all doctrinal ideas find their expression here in the vivid representation of the march of the kingdom of God in development. The Trinity (the doctrine of the Spirit, though receding in the letter, advances all the more in point of fact), the divinity of Christ, the ideal foundation of the world. The lapse of the ungodly world into the power of Satan. The active obedience of Christ. His sacrifice. The completion of His work. The sending of His apostles. The form of the true Church in her unity. The gradual progress of the kingdom of God. The goal of the glorification of God in the eternal blessedness or heavenly glory of men.
3. If the decided self-offering of Christ in this Prayer be understood, a species of relapse into unclear reasoning or arbitrary imagining could alone render possible the assumption that Jesus did, in Gethsemane, call in question this offering or pray for an averting of death; as, similarly, it would evidence a want of exact Christologico-ethical thought to suppose that by the anticipation of the Passover Christ could have accelerated His death-journey by a whole day, thus wilfully forsaking the divine path and order prescribed through the law. On Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane, see Comm. on Matthew.
4. Out of Christ’s divinely rich prayer-life there emerge, as from an ocean, the pearls of those single prayers of His that are preserved to us: The prayer given in the Sermon on the Mount for the use of His people—Our Father; the ascription of praise to God at the departure from Galilee (Matt. 11:25); the prayers at the grave of Lazarus, and within the precincts of the temple; our high-priestly prayer; the supplication in Gethsemane, and the prayer-words of the Crucified One—Father, forgive them—Eli, Eli—and the closing prayer, Father, into Thy hands, etc., to which the exultant cry, It is finished, attaches itself, inasmuch as from one point of view it may be regarded as a word of prayer. Add to these the mentions of the prayings, the thanksgivings, the heavenward sighings of Christ, as also His summonses and encouragements to prayer, and He appears as the Prince of humanity even in the realm of prayer; in the manner, likewise, in which He has concealed His prayer-life, exhibiting it only as there was necessity for its presentment. If we regard His work as a tree that towers into heaven and overshadows the world, His prayer-life is the root of this tree; His overcoming of the world rests upon the infinite depth of His self-presentation before God, His self-devotion to God, His, self-immersion in God, His self-certitude and power from God. In His prayer-life, the perfect truth of His human nature has also approved itself. The same who, as the Son of God, is complete revelation, is, as the Son of Man, complete religion.
5. The glorification of God through Christ, the redemption of the world. Christ distinguishes (a) that glorification of the Father which He has already accomplished (John 17:4); b the glorification of His own Person, now following thereupon (John 17:5), and (c) that which the latter glorification is to be instrumental in producing, the glorification of the Father in the Holy Ghost, which is also an actual glorification of the Holy Ghost. Glorification here is manifestly a presentation in the glory peculiar to the Glorified One, the glory κατ’ ἐξοχήν, i.e. the unlimited power and appearing of the Spirit,—in accordance with the idea of Christ’s life. Glory is realized ideal beauty; the radiant exhibition of the dominion of the one Spirit in the rich, developed fulness of personal life. Now if the glorification of God and Christ be the redemption of humanity, it follows that this redemption is likewise the foundation of its glorification, and appropriated redemption the germ of glorification (the Spirit of glory, 1 Pet. 4:14; the earnest of glory, Eph. 1:14; Rom. 8:29, 30). The most definite conception of this glorification appears Phil. 3:21. If the vile—perishable—body be glorified as such, it is exempted from the creatural conditions of transitoriness, redeemed from a beginning and end in temporality, that pursuant to its eternal idea, it may, as a dislimited organ of the spirit, circle in infinitude as in itself. In the case of the perishable body, the ocean of air that seeks to absorb man, infinitely predominates at last over the canal of rejuvenating vital power that flows toward him; the earthly vital root ever languishes more and more. The body, when glorified, shall, above all things, be endowed with an endless faculty of rejuvenescence.
6. It corresponds to the idea of glorification that that dynamical and personal view of the world which is peculiar to Christianity in general and which is brought out with especial force in the Gospel of St. John, should appear in our chapter in its finished splendor. In Christ, the Apostles are dynamically comprehended; He is their Root and their Stem; in the Apostles, all future believers are dynamically comprehended (Rev. 21:14); these, again comprehend the whole Church, and in the Church the whole world is dynamically comprehended. What is matter here, compared with the personal life of Christ? Before this noble “visage” (Angesichte) the whole “weight of the world” (Weltgewichte) vanisheth. And because this view of the world is so dynamical, it is on that very account not merely a view of the world, but also a grasping and overcoming of the world (see Eph. 1:19 ff.). Absolute-dynamical—that, however, means at the same time absolute-personal. The worth and import of the personal life here appear in full light. The glorification of the Father, the restoration of His personal glory on which the whole kingdom of love is founded, is the issue and root of the whole work of redemption,—His name. Now the Son is glorified in His redeeming personality; then the personal life of the Apostles develops itself, and the all (the πᾶν) which the Father has given Christ, unfolds itself in the most definite πάντες, to whom Christ gives eternal life. And these (the πάντες) arrive at complete unity and oneness just on account of their attaining complete personal articulation and self-distinction. Unsanctified individuals mingle themselves together without discipline and restraint in the same degree in which, as foes, they fall out; and religious denominations, also, loosely vibrate pell-mell into one another, in like measure as they abruptly fluctuate asunder. In their eccentric onesidedness they pitch into the onesidedness, of an opposite denomination, instead of cultivating their peculiar charisma in clear articulation. The highest union in the kingdom of personal life is at once the highest self-distinction; and the converse also holds true. The dynamical kingdom, as the kingdom of absolute life, is the personal kingdom as the kingdom of light, and both, because it is the kingdom of love. Christ prays for the manifestation and consummation of the kingdom of love.
7. The world, in her disunity, is Babel; the Church of unity is the eternal, ideal Zion; the Holy Ghost is the Mediator of this union. One Body and one Spirit. See also Eph. 4:13.
8. For the rest, we can but indicate the wealth of fundamental thoughts in this chapter, referring, in so doing, to the Exegetical and Critical division. These captions may, at the same time, serve as homiletical hints: John 17:1. Glorification of prayer: Prayer a fruit of true meditation and preaching.—Glorification of time: The hour of decision is at hand.—Christianity the glorification of Christ.—Christ’s glorification the glorification of God (in del gloriam).
John 17:2. Christ’s power over all flesh is to be developed in the bestowal of eternal life upon all persons.—The flesh, purified, shall in its turn develop into fair personalities.
John 17:3. Trusting knowledge is faith; cognitive, personal knowledge is love; perfected, seeing knowledge is the felicity of the blessed; in all stages, however, it is life eternal, in respect of the beginning, progress and consummation of the same. It is agreeable to the idea of personal knowledge that we know God and Christ (distinctively) as well as God through Christ (Father and Son in their unity).—The divinity of Christ, and His humanity as the manifestation of that divinity.
John 17:4. It is finished; Here the: “It is finished,” of the cross, is ideally included; but as the sealing of the work of Christ; while the mortal passion of Christ comes under consideration particularly as the work of the Father.
John 17:5. The preexistence of Christ. The self-divestment of Christ. The status exaltationis of the divine-human Christ. Christ, before the foundation of the world, the principle of its foundation, its Alpha and Omega.
John 17:6. The Gospel a manifestation of the supreme name. The election of the disciples: a. Eternal, b. conditioned (they have kept His word), c. elected for the good of the world.
John 17:7. Christianity alone pure, full, entire theism. Theism must be regenerated into Christianity, Christianity must discover itself in its theistic ideality.
John 17:8. The complete life in the life-words of Christ.
John 17:9. Dynamical importance of the Apostles. The Apostles the pure medium of the conversion of the world. The effect of Christ’s work conditioned by its ideal and dynamic concentration.
John 17:10. All that is Mine is Thine: The holiness of Christ. All that is Thine, is Mine: His glory. Christ’s glorification in the Apostles, the foundation of His glorification for the world. (Luther says it is easier to say: All Mine is Thine, than the converse: All Thine is Mine. But only Christ could, in the ethical sense, say: All Mine is Thine).
John 17:11. Christ’s feeling of victory hovering over the world. His going to the Father pure intercession. The care of the Perfected One in the other world for the unperfected in this world. The preservation of the disciples a work of God’s holiness. The strength of their preservation: His name. The purpose: Unity; personal kingdom of love.
John 17:12. Direct, and temporarily mediated Providence. Christ, Providence become visible. Providence and freedom. The lost son and divine dispensation.
John 17:13. The consolation of Christ’s intercession the impulse of His people to prayer, even to the life of the Spirit, of perfect joy.
John 17:14. At the word of God, the hatred of the ungodly world is developed.
John 17:15 The Christian’s renunciation of the world no flight from it, but a stand in it in order to the overcoming of it.
John 17:16. Separation from the world, as the cause of the world’s hatred, the common mark of Christ and Christians.
John 17:17. The real ordination of the disciples of Jesus: 1. Through the truth; 2. in the word; 3. as an act of God.
John 17:18. Their mission: 1. From Christ; 2. through Christ from God; 3. like Christ from God.
John 17:19. The foundation of the entire Apostolic mission, of the entire Church, is the self-sacrifice of Christ.
John 17:20. From the prayer of Christ on His own behalf there proceeded the petition for the disciples, from that the intercession for the whole body of the faithful.
John 17:21. The whole Christian life characterized in accordance with its design: 1. As oneness; 2. like the oneness of the Father and Christ; 3. through oneness in God and Christ.—The glory of the triune God in the communion of the faithful. The unity of the Church: the conversion of the world to the faith.
John 17:22. And the foundation of the glory of Christians. The glory of all Christians but one glory in the glory of Christ. Giving and embellished receiving again in giving, is the richness of life in the personal kingdom of love.
John 17:23. The glory of Christians, the leading of the world unto knowledge.
John 17:24. The completion of the manifestation of glory in the heavenly kingdom. The foundation of the heavenly kingdom. Its appearing at the end of time grounded, before the beginning of time, in the love of God to the Son. The reception of the inheritance on the part, of the Son.
John 17:25. The knowableness of God: 1. Simply unknowable for the world in its ungodliness; 2. conditionally knowable and known for the disciples in the beginnings of their life and faith; 3. absolutely knowable and known of Christ; this knowledge the goal of Christians, 1 Cor. 13:12. The steps of this knowledge are at once the steps of the kingdom of love and eternal life (see John 17:3).
John 17:26. The consummation of the kingdom, a consummation in love through the consummate proclamation of the name of God. The great Epiphany. The perfected kingdom of love also the appearing of the imperishable beauty or glory.
HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL
For details see the foregoing DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL THOUGHTS. Upon the whole Prayer: The prayer of Christ as high-priestly.—As Messianic: prophetic, high-priestly and kingly at once.—The prayer for the consummation of the kingdom of heaven as a prayer for the consummation of the revelation of the Trinity: 1. The kingdom of the triune God; 2. the triune life in power (δύναμις), light (ideality) and love (personality: giving and receiving); 3. the three stepping-stones in the conversion of the world (believing on Christ, knowing Christ, knowing Christians); 4. the triple consummation: holiness, righteousness, glory.—The prayer of Christ: 1. For Himself; 2. for the disciples; 3. for believers generally (indirectly an intercession for the world, which shall be swallowed up by the kingdom of believers).—Heaven’s foundation upon the righteousness of God.—The three sections singly. Christ’s petition for Himself, etc.—The aim of the kingdom of love: salvation in the praise of God’s name.
STARKE: LUTHER: The sum and cause of this chapter is as follows: a good sermon calls for a good prayer; that is, when a man has given utterance to the word, he should begin to groan and earnestly to entreat, that it may have strength and produce fruit. I know not how strong in spirit others may be, but, let me be never so learned and full of genius, I cannot grow so holy as to gather devotion for prayer without hearing and handling the word of God,—ZEISIUS: Heart and eyes should simultaneously be raised to heaven.—Christian, if thou wouldst succeed in all that thou doest, set about each act with hearty prayer and end thus too.—CRAMER: God is a hidden God; had Christ not come into the world, He had remained a hidden God, but because Christ hath glorified and revealed Him, we can know God clearly in the Son.—Power denotes, in general, such power as is associated with right; in particular, it is employed in the sense of power to rule; hence magistrates are often called powers, 1 Cor. 15:24; Eph. 1:21; 3:10; Col. 1:16; Dan. 7:14; see also Matt. 28:18; Rev. 12:10.—CANSTEIN: Whoso will not submit himself to Christ in the obedience of faith, to his everlasting salvation, is subjected to His power to everlasting perdition.—HEDINGER: Christ the fountain of life; thirst for that fountain!—Ibid.: Mark the chief ground of felicity, Is. 53:11; 1 Cor. 13:12; 1 John 3:2.—Nova Bibl.: If Jesus Himself had, in the redemption, no other final purpose than the honor and glorification of His Father, how much rather and more justly is it said concerning believers: Whatsoever ye do, either in word or deed, etc., Col. 3:17.—QUESNEL: God glorifies in heaven those who glorify Him on earth.—HEDINGER: Christ was faithful in His Father’s house (Heb. 3:2), having kept back nothing from us.—QUESNEL: Christ will have no servants in the ministry of the word but those whom His Father has elected thereunto and presented to Him for His own.—CANSTEIN: Our election to eternal life is something hidden in God; yet we may know it if we lay hold on Christ in true faith, perseveringly continuing therein.—Ibid.: The fellowship of believers gives a Christian the comfort and encouragement of knowing, when the devil assaults him, that he (the devil) is laying hold not, on one finger but on the whole spiritual body of Christ, i.e. all the Christians in the world, nay, God and Christ Themselves.—How wonderful is it that Jesus, standing upon the threshold of His Passion, was yet overwhelmed with joy at the contemplation of the joy of those who were the cause of all His griefs! O how great is the strength of His love!—The hatred of the world is a genuine mark of a true. Christian.—Preachers who, after the perverse fashion of the world, join in everything that is going on and are consequently favorites everywhere, are of no account.—ZEISIUS: Believing Christians, though in the world, are not of the world; they have not its mind, ways, habits, are not on the same footing with it; they possess the mind of Christ and follow His example alone.—HEDINGER: It is necessary for us to suffer in the world so long as we are able, and in duty bound, to be useful; God will call us away; we must not, in vexation and self-will, wish our own lives away.—We must recognize life in the world to be a benefit and be occupied in serving the world as long as we live.—ZEISIUS: A child of God, as long as he is in the world, is in peril of being seduced by it; hence praying and watching are highly necessary.—Believers must be crucified to the world and the world must be crucified to them, in imitation of Christ.—ZEISIUS: The dignity and bliss of believers is great. How great, is not discoverable here, but when it shall appear, it will be manifest that they are like the Lord.
GERLACH: We do not merely receive eternal life through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ; this knowledge itself is life, is possession of the highest good. For this is not the shadowy knowledge of the sense sundered from the substance; it is the union of the knowing and the Known, in which, therefore, light, life and love unite.—As the Father and Son have been distinct from eternity and yet are One through the eternal Spirit of love, who proceedeth from both, so God hath, by the Son, created a world full of contrasts which His Spirit continually transfigureth into a glorious unity in love. Sin hath banished this harmonizing Spirit from man, hath perverted the contrasts into contradictions and rent men one from the other, as from God. But the work of Jesus Christ, the completion of His redemption, is that the Father’s unity with the incarnate Son becometh a unity wherein the whole human race that believeth on the Son, is one with the Father.—This “sanctifying” of Christ’s, therefore, embraces His whole active and passive obedience: the sacrifice of His will and the guilt-offering of His holy humanity laden with the sin of the world; by this sacrifice all of believing humanity is sanctified unto God as a sacrifice.—Jesus prays for future believers also, to the end that these may, with His then existing disciples, form one communion in holy love. With these words, the Lord declares the whole essence of His Church on earth. He came to restore unity to the disrupted human race, by means of their reconciliation to God.—This is a beholding whereby the beholder becometh one with the Beheld (1 John 3:2, 3), whereby the glory of the Lord doth itself pass into him.
LISCO: Because it is the vocation of the disciples to diffuse heavenly life on earth, they may not live retired from the world, or, still less, quit it already by death; the more needful, therefore, is it that they should be preserved from all evil in the world.
BRAUNE: He who prays is not merely an artist erecting a monument to the grace of God; he is, at the same time, a work of art—the monument itself. Thus here the Redeemer who hath restored the image of God in humanity and doth restore it as the High Priest and Sacrifice of mankind.—The Prayer linked itself to His discourses. It is necessary for a good sermon to conclude with a good prayer. First Christ spake of God to His disciples; now He talketh of them to the Father. In this prayer is summed up that which the preceding discourses had unfolded.—Thither He raised His eyes, whither He would be taken by God.—The hour of suffering obscured Him in the eyes of those who looked upon Him as one tormented and stricken by God, and in the sight of His most faithful adherents. But He was confident that the Father would glorify the Son, would take Him to Himself, would give Him the glory of exalted efficacy.—In the world, unbelief and superstition had covered the Father’s name with darkness. Out of that obscurity, the gospel of Jesus Christ, proclaimed in the power of the Spirit, should draw it forth into the true light.—In the beginning, the life of men was light; they, however, stretched forth their hands beyond life to grasp the light of knowledge; they desired to know, without being; to possess the knowledge of God without divine life. This is the old sin, new even to this day. Thus acting, they lost life and light. But now, through the light of truth, fragmentarily offered them in the Word of life, they should regain life.—Yea, a mind to do the will of God, helps a man to a clear knowledge of the truth that Christ and His doctrine are of God. Therefore despise no piety or fear of God, even though as yet they be not Christian.—“Heart and heart at one together.” [Herz und Herz vereint zusammen,—one of the best hymns of Zinzendorf, based on this chapter.—P. S.]—“That, in sooth, is a true heavenly ladder, that rests upon earth, but whose top reaches to heaven, nay, to the throne of God, as the place where is the greatest unity. We, however, must not begin at the top, but must make sure of the first steps—we must see that we are first born anew of God through the word of truth, and thus become one with God and His life” (Rieger).
GOSSNER: Now the death-pass must be crossed. There Thou must crown Thy Son with honor and glory, that Thou mayest be praised and magnified in Him.—He giveth this life unto all whom the Father giveth Him, i.e., all who, drawn by the Father, sundered from the world by preventing grace, suffer themselves to be attracted unto Him, and turn to Him in faith.—We have it from the mouth of Jesus that this, to know the Father and Him, is heaven on earth.—Hence, we have to teach men to know Jesus Christ; for the name of God is in Him, in Him dwelleth all fulness.—He saith: “I have finished my course,” etc.; let come now what will. So it is with he day’s work that is given a man,—whereunto a man is destined from his mother’s womb. That is not cut short; though the pleasure of seeing its blessed results be something bated, the grand work to which the Saviour hath called a man, suffereth no retrenchment.—Almost all preachers, even the better sort, make of Christ a mere Teacher and Servant who bides outside of us, who does but teach us what is good; they do not say that He is to rule within us and Himself work good works in us.—“In Thy name have I kept them,” says He. It is a bad thing for a shepherd to keep the flock in his own name only, as somewhat belonging to him, to his own glory, through his strength, and not as property entrusted to his care by God, and to God’s glory, through God’s grace and strength.—He hath left us perfect joy, and that His own. Thereby shall the work of sanctification be perfected in us, as David saith: Let the glad Spirit keep me; continue grace unto me.—Happy is he who knows that it is better to be hated by the world and loved by Christ, than to be loved by the world and rejected by Christ.—Christians, says Macarius, are children of another world, of the heavenly Adam, a new race, children of the Holy Ghost, of light, brothers of Christ; they are not of this world.—The “as I” can mean nothing else than that we too should be crucified to the world and the world to us, like Jesus, like Paul, like all true followers of Christ.—The word must sanctify us; it divides everything like a two-edged sword, and Satan, in his servants, is always seeking to make it a secondary affair, or to hustle it out of the way altogether.
John 17:18. Men appeal in vain to these words of Christ and to the divine authority of their office, in support of their claim to be respected and heard like Christ, unless they are anointed by Christ, filled with His Spirit and the fulness of God, blessed, called and sent by Him, as He was sent by the Father, by means of an internal mission and anointing, not simply by outward calling and installation.—Who is not glad that Christ prayed for him before his Passion, in His high-priestly prayer? And He is always heard.—The highest pattern of unity is in heaven, between Father and Son, the copy is on earth.
John 17:21. The case stands thus: every Christian must believe himself into Christ as deeply as if he were Christ. This constitutes everything, this constitutes faith, it constitutes all deeds, the walk, the virtues.
HEUBNER: The Father’s cause was tarnished by the fall; Satan could rejoice at having seduced mankind; what had become of God’s purpose in the creation? The Son came as Redeemer and put God’s enemy to shame and made God glorious. The highest aim is to glorify God; he who does nothing towards that end, does nought.—Christ is Lord of the human race; He hath unlimited power and authority over it: far more than didactic authority. This authority, however, is for the good of men: Christ is to employ His power in making them happy.—All things that Thou hast given Me, My doctrine, My miraculous powers. To consider this all that was in Christ as of divine origin, is to believe on Christ.—Gradual progress to faith: Instruction, or external preaching, favorable reception, true knowledge, i.e., heartfelt knowledge, the result of experience and the power of the Spirit.—HOLY FATHER; How can a Christian ear endure that this holiest of all titles should be given to a sinful man.—All joy, all felicity, is finally reduced, in respect of its deepest element, to love; from love flows joy. Hell is joyless because it is loveless.—Christ’s prayer repudiates the foolish desire for exemption from the trials and conflicts of this world. It would indeed be by far the more comfortable thing to be transported at once to heavenly bliss, without a battle. Christ might thus have taken the Apostles immediately to heaven with Him. But how then would they have become Christ’s Apostles? how would the world have been converted? how would they have been able, without labor, without conflict, without victory, to enjoy happiness in heaven? It likewise follows that the Essenic, Ascetic course is not the true one.—In Thy truth. 1. Through the truth: the Word of God is the means of sanctification; 2. in accordance with Thy truth: the Word of God is the rule of sanctification; 3. consecrate them to Thy truth: to the vocation of witnessing for the truth.—How does this prayer shame cold Christians! The Lord thought of the coming generations, and they think too little of Him.—There is but one Apostolic Christianity, and none beside; whoso will not have that, has none.—That unity of the Father and Son is, therefore, not simply a type, but a true and effective cause, of the oneness of Christians. They, belonging to the Father and the Son, united to the Father through the Son, remain one. As the children of one Father, united to Him through the First-born, they repose on a sure foundation of unity.—If the Church of Christ stood forth as a harmonious community of brethren, where nought but order, love and peace ruled, it would be so unique a phenomenon in our egotistical world that every one would be forced to acknowledge that here was a divine work, and to see in it the government of a higher Spirit, namely, the Spirit of Christ. All doubts as to, and accusations against, Christianity must perforce hold their peace.—The world knoweth Thee not; it has no idea that there is an ocean of love in God. Nevertheless, that does not do away with the love.
BESSER: There, on the holy mount, His countenance shone as the sun; here His soul shineth like the sun, His soul beameth like a calm, majestic light.—“It being certain that they are Mine and that I am their Lord, Master and Saviour, it is also certain and beyond doubt that they are Thine, nay, Thine not only now, but Thine from the begining, and that they come unto Me through Thee” (Luther).—“The Father the Root, Christ the Stem, the Holy Ghost the Sap, believers the branches that draw the Sap unto themselves, the Christian life the fruit of one Tree of the holy church” (Gerhard).—FREYLINGHAUSEN: The above-cited Meditations of Gerhard are furnished with an exceedingly significant frontispiece in two divisions. Above is the picture of the Old Testament high-priest burning incense at the altar of incense; underneath are the words: Which is a shadow of things to come. Beneath, a picture of the high-priestly praying Christ, surrounded by His disciples, with the inscription: But the body itself (the substance) is in Christ, Col. 2:17.
SCHMIEDER, in the Introduction to his Meditations, depicts the solemn repose of the full moonlit night-heavens, up to which Christ, praying, gazed,—and the solemn repose in His soul. He is the High-priest who maketh us priests.—The fellowship of Jesus with the Father was a relationship appearing in Him simultaneously with His self-consciousness.—The hour. It is exceedingly noteworthy how Jesus, for everything that is to happen, knows, defines, and chooses time and hour—even that very instant to which the event belongs. (Entirely correct; being sensible of His eternity, He is sensible of His moment; the following is a fundamental thought of the Preacher Solomon: All is vain, for the reason that men in their vanity no longer have a perception of the moment, agreeably to the truth that everything has its time.)—Thus He invariably does and suffers that which is proper for each hour.—Glorification is the complete revelation of a form of life either abstractly or relatively perfect. A bud is glorified when it bursts its envelope and comes forth a flower.—The Son must earn this dominion which the Father has given Him, in order that it may be as truly His own as it is a gift from the Father. For all dominion is real autocracy so far only as it is acquired by individual prowess.—As the Father, in His Divine Kingdom, fills all the Divine Persons, being wholly in each One, and working in the Divine House that rules in eternal, creative joy, so Jesus would be and work in all men who are saved by Him, whom the Father has given Him, to the end that His joy may be perfect in them. And together with Him, the love in which the Father loves Him shall be in them (i.e., the fellowship in the blessedness of God, the divine heritage of Christ’s co-heirs).
[CRAVEN: from HILARY: John 17:3. To know the only true God is life, but this alone does not constitute life: What else then is added? And JESUS CHRIST whom Thou hast sent.
John 17:21. Unity is recommended by the great example of unity.—AUGUSTINE: John 17:1. Our Lord, in the form of a servant, could have prayed in silence had He pleased; but He remembered that He had not only to pray, but to teach.—Father, the hour is come, shows that all time, and everything that He did or suffered to be done, was at His disposing, who is not subject to time.—Father, the hour is come, glorify Thy Son; the hour is come for sowing the seed, humility; defer not the fruit, glory.—The Son glorified the Father, when the Gospel of Christ spread the knowledge of the Father among the Gentiles.—Glory was defined among the ancients to be fame accompanied with praise.—When sight has made our faith truth, then eternity shall take possession of, and displace, our mortality.
John 17:11. That they may be one, as We are: That they may be one in their nature, as We are one in Ours.—As the Father and the Son are one not only by equality of substance, but also in will, so they, between God and whom the Son is Mediator, may be one not only by the union of nature, but by the union of love.
John 17:13. He says He spoke in the world, though He had just now said, I am no more in the world: inasmuch as He had not yet departed, He was still here; and inasmuch as He was going to depart, He was, in a certain sense, not here.,
John 17:17. Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thus were they to be kept from the evil.
John 17:19. That they also might be sanctified through the truth, i.e., in Me; inasmuch as the Word is truth, in which the Son of man was sanctified from the time that the Word was made flesh.
John 17:21. They are in us and we in Them, so as that they are one in Their nature, we one in ours: they are in us, as God is in the temple; we in Them, as the creature is in its Creator.—Is not this unity, that peace eternal which is the reward of faith, rather than faith itself?
John 17:23. That they may be made perfect in one; the reconciliation made by this Mediator, was carried on even to the enjoyment of everlasting blessedness.—As long as we believe what we do not see, we are not yet made perfect, as we shall be when we have merited to see what we believe.—And hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me; There is no reason for God’s loving His members, but that He loves Him; but since He hateth nothing that He hath made, who can adequately express how much He loves the members of His Only Begotten Son, and still more the Only Begotten Himself?
John 17:24. It was not enough for Him to say, I will that they may be where I am, but He adds, with Me: to be with Him is the great good; even the miserable can be where He is, but only the happy can be with Him—as a blind man, though he is where the light is, yet is not himself with the light, but is absent from it in its presence, so not only the unbelieving, but the believing, though they cannot be where Christ is not, yet are not themselves with Christ by sight.—That they may behold; He says, not, that they may believe; it is the reward of faith which He speaks of, not faith itself.
John 17:25. What is it to know Him, but eternal life, which He gave not to a condemned but to a reconciled world? For this reason the [condemned] world hath not known Thee; because Thou art just, and hast punished them with this ignorance of Thee; and for this reason the reconciled world knows Thee, because Thou art merciful, and hast vouchsafed this knowledge, not in consequence of their merits, but of Thy grace.
John 17:26. And I in them; He is in us as in His temple; we in Him as our Head.—From CHRYSOSTOM: John 17:1. Our Lord turns from admonition to prayer; thus teaching us in our tribulations to abandon all other things, and flee to God.—He lifted up His eyes to heaven to teach us intentness in our prayers: that we should stand with uplifted eyes, not of the body only, but of the mind.
John 17:9. I pray for them: As the disciples were still sad in spite of all our Lord’s consolations, henceforth He addresses Himself to the Father, to show the love which He had for them; He not only gives them what He has of His own, but entreats another for them, as a still further proof of His love.
John 17:14. Again, our Lord gives a reason why the disciples are worthy of obtaining such favor from the Father; I have given them Thy word, and the world hath hated them; i.e., they are had in hatred for Thy sake, and on account of Thy word.
John 17:15. Keep them from the evil: i.e. not from dangers only, but from falling away from the faith.
John 17:16. They are not of the world; because they have nothing in common with earth, they are made citizens of heaven.
John 17:17. Sanctify them in Thy truth; i.e. make them holy, by the gift of the Holy Spirit, and sound doctrines: for sound doctrines give knowledge of God, and sanctify the soul.—Thy word is truth, i.e., there is in it no lie, nor anything typical, or bodily.—Sanctify them in Thy truth, may mean, separate them for the ministry of the word, and preaching.
John 17:19. For their sakes I sanctify Myself, i.e., I offer myself as a sacrifice to Thee; for all sacrifices, and things that are offered to God, are called holy [sanctified].—That they also may be sanctified through the truth, i.e., for I make them too an oblation to Thee; either meaning that He who was offered up was their Head, or that they would be offered up too; as the Apostle saith, Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy.
John 17:20. Another ground of consolation to, them, that they were to be the cause of the salvation of others.
John 17:21. For there is no scandal so great as division, whereas unity amongst believers is a great argument for believing; for if they quarrel, they will not be looked on as the disciples of a peace-making Master.
John 17:22. By glory He means miracles, and doctrines, and unity; which last is the greatest glory.——From BEDE: John 17:6. And they have kept Thy word; He calls Himself the Word of the Father, because the Father by Him created all things, and because He contains in Himself all words; as if to say, they have committed Me to memory so well, that they never will forget Me: Or, they have believed in Me:
John 17:15. Keep them from the evil: every evil, but especially the evil of schism.——From THEOPHYLACT: John 17:25. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee: as if to say, I would wish that all men obtained these good things which I have asked for the believing; but inasmuch as they have not known Thee, they shall not obtain the glory and crown.
[From BURKITT: Chap. 17. If any part of Scripture be to be magnified above another, this chapter claims the pre-eminence; it contains the breathings out of Christ’s soul for His Church and children before His departure; not for His disciples only, but for the succeeding Church to the end of the world.
John 17:1. These words spake Jesus: that is, after He had finished His excellent sermon, He closes the exercise with a most fervent and affectionate prayer; teaching His ministers to add solemn prayer to all their instructions and exhortations.—He lifted up His eyes to heaven: The gestures which we use in prayer should be such as may express our reverence of God, and denote our affiance and trust in Him.—It is very sweet and comfortable in prayer, when we can come and call God Father.—The hour is come: that is, The hour of My sufferings, and Thy satisfaction; the hour of My victory and of Thy glory; the hour, the sad hour, determined in Thy decree: no calamity can touch us till God’s hour is come; and when the sad hour is come, the best remedy is prayer, and the only person to fly unto for succor is our heavenly Father.—Glorify thy Son, that Thy Son also may glorify Thee: Note how the glory of the Father and the Son are inseparably linked together: it was the Father’s design to glorify the Son, and it was the Son’s desire to have glory from the Father, that He might bring glory to the Father.
John 17:2. Observe 1. The dignity with which Christ was invested, power over all flesh; 2. How Christ came to be invested with this power; it was given Him by His Father.—All mankind are under the power and authority of Jesus Christ as Mediator: He has 1. a legislative power, or a power to give laws to all mankind; and 2. a judiciary power, or a power to execute the laws that He hath given.—That He might give eternal life to as many as God hath given Him: Note 1. That all believers are given by God the Father unto Christ; they are given to Him as His charge, to redeem, sanctify, and save; and as His reward, Is. 53:10; 2. All that are given to Christ, have life from Him; a life of justification and sanctification on earth, and a life of glory in heaven; 3. The life which Christ gives is eternal life; 4. That this eternal life is a free gift from Christ unto His people; though they do not work for wages, yet they shall not work for nothing.
John 17:3. This is the true way and means to obtain eternal life, namely, by the true knowledge of God the Father, and of Jesus Christ the Mediator.—Learn, 1. That the beginning, increase, and perfection of eternal life lyeth in holy knowledge; 2. That no knowledge is sufficient to eternal life, but the knowledge of God, and Jesus Christ.—The knowledge of the only true God, and of Jesus Christ the Mediator, is the life of grace, and the necessary way to the life of glory.
John 17:4. I have glorified Thee on the earth: The whole life of Christ, while here on earth, was a glorifying of His Father; by 1. The doctrine He preached; 2. The miracles He wrought; 3. The unspotted purity and innocency of His life; 4. His unparalleled sufferings at death.—I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do: He speaks of what He was resolved to do, as already done. Here note that 1. It is work that glorifies God; 2. Every man has his work assigned him by God; 3. This work must be finished here upon earth; 4. When we have done our proportion of work, we may expect our proportion of wages; 5. It is a blessed thing at the hour of death to be able to say in uprightness that we have glorified God, and have finished the work which He appointed us to do.
John 17:5. Learn that, 1. Whoever expects to be glorified with God in heaven must glorify Him first here upon earth; 2. After we have glorified Him, we may expect to be glorified with Him, and by Him.—With the glory which I had with Thee before the world was: Here note that Christ—1. As God, had an essential glory with God the Father before the world was; 2. As Mediator, did so far humble Himself, that He needed to pray for His Father to bestow upon Him the glory which He wanted; namely, the glory of His ascension and exaltation.
John 17:6. By the name of God, we are here to understand His nature, properties, attributes, designs and counsels for the salvation of mankind: Christ, as the Prophet of His Church, made all these known unto His people.—Learn that, 1. All believers are given unto Christ, as His purchase, and as His charge: as His subjects, as His children; as the wife of His bosom, as the members of His body; 2. None are given to Christ, but those that were first the Father’s; 3. All those that are given unto Christ, do keep His word; they keep it in their understandings, they hide it in their hearts, they feel the force of it in their souls, they express the power of it in their lives.
John 17:7. Observe, 1. The faithfulness of Christ in revealing the whole will of His Father to His disciples; 2. The proficiency of the disciples in the school of Christ.—Learn hence that, 1. Christ hath approved Himself a faithful messenger from His Father to His people, in that He hath added nothing to His message, and taken nothing from it; 2. It is our duty to know and believe on Christ, as the only Messenger and Mediator sent of God.
John 17:8. Learn that, 1. The doctrine of the gospel, which was revealed by Christ, was received from the Father; 2. Faith is a receiving of the Word of Christ, and of Christ in and by the Word; 3. The ministers of the gospel are to preach that, and only that, which they have out of the Word of God.
John 17:9. Learn that, 1. The Lord Jesus Christ is the great and gracious Intercessor; 2. All believers are under the fruit and benefit of Christ’s intercession; 3. As all the members of Christ in general, so the ministers and ambassadors of Christ in special, have a peculiar interest in Christ’s intercession; and great are the advantages of His intercession from (1) The person interceding, Christ: consider the dignity of His person, God-man; the dearness of His person, God’s Son, (2) The manner of His intercession, not by way of entreaty, but meritorious claim, (3) The sublimity of the office; our Intercessor is near to God, even at His right hand, (4) The fruits of His intercession; it procures the acceptance and justification of our persons, the hearing and answering of our prayers, the pardon and forgiveness of our sins, our preservation in grace, and our hopes of eternal glory.
John 17:10. We may understand this two ways: 1. Of all persons,—all My friends, all My disciples are Thine, as well as Mine. 2. All Thy things are Mine, and all My things are Thine; Christ and His Father are one, and They agree in one; They have the same essence and nature, the same attributes and will; Christ hath all things that the Father hath.—Thence note, That the Lord Jesus Christ is eminently glorified in and by all those that believe in Him, and belong unto Him.
John 17:11. Note, 1. The title and appellation given to God, Holy Father when we go to God in prayer, we must look upon Him as an holy Father, as essentially and originally holy, as infinitely and independently holy; 2. The supplication: Keep through Thy name those whom Thou hast given Me, the perseverance of the Saints is the effect of Christ’s prayer; 3. The end of the supplication, That they may be one as We are.—Three things concur to the believer’s perseverance; 1. On the Father’s part, everlasting love and all sufficient power; 2. On the Son’s part, everlasting merit and constant intercession; 3. On the Spirit’s part, perpetual inhabitation and continued influence.—Note, 1. The heart of Christ is exceedingly set upon the unity of His members; 2. The believers’ union with Christ and with one another, has some resemblance to that betwixt the Father and the Son: it is a union, (1) holy, (2) spiritual, (3) intimate, (4) indissoluble.
John 17:12. Observe that, 1. Those who shall be saved, are given unto Christ and committed to His care and trust; 2. None of those that are given unto Christ shall be finally lost.
John 17:13. There is a double care which Christ takes of His people; namely, a care of their graces, and a care of their joy and comfort.—Learn that, 1. Christ is the author and original of the joy of His people: My joy; 2. It is Christ’s will and desire that His people might be full of holy joy: That My joy may be fulfilled in them; 3. The great end of Christ’s prayer and intercession was, and is, that His people’s hearts might be full of joy.
John 17:14. Learn that, 1. Christians, especially ministers, to whom Christ has given His word, must expect the world’s hatred; 2. It is to the honor of believers that they are like unto Christ in being the objects of the world’s hatred.
John 17:15, 16. Observe 1. That the wisdom of Christ sees fit to continue His children and people in the world, notwithstanding all the perils and dangers of the world: He has work for them, and they are of use to Him, for a time, in the world; till their work be done, Christ’s love will not, and the world’s malice cannot, remove them hence: 2. Yet Christ prays that His Father will keep them from the evil, i.e., the sins, temptations and snares of the world.—Note, 1. That a spiritual victory over evil is to be preferred before a total exemption from it; 2. How necessary divine aid is to our preservation and success, even in the holiest and best of enterprises, and how necessary it is to seek it by fervent prayer; 3. That such as sincerely devote themselves to Christ’s service, are sure of His aid whilst so employed.
John 17:17. Learn that, 1. Such as are already sanctified, ought to endeavor after higher degrees of sanctification; 2. The Word of God is the great instrument in God’s hand for His people’s sanctification; 3. The Word of God is the truth of God.—The Word of God is a divine truth, an eternal truth, an infallible truth, a holy truth.
John 17:18. Observe, 1. Christ’s mission: The Father sent Him into the world; Christ did not of Himself undertake the office of a Mediator; 2. As Christ’s mission, so the Apostles’ mission; As Thou hast sent Me, so have I sent them: Learn thence that none may undertake the office of the ministry, without an authoritative sending from Christ Himself; 3. Such as are so sent [by the ministers of Christ] are sent by Christ Himself; and it is the people’s duty to reverence their persons, to
respect their office, to receive their message.
John 17:19. Christ’s sanctifying Himself imports, 1. His setting Himself apart to be a sacrifice for sin; 2. His dedication of Himself to this holy use and service.—The great end for which Christ did thus sanctify Himself was that He might sanctify His members; that we should be consecrated to, and wholly set apart for Him.
John 17:20. That, 1. All believers have a special interest in Christ’s prayer; 2. In the sense of the gospel they are believers, who are wrought upon to believe in Christ through the word; 3. Such is Christ’s care of, and love to, His own, that they were remembered by Him in His prayer, even before they had a being.
John 17:21. The special mercy and particular blessing which Christ prays for, on behalf of believers, is a close and intimate union betwixt the Father, Himself and them, and also betwixt one another.—Note 1. The mystical union betwixt Christ and His members has some resemblance with that union which is betwixt the Father and the Son; 2. Unity amongst the ministers and members of Jesus Christ is of so great importance, that He did in their behalf principally pray for it.—Union amongst Christ’s disciples is one special means to enlarge the kingdom [Church] of Christ, and to cause the world to have better thoughts of Him and His doctrine.
John 17:22. Learn that, 1. God the Father hath bestowed much glory on Christ His Son, as He is man and Mediator of the church; 2. The same glory for kind and substance, though not for measure and degree, which Christ as Mediator has received from the Father, is communicated to true believers; 3. The great end of this communication was, and is, to oblige and enable His people to maintain a very strict union among themselves; 4. Unity amongst believers is part of that glory which Christ as Mediator hath obtained for them.
John 17:23. Observe 1. As the Father is in Christ, so is Christ in believers, and they in Him; the Father is in Christ in respect of His divine nature, essence, and attributes; and Christ is in believers, by the inhabitation of His Holy Spirit; 2. The happiness of believers consisteth in their oneness, in being one with God through Christ, and one amongst themselves; 3. God the Father loved Christ His Son; (1) as God; (2) as Mediator, John 10:17; 4. God the Father loves believers, even as He loved Christ Himself; 5. Christ would have the world know, that God the Father loveth the children of men, as well as Himself.
John 17:24. Our Saviour had prayed for His disciples’ sanctification before, here He prays for their glorification: 1. That they may be where He is; now Christ is with them in His ordinances, in His word, and at His table; ere long they shall be with Him, as His friends, as His spouse, as His companions in His kingdom; 2. That they may be with Him where He is; that is more than the former: to be with Christ where He is, imports union and communion with Him.—Learn 1. All those that are given to Christ as His charge, and as His reward, shall certainly come to heaven to Him; 2. The work and employment of the saints in heaven chiefly consists in seeing and enjoying Christ’s glory; for it will be a possessive sight; 3. The top and height of the saints’ happiness in heaven consists in this, that they shall be with Christ.
John 17:25. O righteous Father: righteous in making good Thy promises both to Me and them.—Observe what it is that our Saviour affirms concerning the wicked and unbelieving world, that they have not known God,—have no saving knowledge of God.—Christ is the original and fontal cause of all the saving knowledge that believers have of God.
John 17:26. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it; i.e. I have made known unto them Thy nature, attributes, counsels, will and commands, and I will continue the manifestation of the same unto the end.—That the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me, may be in them, and I in them; It is not enough for the people of God that His love is towards them, but they must endeavor to have it in them; that is, experience it in the effects of it, and in the feeling of it in their own souls: the safety of a Christian lies in this, that God loves Him; but the happiness of a Christian consists in the sensible apprehension of this love.
[From M. HENRY: Chap. 17. Christ prayed this prayer in their hearing, so that it was a prayer 1. After sermon; when He had spoken from God to them, He turned to speak to God for them; Those we preach to, we must pray for; 2. After sacrament; 3. Of a family: He not only, as a son of Abraham, taught His household (Gen. 18:19), but, as a son of David, blessed His household (2 Sam. 6:20), prayed for them and with them; 4. Of parting; when we and our friends are parting, it is good to part with prayer, Acts 20:36,—dying Jacob blessed the twelve patriarchs; dying Moses, the twelve tribes; and so, here, dying Jesus the twelve apostles; 5. That was a preface to His sacrifice, specifying the blessings designed to be purchased by His death for those that were His; 6. That was a specimen of His intercession.—All that have the Spirit of adoption, are taught to cry, Abba, Father, Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6: If God be our Father, we have liberty of access to Him, ground of confidence in Him, and great expectations from Him.—Christ calls Him holy Father (John 17:11); and righteous Father (John 17:25); it will be of great use to us in prayer, both for our direction and encouragement, to call God as we hope to find Him.—Christ began with prayer for Himself, and afterward prayed for His disciples; We must love and pray for our neighbor as ourselves, and therefore must in a right manner love and pray for ourselves first.—He was much shorter in His prayer for Himself than in His prayer for His disciples; Our prayer for the church must not be crowded into a corner of our prayer.
John 17:1. The Father glorified the Son upon earth, 1. In His sufferings, by the signs and wonders which attended them; 2. By His sufferings: It was in His cross that He conquered Satan and death; His thorns were a crown, and Pilate in the inscription over His head wrote more than he thought; 3. Much more after His sufferings; the Father glorified the Son when He raised Him from the dead.—They that have received the adoption of sons, may in faith pray for the inheritance of sons; if sanctified, then glorified.—Good Christians in a trying hour, particularly a dying hour, may thus plead,—“Now the hour is come, stand by me.”—Father, own Me in My sufferings, that I may honor Thee by them.—If God had not glorified Christ crucified, by raising Him from the dead, His whole undertaking had been crushed; therefore glorify Me, that I may glorify Thee.—Hereby He hath taught us, 1. What to aim at in our prayers, in all our designs and desires, viz., the honor of God; 2. What to expect and hope for.
John 17:2, 3. See the power of the Mediator: 1. The original of His power; Thou hast given Him power; 2. The extent of His power, He has power over all flesh, i.e., (1) all mankind, (2) mankind considered as corrupt; 3. The grand intention and design of this power; Here is the mystery of our salvation laid open; Here is (1) the Father making over the elect to the Redeemer; (2) the Son undertaking to secure the happiness of those that were given Him; (3) the subserviency of the Redeemer’s universal dominion to this; 4. A further explication of this grand design (John 17:3): Here is (1) the great end which the Christian religion sets before us, viz., eternal life; (2) the sure way of attaining this blessed end, which is, by the right knowledge of God and Jesus Christ; This is life eternal, to know Thee; which may be taken two ways: First, Life eternal lies in the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ; the present principle of this life is the believing knowledge of God and Christ; the future perfection of that life will be the intuitive knowledge of God and Christ: Secondly, The knowledge of God and Christ leads to life eternal; this is the way in which Christ gives eternal life, by the knowledge of Him that has called us (2 Pet. 1:3); and this is the way in which we come to receive it.—The Christian religion shows the way to heaven by directing us, 1. To God, as the author and felicity of our being; 2. To Jesus Christ, as the Mediator between God and man.—They that are acquainted with God and Christ, are already in the suburbs of life eternal.—The Church’s king is no usurper, as the prince of this world is.
John 17:4. With what comfort Christ reflects on the life He had lived on earth; I have glorified Thee, and finished My work; it is as good as finished; He overlooks the poverty and disgrace He had. This is recorded, 1. For the honor of Christ, that His life upon earth did in all respects fully answer the end of His coming into the world; 2. For example to all; (1) We must make it our business to do the work God has appointed us to do; (2) We must aim at the glory of God in all; 3. For encouragement to all those that rest upon Him.
John 17:5. All repetitions in prayer are not to be counted vain repetitions.—What His Father had promised Him, and He was assured of, yet He must pray for; promises are not designed to supersede prayers, but to be the guide of our desires and the ground of our hopes.—The brightest glories of the exalted Redeemer were to be displayed within the veil, where the Father manifests His glory.
John 17:6–10. The apostleship and ministry, which are Christ’s gift to the Church, were first the Father’s gift to Jesus Christ.
John 17:6. Thou gavest them Me, as sheep to the shepherd, to be kept; as patients to the physician, to be cured; as children to a tutor, to be educated.
John 17:6, 8. Observe, 1. The great design of Christ’s doctrine, which was to manifest God’s name, to declare Him; 2. His faithful discharge of this undertaking: I have done it: His fidelity appears (1) in the truth of His doctrine; (2) in the tendency of His doctrine, which was to manifest God’s name.—It is Christ’s prerogative to manifest God’s name to the souls of the children of men. Sooner or later, He will manifest God’s name to all that were given Him, and will give them His word to be, 1. The seed of their new birth; 2. The support of their spiritual life; 3. The earnest of their everlasting bliss.
John 17:6–8. What success the doctrine of Christ had among those that were given Him, in several particulars: 1. They have received the words which I gave them; 2. They have kept Thy word, have continued in it; have conformed to it; 3. They have understood the word—have known that all things whatsoever Thou hast given Me are of Thee; 4. They have set their seal to it; They have known surely that I came out from God.
John 17:8; Known surely; It is a great satisfaction to us, in our reliance upon Christ, that He and all He is and has, all He said and did, all He is doing and will do, are of God, 1 Cor. 1:30: If the righteousness be of God’s appointing, we shall be justified; if the grace be of His dispensing, we shall be sanctified.—See here, 1. What it is to believe; it is to know surely: We may know surely that which we neither do nor can know fully; 2. What it is we are to believe: That Jesus Christ came out from God.—Christ is a Master who delights in the proficiency of His scholars: See how willing He is to make the best of us, and to say the best of us; thereby encouraging our faith in Him, and teaching us charity to one another.—The due improvement of grace received, is a good plea, according to the tenor of the new covenant, for further grace.
John 17:9. They are Thine: 1. All that receive Christ’s word, and believe in Him, are taken into covenant relation to the Father, and are looked upon as His; 2. This is a good plea in prayer,—Christ here pleads it; we may plead it for ourselves.
John 17:10. Those shall have an interest in Christ’s intercession, in and by whom He is glorified.—That in which God and Christ are glorified, may, with humble confidence, be committed to God’s special care.
John 17:11–16. The particular petitions which Christ puts up for His disciples, 1. All relate to spiritual blessings in heavenly things; the prosperity of the soul is the best prosperity; 2. They are for such blessings as are suited to their present state and case, and their various exigencies and occasions; Christ’s intercession is always pertinent; 3. He is large and full in the petitions, orders them before His Father, and fills His mouth with arguments, to teach us fervency and importunity in prayer, to be large in prayer, and dwell upon our errands at the throne of grace, wrestling as Jacob.—Note 1. The taking of good people out of the world is a thing by no means to be desired, but dreaded rather, and laid to heart, Is. 57:1; 2. Though Christ loves His disciples, He does not presently send for them to heaven, but leaves them for some time in this world, that they may do good, and glorify God upon earth, and be ripened for heaven.—It is more the honor of a Christian soldier by faith to overcome the world, than to retreat from it; and more for the honor of Christ to serve Him in a city than in a cell.
John 17:11. It is the unspeakable comfort of all believers, that Christ Himself has committed them to the care of God Himself: Those cannot but be safe, whom the Almighty God keeps, and He cannot but keep those whom the Son of His love commits to Him.—He here puts them 1. Under the divine protection; Keep their lives, till they have done their work; keep their comforts, and let not them be broken in upon by the hardships they meet with; keep up their interest in the world, and let not that sink; 2. Under the divine tuition; Keep them in their integrity, keep them disciples, keep them close to their duty.—He speaks to God as a holy Father; In committing ourselves and others to the divine care, we may take encouragement, 1. From the attribute of His holiness; 2. From this relation of a Father, wherein He stands to us through Christ.—What we receive as our Father’s gifts, we may comfortably remit to our Father’s care: Father, keep the graces and comforts Thou hast given Me; the children Thou hast given Me; the ministry I have received.—Keep them through Thine own name; i.e., 1. Keep them for Thy name’s sake; so some—Thy name and honor are concerned in their preservation as well as Mine, for both will suffer by it if they either revolt or sink; 2. In Thy name; so others; the original is so, ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι; Keep them in the knowledge and fear of Thy name; keep them in the profession and service of Thy name whatever it costs them; 3. By or through Thy name; so others; Keep them by Thine own power, in Thine own hand: keep them Thyself.—Keep them from the evil: 1. The evil one, Satan; 2. The evil thing, sin; 3. Keep them from the evil of the world, and of their tribulation in it, so that it may have no sting in it, no malignity.
John 17:12. Concerning all saints, it is implied that, 1. They are weak, and cannot keep themselves; 2. They are in God’s sight valuable and worth keeping; 3. Their salvation is designed, for to that it is that they are kept, 1 Pet. 1:5; 4. They are the charge of the Lord Jesus.
John 17:11. It should be a pleasure to those that have their home in the other world, to think of being no more in this world; for when we have done what we have to do in this world, and are made meet for that, what should court our stay?—They who love God, cannot but be pleased to think of coming to Him, though it be through the valley of the shadow of death.—When our Lord Jesus was going to the Father, He carried with Him a tender concern for His own which are in the world: We should have such a pity for those that are launching out into the world when we are got almost through it.
John 17:13. Note, 1. Christ has not only treasured up comforts for His people, in providing for their future welfare, but has given out comforts to them, and said that which will be for their present satisfaction; 2. Christ’s intercession for us is enough to fulfil our joy in Him.
John 17:14. They that receive Christ’s good will and good word, must expect the world’s ill will and ill word.—Those that keep the word of Christ’s patience, are entitled to special protection in the hour of temptation, Rev. 3:10: That cause which makes a martyr, may well make a joyful sufferer.—They to whom the word of Christ comes in power, are not of the world, for it has this effect upon all that receive it in the love of it, that it weans them from the wealth of the world, and turns them against the wickedness of the world.
John 17:16. They may in faith commit themselves to God’s custody, 1. Who are as Christ was in this world, and tread in His steps; 2. Who do not engage themselves in the world’s interest, nor devote themselves to its service.
John 17:17. Note, 1. It is the prayer of Christ for all that are His that they may be sanctified; 2. Those that through grace are sanctified, have need to be sanctified more and more; not to go forward is to go backward; 3. It is God that sanctifies as well as God that justifies, 2 Cor. 5:5; 4. It is an encouragement to us in our prayers for sanctifying grace, that it is what Christ intercedes for, for us.—Jesus Christ intercedes for His ministers with a particular concern.—The great thing to be asked of God for gospel ministers is, that they may be sanctified, effectually separated from the world, entirely devoted to God, and experimentally acquainted with the influence of that word upon their own hearts, which they preach to others.
John 17:18, 19. We have here two pleas or arguments to enforce the petition for the disciples’ sanctification, 1. The mission they had from Him (John 17:18); 2. The merit they had from Him; For their sakes I sanctify Myself.
John 17:18. Whom Christ sends He will stand by, and interest Himself in those that are employed for Him; what He calls us out to, He will fit us out for, and bear us out in.
John 17:20–23. Next to their purity, He prays for their unity; for the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable.
John 17:20. Note, 1. Those, and those only, are interested in the mediation of Christ that do, or shall, believe in Him; 2. It is through the word that souls are brought to believe on Christ; 3. It is certainly and infallibly known to Christ, who shall believe on Him; 4. Jesus Christ intercedes not only for great and eminent believers, but for the meanest and weakest; 5. Jesus Christ in His mediation had an actual regard to those of the chosen remnant that were yet unborn: prayers are filed in heaven for them beforehand.
John 17:21. The oneness prayed for includes three things: 1. That they might all be incorporated in one body; 2. That they might all be animated by one Spirit; 3. That they might all be knit together in one heart; that they all may be one, (1) in judgment and sentiment; not in every little thing—it is neither possible nor needful; (2) in disposition and inclination; (3) in their designs and aims; (4) in their desires and prayers; (5) in love and affection.—It is taken for granted that the Father and Son are one; this is insisted on in Christ’s prayer for His disciples’ oneness: 1. As its pattern; 2. As its centre—that they may be one in us, all meeting here; 3. As its plea.—Believers are one, in some measure, as God and Christ are one; for, 1. The union of believers is a strict and close union; they are united by a divine nature, by the power of divine grace, in pursuance of divine counsels; 2. It is a holy union, in the Holy Spirit, for holy ends; 3. It is, and will be at last, a complete union; Father and Son have the same attributes, properties, and perfections; so have believers now, as far as they are sanctified, and when grace shall be perfected in glory, they will be exactly consonant to each other, all changed into the same image.
John 17:23. The words, I in them, and Thou, in Me, show what that union is which is so necessary: viz., 1. Union with Christ; I in them; 2. Union with God through Him; Thou in Me; 3. Union with each other, resulting from those; that they hereby may be made perfect in one.
John 17:22. The glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them: Christ gave it them, that they might be one; 1. To entitle them to the privilege of unity; 2. To engage them to the duty of unity; the more Christians are taken up with the glory Christ has given them, the less desirous they will be of vain-glory, and, consequently, less disposed to quarrel.—He pleads the happy influence their oneness would have upon others, showing, 1. His good will to the world of mankind in general; 2. The good fruit of the Church’s oneness: it will be an evidence of the truth of Christianity and a means of bringing many to embrace it, (1) In general, it will recommend Christianity to the world; the uniting of Christians in love and charity, is the beauty of their profession, and invites others to join them; when Christianity, instead of causing quarrels about itself, makes all other strifes to cease, when it cools the fiery, smooths the rugged, and disposes men to be kind and loving, courteous and beneficent, to all men, studious to preserve and promote peace in all relations and societies, it will recommend itself to all; (2) In particular, it will beget in men good thoughts, (a) of Christ: they will know and believe that Thou hast sent Me; (b) of Christians; they will know that Thou hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me (John 17:23).
John 17:24. A petition for the glorifying of all those that were given to Christ: observe the connection of this request with those foregoing; He had prayed that God would preserve, sanctify, and unite them; and now He prays that He would crown all His gifts with their glorification: In this method we must pray,—first for grace, and then for glory.—Father, I will: Here, as before, He addresses Himself to God as a Father, and therein we must do likewise; but when He says θέλω—I will, He speaks a language peculiar to Himself; He declares, 1. The authority of His intercession in general; He intercedes as a king, for He is a Priest upon His throne (like Melchizedek); 2. His particular authority in this matter; He had a power to give eternal life.—Three things make heaven: It is, 1. To be where Christ is; where I am; 2. To be with Him where He is; 3. To behold His glory, which the Father has given Him. Observe (1) The glory of the Redeemer is the brightness of heaven. (2) The felicity of the redeemed consists very much in the beholding of that glory.—The ground upon which we are to hope for heaven is no other than purely the mediation and intercession of Christ, because He hath said, Father, I will.
John 17:25. O righteous Father; When He prayed that they might be sanctified, He calls Him holy Father; when He prays that they might be glorified, He calls Him righteous Father.—These have known that Thou hast sent Me; To know and believe in Jesus Christ, in the midst of a world that persists in ignorance and infidelity, is highly pleasing to God and shall certainly be crowned with distinguishing glory: Singular faith qualifies for singular favors.
John 17:26. Observe 1. What Christ had done for them: I have declared unto them Thy name: Those whom Christ recommends to the favor of God, He first leads into an acquaintance with God; 2. What He intended to do yet further for them; I will declare it; 3. What He aimed at in all this; not to fill their heads with curious speculations, but to secure and advance their real happiness in two things: (1) Communion with God; (2) union with Christ in order hereunto; and I in them.—When God’s love to us comes to be in us, it is like the virtue which the loadstone gives the needle, inclining it to move toward the pole.—It is the glory of the Redeemer to dwell in the redeemed; it is His rest forever, and He has desired it; Let us therefore make sure our union with Christ, and then take the comfort of His intercession.
[From SCOTT: John 17:1–5. Fervent prayer forms the proper conclusion of religious instruction, and the preparation for approaching trials: and our hearts should habitually be lifted up to God, that He would glorify Himself in and by us; prosper our endeavors to honor Him; support us in resisting temptations; and carry us through all difficulties to His heavenly kingdom.
John 17:12. Many have called Christ Lord, and seemed to be the children of God, who at length proved “sons of perdition.” Such examples should excite to serious self-examination and prayer; but should not distress the believer, who, though he cannot do the things he would, is conscious of integrity in his professed repentance, and faith in Christ, and desire of living to His glory.
John 17:15. The disciples of Christ should be willing to die, but not impatiently desire it.
John 17:20–26. Union and communion with the Father and the Son, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and harmony with one another, formed the substance of our Redeemer’s prayer for all His disciples, to the end of time.——From A. CLARKE: John 17:17. Through Thy truth; The doctrine that is not drawn from the truth of God can never save souls: God blesses no word but His own, because none is truth without mixture of error, but that which has proceeded from Himself.
John 17:26. Christ’s sermon on the mount shows men what they should do, so as to please God: this sermon (beginning at John 13:13) shows them how they are to do the things prescribed in the other: In the former, the reader sees a strict morality, which he fears he shall never be able to perform; in this, he sees all things are possible to him who believes, for that very God who made him, shall dwell in his heart, and enable him to do all things that He pleases to employ him in.——From A PLAIN COMMENTARY (Oxford): John 17:1. Take notice of the precious indication of the gesture with which our Saviour pronounced the words which follow. (Comp. John 11:41, and St. Mark 6:41.) There are far more indications in our Lord’s manner and gesture contained in the Gospels than a careless reader would suppose.—Glorify Thy Son; “Some things He knew should come to pass, and notwithstanding prayed for them; because He knew that the necessary means to effect them were His prayers.” (HOOKER.)
John 17:3. God is the life of the soul, as much as the soul is the life of the body: and we must not think of Eternal Life as a thing to be begun hereafter; but as something to be begun now: The Life of Glory is, in fact, the Life of Grace continued. (C. MARRIOTT.)
John 17:4. The Son had glorified the Father upon the earth, by 1. Performing the great work which the Father had given Him to do; 2. His miracles; 3. His doctrine; 4. His pure and spotless life; 5. The call of the Twelve; 6. Laying the foundation of the Church.
John 17:9. “In that prayer for Eternal Life, which our Saviour knew could not be made without effect, He excepteth them for whom He knew His sufferings would be frustrate, and commendeth unto God His own.” (HOOKER.)
John 17:15. Until our appointed earthly work is completed, Divine Love is concerned only to keep us from the power of the Enemy; not to take us out of the world.
John 17:19. All is for our sakes!
John 17:23. This communion of the Saints with the Son of God is, as most evident, so most remarkable. (Bishop PEARSON.)
John 17:24. Rather, “I wish;” that is, “I request:” And O the unspeakable condescension of that wish on the lips of the Eternal Son!—even that He may be united throughout the ages of Eternity to the men whom the Father had given Him.
[From STIER: John 17: This Prayer is the climax and consummation of all His discourses, pressing nearest to heaven and most immediately breathing of its mysteries,—a triumphantly and serenely bright It is finished before the darkness surrounded Him upon the cross, so that that must be first rightly interpreted by this!—“Every one of these words could have been spoken by Him alone, and by Him only at such a conjuncture.” (THEREMIN.)—“Here is the inwardness of the East, the home of religion, seized and expressed with the precision of the West, the home of science.” (BRAUNE.)—The most glowing mystic and the most careful thinker finds each his own language in these words, embracing both opposites in one.—The Lord, approaching the Father as His Son, proceeds from Himself—and His glorification now come, laying claim on that account to eternal life for all given to Him;—He then as Intercessor embraces all His disciples present and future—beginning with the commencement of His work within them, and continually enlarging the circle of His intercession until it reaches eternity and the full consummation of all;—and, finally, He carries back their glorification with becoming dignity to the first words concerning His own—I in them!
John 17:1. The first word of the praying Lord is, Father—and nothing more. Not our Father, which He could never say; not even My Father, for that would be here too much.—The Son desires His own glorification not egotistically, but solely to the end that He again may glorify the Father, and give back to Him the might, honor, and glory which Himself should receive; and here once more we find that first petition after the invocation of the Father in heaven, a petition which includes all others—Hallowed be Thy name.
John 17:2. Authority over all flesh, obtained by His becoming a man in the flesh, and the Head of our race, the Lord received with joy from His Father—“not as a burdensome commission, but as an authority conferred.” (RIEGER.)—To become such a possession of Jesus (2 Thess. 2:14)—is ever the condition for the reception of eternal life.—“Know this well, O man, that it is not given to thee to be thy own master; thou must have another Lord, the choice is between God and thine eternal enemy and His.” (THEREMIN.)—That real life which is eternal; that fellowship with God which at once begins with living faith, and is consummated only in the full blessedness of eternal glory.
John 17:3. “For to know Thee is perfect righteousness; yea, to know Thy power is the root of immortality.” (WISDOM 15:3.)—Knowledge means, in Scripture, not apprehension, imagination, thinking in cold speculation, or feeling in the unillumined warmth of false mysticism; nor is it belief as mere admission and credence, but a living, conscious possession of fellowship with Him.—To know God—the highest thing possible to the creature, or for which the creature was formed. When that is perfect, the life is consummate.—The two opposites to the knowledge of the true God here referred to, were in their historical manifestation at that time—1. Gentile idolatry, which knew not nor acknowledged even the one true God; 2. Jewish rejection of His Anointed in the person of Jesus: But in their internal and permanent principle, as the Lord here points to it for all futurity, they are—Pantheistic denial of the personal supermundane Creator, and deification of the creature, which is the root of all heathenism; and Deistical rationalism, which heeds not and rejects Christ.—“To take the Lord for our God is the natural part of the covenant; the supernatural part is, to take Christ for our Redeemer: The former is first necessary, and implied in the latter.” (BAXTER’S Saints’ Rest.)—The babblers who find here no more than a praying mortal, have but a very slight perception of what the prerogative of God’s honor above every praying creature demands. Was not Moses sent of God, and many others like him? But how would it run, Eternal life and blessedness consists in this, to know God and Moses—or God and Paul!—This is the only time that the Lord Himself unites thus simply and immediately His Christ-name with His Jesus-name;—but the occasion stands alone. The Lord here confirms, unfolds, explains, and glorifies the central word of the Old Testament, now fulfilled in Him; avows in the most solemn manner before the Father that He, Jesus, is the only true Messiah.—“Not to no purpose is it that the Lord does not simply say Me, but speaks of Himself in the third person; commemorating [declaring] Himself His own proper name, in order that He may intimate the mystical meaning which it involves.” (LAMPE.)—Jesus; This name of salvation (Luke 2:21), first uttered by Gabriel, which combines a name common among the people with the sole and incomparable truth of its signification, which was borne in the Old Testament by typical persons, which in apostolic preaching is expounded even as the Angel of the Lord had expounded it (Acts 4:12; John 17:30; Matt. 1:21)—is it not here fittingly used, where He who bears it presents Himself before the Father in the full consciousness of its power and meaning? St. Matthew’s record of the conception, and St. John’s of the departure, coincide in the name of Jesus.
John 17:4, 5. To have the authority and power to save, according to the meaning of His name—this is the joy and the crown of His Jesus-heart at the present point of transition in His prayer, as He approaches the Father with the name of Jesus, that this name also may be glorified with and in Him.
John 17:4. In this finished, before the fulfilment upon the cross, consists the pre-eminent wonder of this prayer, which anticipates the heavenly mediation and intercession.—“The foundation of the world was not laid, heaven was not yet created, when God planned for my best interest; His grace was extended to me before I had my being. It was His counsel that I should have life through His only begotten Son; Him would He provide as a Mediator for me, Him did He set forth as a propitiator, that through His blood I should be sanctified and saved.” (HERMANN.)
John 17:6. Christ first preached and testified concerning the Father (John 16:25)—in His own person He brought down and unfolded this great word, teaching man how he may, and why he should, call God his Father.—The question concerning the name of God had been hitherto answered by the inconceivable JEHOVAH, which the awe of the far-off worshippers dared not even pronounce, and which rather repelled, therefore, than satisfied the inquiry: but now eternal being is plainly revealed to be eternal love.—Beyond this name—Father, and its appropriate honor, the creature has nothing further to know, to confess, and to praise.—He announced Him first to be His own, the Son’s, Father, and then ours, because He hath given to us the Son.—This is the permanent pre-eminence of the Adamic creature over all other “children of God,” that they through Christ have God as in the most direct and essential manner their Father.—“Thine they were; They were the Father’s, not only as His creatures and the heirs of the covenant with the fathers, but also as good hearts yielding to the discipline and drawing of God.” (RIEGER.)
John 17:8. Well for us, if we do not merely utter our own we have believed and we have known, but are also acknowledged before the Father by the ἀληθῶς of His Son!
John 17:9. That which He had promised in Matt. 10:32, He begins now to fulfil; as well as what He had said in John 14:16—I will ask the Father for you.—“To pray for the world, and not to pray for the world, must both be right in their place.” (LUTHER.)—As the typical high priest prayed only for Israel, bore only the twelve tribes on His breast-plate, so there is a corresponding prayer of the eternal High Priest only for the true people of God.
John 17:10. And I am glorified in them, and all that which is Thine and Mine belongs also to them; so that every Christian may in the joyful confidence of faith, utter the same word to Christ, All that is Thine is Mine! (1 Cor. 4:21–23.)
John 17:11. I am no more in the world; although in some degree still remaining in them, He yet leaves His beloved disciples on going to the Father. And this thought touches His heart with the feeling of all their future need.—Holy Father, God is holy, that is, exalted in His ineffable and incomparable praiseworthiness above all praise of the creature, while He in pure love condescends to the creature, even to His fallen creatures, in order to re-establish in them this His honor and glory, that He is love.… Thus finally, God, as the Merciful One, who yet, in this self-communication of redeeming love, abideth righteous, true, the One God,—is praiseworthy, exalted, to be adored in deepest reverence, high above all praise (hence sometimes the נוֹדָא is connected with the קָדוֹשׁ)—but this holiness in it’s fullest and profoundest sense has its New Testament disclosure in the equally sublime and condescending Father-name. … Thus the formula which Christ here uses—Holy Father—condenses the Old and New Testament expressions into one, uniting the deepest word of the past revelation with the new name which was now to be revealed, and both being one in their meaning.—Christ, who bears in Himself and brings to the world the name of the Father, prays as if He should say, Keep them in Me.—That they may be one; The prayer glances forward to the great end of their preservation: One among themselves, because one with Me and Thee, with Us.
John 17:12. Let no man depend upon the keeping of the Father and the Son, or upon the intercession of the High Priest, as upon an irresistible grace which will render this being lost impossible.—“Jesus caused it not, still less the Scripture, least of all God” (BRAUNE),—but Judas himself; although a child of Satan, he is at the same time the author and father of his own sin and his own perdition.
John 17:13. That which the intercession of Jesus prayed for and assured to His own, is made in the hands of the Spirit a blessing distributed in ever-increasing measure to all.—Whosoever speaks and writes under the benediction of this discourse of Jesus increases and fulfils the joy of those who hear and read.
John 17:14. The hatred of the world is the always resulting consequence, in the degree in which the Word has been given to us.—After the creation of the new man, which is now their proper person, after their union with Christ through the regeneration of the word, they are no longer of the world.
John 17:15. This is the inmost reason why they must remain in the world: they must pursue the conflict unto victory.—Christ asks not that His disciples should be taken out of the world; then ask it not thyself, either for thyself or for others! Reply with the Apostle to thine own desire to depart, Nevertheless it is better, for it is more needful, to remain in the flesh and in the world. Content thyself with praying for thy preservation, until thou hast fulfilled all thy work, and art thyself made perfect.—The reasons for which it was better that they should remain: 1. Believers are to continue the witness and work of the Lord in the world; 2. Only in the struggle to accomplish this, are we ourselves perfected and sanctified.—“Men wonder when a believer falls; but they should much more wonder to see him hold fast to the end, and finish his course with joy.” (HOFACKER.)—The great prize, the full fruit of our discipline is this, to be able to say throughout the conflict and at the end—But in all these we are more than conquerors! Rom. 8:37.—The evil is really the same comprehensive term here as in the Lord’s Prayer—sin, the malitia mundana; it includes all the miserable fruits and consequences of sin, from the equally tempting as profitable κακία (Matt. 6:34), up to the tremendous ἀπώλεια of eternity.
John 17:17. There is still something of the world in them; they are still in the evil; therefore they need to be sanctified: 1. for their own sake and in themselves; 2. as John 17:18 shows, for the sake of the world, and for their mission to it.—The great means of this sanctification is, the word of truth, just as in Acts 20:32.—“Thy truth” and “Thy word” embrace even here every Old Testament word also, concerning which Ps. 119:160 gloried—Thy word is true from the beginning, or—The sum, the essential substance of Thy word is Truth.—But now it is obvious that “if the word of God is thus consecrated as a sanctifying medium,” it receives this consecration as a living word, not regarded therefore as without and independent of the Spirit. It is the Son who sanctifies us in Himself; it is the Father who sanctifies us through the Son in the Spirit; specifically and conclusively it is thus the Spirit, as the living truth of God, who produces this sanctification.
John 17:18. Christ does not merely leave them in the world, He sends them to it and into it! As He Himself in the flesh overcame through conflict, and by true obedience sowed the seed which was now to produce the full harvest of His glory—so also is it with us. Thus we have here the strongest reason why Ho will not take His own out of the world; why we should not wish to forsake the society of men, and be at rest before the time; why we should rather persevere in our mission, as He did.
John 17:19. The common theory of atonement, which does not penetrate into the living oneness of the true humanity of Christ with the fallen children of Adam, will never be able to understand this memorable saying; for it leaves Jesus apart in His holiness, just where He, nevertheless, descending to and penetrating our humanity, sanctifies Himself for us. Does the ἁμαρτία by imputation lie only upon Him? Is it not rather, according to all Scripture, in His flesh, the same flesh of sin in the ὁμοίωμα of which He was sent and was born; so that in His flesh, this human nature and human person of the incarnate Son, sin was condemned and done away? [?]—In proportion as sin becomes to us, through the fellowship of His holy and willing Spirit, a bitterness, we also are sanctified in the truth, essentially in truth. The truth of God is the objective element and goal of actual, essential sanctification.
John 17:20–26. He first prays for the unity of all who should believe in Him and the Father; passing altogether from praying (now become a θέλω, I will) into the final promise of John 17:25, 26.
John 17:20. In this intercessory prayer, the beginning and pledge of that intercession which still prevails on high, every one who believeth has his place.—Faith itself is not prayed for or given; here, as in John 17:8, it is the condition of the validity and effect of the intercession.—All faith in all ages comes through the word; this, on the one hand, maintains the doctrine of prevenient grace, the grace of Him who calls, as universal for the world and as special for the individual, without which faith were entirely out of the question: while, on the other hand, it recognizes the freedom of our own decision, for through the word “means the free way of light and conviction.” (BRAUNE.)
John 17:21. What diversities are found among the members of the great body the Church, in external relation to the world, as well as in vocation, gifts, knowledge—and yet all are one! These two words most significantly meet here; this casts down the wall of partition between Israel and the Gentiles; as also all such distinctions as the ancient world recognized, according to Gal. 3:28; Rom. 1:14; similarly, by anticipation, all the distinctions which the modern world, and the Christian world itself, has set up.—An enforced, external, deceptive unity is far from being the thing spoken of here; but the one Word on which faith rests, the one end of the one way in the imitation of the one Lord and Shepherd, the one Spirit by whom all have access to one Father, make the essential unity of all who believe, and according to the proportion of their faith, know and live in believing.—“The being one of believers is not only a being one after the similitude of the Father and the Son, but it is bound up with their being one; it is at the same time a being one with Father and Son, since God through Christ and His Spirit essentially dwells in them.” 1 John 1:3 (MEYER).—The Restitution brings us abundantly more than man’s original prerogative at the creation; although Mallet said well in his sermon, “Who can hear this petition from the heart and voice of Jesus—That they may be one, as We are—without thinking of the word, Let Us make man an image of Ourselves?”—The Lord (1) testifies now at the end His own desire and will that all the world might believe; (2) He suggests this aim of universal, all-seeking grace to His Church; and would teach His people to regard this as the goal, however unattainable in itself, of all the efforts of their united love—ἵνα ὁ κόσμος πιστεύση.—That unity which alone gives power to its missions, and those missions which rest solely upon unity, are in their union the end of the Church.—An intimation from above, that the greatest obstacle to the world’s believing is the want of manifest unity in faith and love on the part of the imperfect Church.
John 17:22. The glory which Thou hast given Me is that same glory of grace and truth, of love, of unity with the Father, which, according to John 1:14, beamed forth to faith from the humanity of Jesus; and this He had truly given to His disciples upon earth already, because and so far as He is in them.—Even the slightest glimmering of heavenly light which begins to shine out of the countenance of a justified publican, is an outbeaming of His future glorification; and so is the still brighter angel-face of the crowned martyr at his trial.—Regard each other, at least, O believers, with respect! Learn, ye children of God, to stand in awe of your own dignity, that ye defile not yourselves with sin! Let your thanksgivings for what hath been already given, invigorate your prayer and effort after holiness and perfection!—And all this through faith! “A drop of faith is far more noble than a whole sea of mere science, though it be the historical science of the Divine word.” (FRANCKE.)
John 17:24. The Lord, when He reaches this point, elevates His tone, changes His petition into an authorized demand, and sets it before the hearers of His prayer in the form of a strong promise: θέλω, I will, is no other than a testamentary word of the Son, who in the unity of the Father, is appointing what He wills.—Our love teacheth us that to be with Christ would be in itself fully sufficient for blessedness; love desires, even in heaven, nothing beside for its unutterable joy;—as the same love here also speaks in Christ: “I will and must have all My children with Me.” (FRANCKE.)—This is the resolution of the contest between disinterested love and the regard to reward; with the supremest majesty Christ here speaks of His own glory and the beholding it, as the highest blessedness of His glorified ones; comp. Ex. 23:18.—He does not, however, say “My glory” otherwise than as He appoints it to be shared by us. Behold is an experiencing and tasting (as John 8:51), for, according to John 17:22, the Lord had given to us already His glory.
John 17:25. “Nothing is more wholesome and refreshing for every one of us, nothing more effectually secures the peace of the soul, than to say after the Saviour—Righteous Father! that is, when he can accept all—the death of his flesh, the life of his spirit, the destruction of his sin, the service of the living God, the loss of his portion in this life, with the corresponding heirship of God, and co-heirship with Christ—as grounded in the righteousness of the Father” (RIEGER)—and when he can also, like Christ in this last word of solace, accept it as right that its part in the tree of life and the holy city should be taken away from the world.—The not knowing is its own proper guilt, on account of which God can manifest Himself to it as only just.—The world, even the [nominally] Christian world, knoweth not the righteous Father, even to this day, knoweth not the Lord who revealeth Him—although naming and calling upon both, like the Jews with their God and their Messiah. And these have known; They knew Me as sent of Thee and as Thy Son (as Christ, the Son of the living God), and thus, through Me and in Me, Thyself also as My Father, holy and righteous—and this they know with Me, in opposition to the world from which they are saved.
John 17:26. Yea, as He loveth Christ He loveth us, for He giveth Him up for us all.—And will declare it; It is to be noted that, through the Spirit, the Church of Christ is truly led to the knowledge of the Father.—Love (not faith, not eternal life, not glory)—only love is the last word here! let every one ponder this and feel it. “With this end of creation, redemption, and sanctification, the Redeemer closes His High-priestly prayer. Love created the world, love took compassion upon the sinful world, love will unite in one the sanctified. Love is the eternal essence of God, and the principle of all His dealings.” (FIKENSCHER.)—The indwelling of His love is not simply “the practical end “of the knowledge of the name and nature of God, as it is very generally distinguished; but the love being in them is itself the living, consummate knowledge.—The love of the Father dwelleth in us only through the mediation of the Son; we know and we have the Father only as the Father of Christ, nor shall we possess Him throughout eternity otherwise: thus the last word of all after the last is, I IN THEM!—Christ in us, the love of the Father in us—is no other in its truth and power than the communion of the Holy Ghost, who bringeth through the grace of Christ the love of God to man.—John 17: That all things which He prays for and promises may be Yea and Amen,—the Lord of glory went, after these words, to the woe of Gethsemane, to the death of the cross, and, through the death endured for our sins, to His holy and righteous Father. This death is the centre of all that grace and truth of which the word bears witness to faith; out of this death cometh life, and love, and sanctification, and unity, and eternal glory.
[From BARNES: They were proceeding to the garden of Gethsemane [?] (John 14:31); 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 peculiarly tender circumstances in which Jesus and His Apostles were.
John 17:1. 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.
John 17:2. He has power over all; He can control, direct, sustain them. Wicked men are so far under His universal dominion, and so far restrained by His power, that they shall not be able to prevent His bestowing redemption on those who were given Him.
John 17:3. Might know Thee; The word know includes all the impressions on the mind and life which a just view of God and of the Saviour is fitted to produce. To know God as He is, is to know and regard Him as a lawgiver, a sovereign, a parent, a friend—To know Jesus Christ is to have a practical impression of Him as He is, that is, to suffer His character and Work to make their due impression on the heart and life. Simply to have heard that there is a Saviour is not to know it.
John 17:4. I have finished the work; How happy would it be if men would imitate His example, and not leave their great work to be done on a dying bed! Christians should have their work accomplished, and when that hour approaches have nothing to do but to die, and return to their Father in heaven.
John 17:17. Truth is a representation of things as they are. The Saviour prayed that through those just views of God and of themselves they might be made holy. To see things as they are is to see God to be infinitely lovely and pure; His commands to be reasonable and just; heaven to be holy and desirable; His service to be easy, and religion pleasant, and sin odious; to see that life is short, that death is near, that the pride, pomp, pleasures, wealth and honors of this world are of little value, and that it is of infinite importance to be prepared to enter on the eternal state of being. He that sees all this, or that looks on things as they are, will desire to be holy; he will make it his great object to live near to God, and to glorify His name.
John 17:19. That they also, etc. That they 1. Might have an example of the proper manner of laboring in the ministry; 2. Might be made pure by the effect of My sanctifying Myself, i.e., by the shedding of that blood which cleanses from all sin.
John 17:20. In the midst of any trials, we may remember that the Son of God prayed for us.
John 17:21. That they also may be one in us; A union among all Christians founded on and resulting from a union to the same God and Saviour.
John 17:23. May be made perfect in one; That their union may be complete; that there may be no want of union, no jars, discords, or contentions.—It is worthy of remark how entirely the union of His people occupied the mind of Jesus as He drew near to death.—All that is needed now, under the blessing of God, to convince the world that God sent the Lord Jesus, is that very union among all Christians for which lie prayed.
John 17:26. I in them; By My doctrines, and the influence of My Spirit—that my religion may show its power and produce its proper fruits in their minds. Gal. 4:19.——From JACOBUS: John 17: “First He prays for Himself, then for the whole Church, and for it He implores the four principal things of the Church—(1) the preservation of true doctrine, (2) concord in the Church, (3) the application of His sacrifice, (4) and the last and highest good, that the Church with Christ may be invested with life, joy and eternal glory.” (MELANCHTHON.)
John 17:2. He will lose none who are given to Him—and He will lose nothing that belongs to any of them (John 10), not even their bodies (John 6:39).
Ver, 3. This is life eternal—the life eternal—not, this is the way to life eternal, but this is it.—“To know God, and to have experience of His graciousness, is the very participation of Him, and life results from the participation of God.” (IRENÆUS.)—Our Lord uses the name by which He was known, Jesus, accompanied with the official title, Christ—thus solemnly recognizing these titles as embodying the treasures of that knowledge of which He here speaks—and giving a sweet sanction to this double title for the Church in all time.
John 17:4. Have finished; “How doth He say that He hath finished the work of man’s salvation since He hath not yet climbed the standard of the cross? Nay, but by the determination of His will, whereby He hath resolved to endure every article of His mysterious passion, He may truly proclaim that He hath finished the work.” (POLYCARP.)
John 17:5. There is shown here the oneness of Christ’s person, in His three estates, before the world was—on earth—and afterward in Heaven. This glory of Christ He did not receive, but possessed; He HAD it originally, and always—and never began to have it.
John 17:7. They have known; They have a knowledge derived from experience; they have that knowledge which is promised to those who follow on to know the Lord.
John 17:8. Their reception of the truth came from His manifestation of it to them (John 17:6), and their reception of it was cordial, leading to obedience.
John 17:9. It is not meant that He never could or would pray or ask any thing for the world as distinct from His people.—“The Lord knoweth them that are His,” and this is the inscription on the seal of His foundation (2 Tim. 2:19).
John 17:10. Thine are Mine; How could any creature say this? What larger claim to Godhood could be made?
John 17:11. And now I am no more in the world; Here we get a glimpse within the vail. We are given to see how He will make this the burden of His prayer in Heaven.—Keep in Thy name; Keep them in the knowledge and acknowledgment of Thy covenant titles and truths.—That they may be one, as we are; “Then will our unity be truly happy when it shall bear the image of God the Father, and of Christ, as the wax takes the form of the seal which is impressed upon it.” (CALVIN).
John 17:12. I have kept; I have guarded—or kept as with a military guard.—The son of perdition; It was no falling from grace, because he had no grace to fall from.
John 17:13. It is not enough for Christ that His people be perfectly safe for eternity; He will have them also perfectly happy.
John 17:15. We are not to seek our removal from the earth before the time—not to retire from active part in the affairs of this life—but we are to labor in our business here, seeking only to be preserved from the evil and to grow in grace.
John 17:17. “The revealed word of God is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy Him.” (WESTMINSTER CAT.)—Whatever contradicts this divine word is falsehood.
John 17:19. I sanctify Myself; This, as applied to Christ, cannot refer to spiritual sanctification, but has necessarily the Old Testament sense of holy self-consecration to His sacrificial death.
John 17:21. One in us; It is only by having fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ, that they could be one.—-This unity may consist with a variety of form, but it cannot consist with diversity of spirit. “Union implies parts.” (JAY.)
John 17:23. The stalk and root of the Vine are one, so as that the branches should be one also, by having all of them a vital relation to the Vine, and deriving of its one life.
John 17:24. When the Christian dies, we may regard it as being at this expressed “I will” of Christ. He claims that they shall have death to do them the service of introducing them to the beatific vision of their Lord.—Will declare it; This implies that He would continue His work of revealing the Father, by the mission of the Comforter, and that all these unfoldings of the Divine character, in all ages of the Church, should work in them a “hope that maketh not ashamed”—“Christ in them, the hope of glory.”——From OWEN: John 17:1. We are conducted, in the very opening of this sublime prayer, to the mysterious unity of the Father and Son, which is the great foundation upon which all that follows is based.
John 17:6. The full and blessed import of the passage has reference to the covenanted inheritance of Jesus Christ, known, determined, and provided for, before the foundation of the world.
John 17:8. Our Lord, by the word surely characterizes their knowledge as of a higher type than the we know of Nicodemus, John 3:2.
John 17:9. The intercessory prayer of Jesus embraces those only who are or are to be the actual subjects of His redeeming love.—Through Thine own name; literally, in Thine own name, the idea being that of dwelling or abiding in the protective power of God.
John 17:12. There is a concealed argument, a fortiori; if they stood in need of God’s protecting care, while Jesus was personally with them, much more would its continuance be necessary, now that they were to be left by Him, to carry on the great work of evangelizing men.
John 17:13. Our Lord uttered this intercessory prayer in the hearing of His disciples, in order that it might be a source of comfort in the dark hour of trial and affliction to them, and also to all who should come after them and be inheritors of like promises and blessings.
John 17:15. This verse implies a conflict not only between His disciples and the world without, but also with the world within, according as indwelling sin gave force to the temptations by which they might be beset.
John 17:16. As Jesus had been actuated by a supreme desire to do His Father’s will, so they were influenced by a like heavenly spirit and temper. Their whole life and purpose was an antagonism of good with evil, truth with error, light with darkness.
John 17:17. “They who are true disciples of Christ live and move in the word of truth as their element; they breathe it. This element, like all the means of grace, has a sanctifying tendency.” (SCHAUFFLER.)—”The true sanctifying Word” (Incarnate Word), “by union to which men become holy, separate from the world, united to God, and partakers of the divine nature.” (LEWIS.)—The living word of inspiration, that is, the revelation which the Incarnate Logos made of God, is the divinely appointed means of sanctification.
John 17:19. The difference between this act (sanctification), as predicated of Him and of His disciples, is twofold: 1. He sanctifies Himself, 2. this very self-sanctification proves His personal holiness from the very beginning; but the disciples (1) were sanctified by the Spirit of God; (2) and this proves them to have been previously defiled by sin.
John 17:20. This passage defines the true position of the preached Word in all which pertains to the salvation of men: “Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Rom. 10:14–17.
John 17:21. The oneness of believers here spoken of, is one not of essence, but of love. It is the unity of the Spirit, resulting from their being “one body, one Spirit, one hope of [the believer’s] calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in all.” (Eph. 4:4–6).—The unity here prayed for, does not imply—1. an absolute sameness of opinion on matters of religious faith and practice among Christ’s followers [Does it not require a certain degree of sameness?—E. R. C]; 2. That silence should be kept when error is taught, or when a Christian brother goes astray; 3. The surrender of any essential point of belief, in order to effect a compromise of doctrinal views, and thereby seek to remove all denominational distinctions. [Can any point of doctrine be essential, on which evangelical denominations disagree?—E. R. C]—The Spirit of our Lord’s petition is aimed against those sectarian prejudices and animosities, etc., which have so often brought dishonor upon the religion of Christ.—That the world may believe, etc.; This is not so much the purpose, as the result of unity among Christians.
John 17:22. The union of believers by the indwelling Spirit with the Father and Son from whom the Spirit proceeds, entitles them through grace to participate in the glory given to Christ.—The hidden spiritual life which they possess through faith in Him, and by which they become partakers of His glory, unites them all to Him, as the branches are united to the vine.
John 17:23. That they may be made perfect in one; Moral perfection is not here referred to, but a completeness and perfection of unity, according to the pattern of that which subsisted between the Father and Son.—The evidence of the Father’s love for believers, is here declared to be the great love which they manifest for one another, and the unity and harmony of purpose and aim which pervades their life.
John 17:24. The verb see, in this connection, has the idea also of partake; “No mere spectator could see this glory.” (ALFORD.)
John 17:25. “He appeals to the righteousness of God against the evil world, and in favor of His people; see 16:10.” (WEBSTER AND WILKINSON.)
John 17:26. I in them; As the Son was loved of the Father, His indwelling presence secured for His followers a participation in the Father’s love.
[John 17:21. That they all may be one, etc.; The unity of the Church here prayed for, was not (or not only) that of essence which already existed, and was complete and invisible; but that of perfection (John 17:23) which might be broken, was susceptible of increase, and was apparent to the world.—The union contemplated was one immediately of individuals, and not of denominations.—That which Christ prayed for, it is the Church’s duty to strive after.]
John 17:1.—[Cod. A. B. C. D. E., etc., Tischend., Treg., Alf., Westc. and H., read ἐλάλησεν, Cod. Sin. λ ε λ ά λ η κ ε ν, had spoken, which Noyes follows in his translation: “When Jesus had thus spoken.”—P. S.]
John 17:1.—[א. B., etc., Lachm., Treg., Tischend., Alford, etc., read ἐ π ά ρ α ς without καί, instead of the text. rec.: ἐπῇρεν. … καί.—P. S.]
John 17:3.—The ἵνα γινώσκουσιν (A. D. G. L., etc., Tischendorf) probably not merely an ancient error in transcription (Meyer), but also a dogmatical correction. Ἵνα γινώσκωσι seems at the same time to denote the impulse of a striving after the perfect knowledge of God and Christ, characterizing such impulse as the beginning of eternal blessedness. [Tischend., ed. viii., and Tregelles read γινώσκ ο υ σιν, but Lachm., Alford, Westcott and Hort, read γινώσκ ω σιν, which is supported by א. B. C. X., Orig., and adopted also by Lange in his version: “dass sie dich müssen erkennen.” Alford and Noyes translate “to know,” Conant: “that they know.”—P. S.]
John 17:4.—[The text. rec. reads ἐτελείωσα with D., Vulg.; but א. A. B. C. L., etc., and the best modern authorities read τελειώσας, which explains ἐδόξασα—P. S.]
John 17:5.—[Instead of πρὸ τοῦ τὸν κόσμον ε ἶ ν α ι παρὰ σοί, Cod. D. reads γ ε ν έ σ θ α ι.—P. S.]
John 17:6.—[For the second δ έ δ ω κ α ς, thou hast given (C. L., Orig., etc., Alford), I prefer ἔ δ ω κ α ς, gavest, which is supported by א. A. B. D. K., and adopted by Tregelles, Tischend., Westcott and Hort.—P. S.]
Ver 7.—[ἔ γ ν ω κ α ν is best sustained by (A.) B. C. D., etc., Lach., Tisch., Treg., Alf., Westc. Cod. Sin. reads ἔγνων. U. X. ἔγνωσαν.—P. S.]
John 17:8.—Καὶ ἔγνωσαν is wanting in A. D., Sin.,* Itala; it is bracketed by Lachmann, and by Meyer regarded as a gloss. It, however, has a decided reference to John 16:30. Codd. B. [C. L.], etc., Hilary, support it. [Alford, Tregelles, Tischend. ed., viii., Westcott and Hort retain it.—P. S.]
John 17:11.—The reading ᾧ [referring to ὄνομα] instead of οὕς [referring to αὐτούς], rests upon A. B. C. [א.], etc., and is decisively established by the Codd. [ᾧ is adopted by Treg., Alf., Tischend., W. and H. See the EXEG.—P. S.]
John 17:12.—Ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ is wanting in B. C.* D. L., Sin., etc. With reason rejected by Lachmann and Tischendorf.
John 17:12.—Codd. B. L., etc., read ᾧ δέδωκάς μοι καὶ ἐφύλαξα. Thence arises the reading in Tischendorf: “I kept them in Thy name which Thou hast given me, and I have watched or guarded them.” Codd. A. D., etc., are against said reading, [Treg., Alf., Tischend. ed. viii., W. and H., read also in John 17:12 ᾧ, instead of the οὗς of the text. rec.—P. S.]
John 17:17.—Σου is to be rejected in accordance with A. B. C.,* etc., (Lachmann).
John 17:20.—In accordance with A. B. C. D., Sin., etc., πιστευόντων instead of [text. rec.] πιστευσόντων. [All critical edit, read πιστευόντων.—P. S.]
John 17:21.—Ἕν is wanting in Codd. B. C.* D., etc., in the Itala, etc., in Hilary (Tischendorf). Ἕν is supported by Cod., A., Origen and, very decidedly, by the subsequent sentence. The world can see that Christians are one, but it cannot see that they are in God. [Cod. Sin. sustains the text, rec., but all the latest critical editions except Lachm., drop ἕν.—P. S.]
John 17:23—The καί before ἵνα should be omitted. [So all the crit. edd.]
John 17:24.—Tischendorf reads ὅ in accordance with Codd. B. D., Lachmann οὕς in accordance with Cod., A., etc. This reading of the Recepta is sanctioned by Cyprian and Hilary. [ὅ is also sustained by Cod. Sin., and adopted by Alford, Tregelles, Tischend., Westcott and Hort. “The neuter has a peculiar solemnity uniting the whole church together as one gift of the Father to the Son” (Alford). In this case we should translate: “I will that what thou hast given me (ὅ δέδωκάς μοι), even they (κἀκεῖνοι) may be with me,” etc.; or “As to that which thou hast given me, I will that they also be with me,” etc.—P. S.]
John 17:24—We retain the reading δέδωκας in accordance with the weightiest Codd. [instead of ἔδωκας. The E. V. is by no means consistent in the rendering of the tenses, and repeatedly confounds the aor. and perf. in this ch.—P. S.]
John 17:25.—[πατήρ: A. B.; πάτερ: א. C. D. L.—P. S.]
John 17:25.—[καί is omitted in D. and Vulg., but sustained by the best authorities. On its meaning see the EXEG. Alford. like the E. V., ignores it in the translation; Meyer translates: und gleichwohl (and yet); Lange: ja doch.—P. S.]
[Bengel: “Quis non gaudeat, hæc perscripta exstare, quæ cæm Patre locutus est Jesus? Hoc caput in tota Scriptura est verbis facillimum, sensibus profundissimum.”—P. S.]
[Precatio sacerdotalis or summi sacerdotis, first used in the sixteenth century by a Lutheran divine (Chytræus). Godet: “On a appelé cette prière sacerdotale. C’ est bien, en effet, ici l’acte du souverain sacrificateur de l’humanité, qui fait offrande à Dieu et de lui-même et de tout son peuple présent et futur.” Hengstenberg derives this designation, rather arbitrarily, from the Aaronic benediction, Lev. 9:22; Num. 6:22 ff.—P. S.]
[Comp. also Lampe: “Confirmatio et conservatio discipulorum, Scopus primarius harum precum erat.” Schmieder (Das hohepriesterl. Gebet, 48): “His speech was not only an outpouring of His heart towards the Father, but at the same time a well considered self-exhibiting work for the disciples.”—P. S.]
[Luther adds: “Plain and simple in sound, it yet is so deep, rich and broad that no one can fathom it.” Luther’s exposition of John 17 was composed in 1534.—P. S.]
[So did John Knox, who never feared the face of man, but bowed, like a child, before the will and word of God. In his last sickness he directed his wife and his secretary “that one of them should every day read to him, with a distinct voice, the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel according to John, the fifty-third of Isaiah, and a chapter of the Epistle to the Ephesians. This was punctually complied with during the whole time of his sickness.” Th. M’Crie, Life of John Knox (Philada. ed. 1845), p. 332.—P. S.]
[Melanchthon says: “Digniorem nec sanctiorem nec fructuosiorem, nec magis patheticam vocem in cœlo ac terra unquam auditam fuisse quam hanc ipsius Filii Dei precationem,” Zanchius (quoted by Lampe, iii., p. 358): “Plena est maximis consolationibus”—P. S.]
[Ewald begins a new sentence with καθώς, which is concluded in John 17:4, so that John 17:3 is parenthesis. Against this construction see Meyer.—P. S.]
[Webster and Wilkinson: “As elsewhere, so here most especially, it is important to notice that ζωή in this connexion does not mean merely conscious existence, nor αἰώνιος merely endless duration; but by ζ. αἰών. is signified ‘the life belonging to eternity,’ the highest kind and state of being of which the creation is capable.”—P. S.]
[Godet: ἵ ν α Esther mis au lieu de ὅ τ ι, parce que la connaissance est présentée comme un but à atteindre.—P. S.]
[This would require in Greek: ἵνα γιν. σε κ. Ἰησ. χρ ὅν ἀπέστ., τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεόν. The fathers adopted this forced interpretation to escape the Arian conclusion that Christ was of a different and created substance, and subordinate to the Father. But the juxtaposition of Christ with the Father in connection with all that follows (comp. ἡμεῖς ἕν, John 17:22), is quite inconsistent with Arianism and Sociniauism, God is here called ἀληθινός, not in distinction from His Son, but from idols and quasi-divinities. Christ, as to His divine nature, is Himself called ὁ ἀληθινὸς θεός, 1 John 2:22. Alford: “I do not scruple to use and preach on this verse (John 17:3) as a plain proof of the co-equality of the Lord Jesus in the Godhead.”—P. S.]
[So also the E.V., Lücke, ed. iii., Godet, Alford, and most English commentators. Comp, John 1:17; 1 John 1:3, 7, and especially the Pauline epistles where Ἰησοῦς Χριστός is the usual designation of the divine-human Mediator.—P. S.]
[So also Lücke, ed. ii., Meyer and Ewald. But then we would expect the article before χριστόν, as in all the eighteen passages of John where χριστός occurs without Ἰησοῦς, except John 9:22 (ὁμολογήσῃ χριστόν). Meyer thinks that Christ prayed in Hebrew, יֵשׁוּצַ הַמָשִׁיחַ, but this is by no means certain, and would not affect Greek usage. Comp, also 1 John 2:22; 4:3; 5:1, 6; 2 John 9, and the later writers, e.g. Hegesippus in Euseb. H. E. II. 23: ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστὶν ὁ χριστός. …. κινδυνεύει πᾶς ὁ λαὸς Ἰησοῦν τ ὸ ν χριστὸν προσδοκᾶν. Moreover, the predicate under which Christ is to be known, is already expressed by ὃν ἀπέστειλας.—P. S.]
[Godet: “L’écriture prend toujours le mot CONNAITRE dans un sens plus profond. Quand il s’ agit du rapport de deux [personnes, ce mot désigne la parfaite intuition que chacune a de l’ être moral de. l’ autre, leur rencontre dans le même milieu lumineux.”—P. S.]
[Alford has a good note here: “Notice the correction, which Meyer has pointed out, between ἐγώ σε before, and με σύ now. The same Person (ἐγώ) who had with the Father glory before the world, also glorified the Father in the world, and prays to be again received into that glory. A decisive proof of the unity of the Person of Christ, in His three estates of eternal præ-existence in glory, humiliation in the flesh, and glorification in the Resurrection-Body. This direct testimony to the eternal præ-existence of the Son of God has been evaded by the Socinian and also the Arminian interpreters by rendering εἶχον—‘habebam destination tua,’ Grot, Wetstein.”—P. S.]
[Calvin (like Augustine, Luther, and Melanchthon) expresses himself moderately, and cannot be quoted in favor of the supralapsarian doctrine of a limited atonement, but rather held that Christ’s atonement, though efficient only for the elect, is yet intrinsically sufficient for all. Lampe’s explanation is much more harsh, and concludes with the revolting words: Dum Jesus eos ab intercessions sua excludit, declarat, se eorum sacerdotem non esse adeoque mortem pro iis non obiturum. Tantum aberat, ut pro iis orare deberet, ut potius eorum interitum expetat omnesque diras in illos pronunciet. Among modern commentators Hengstenberg defends this interpretation; he refers to 1 John 5:16 (ἔστιν ἁμαρτία πρὸς θάνατον, οὐ περὶ ἐκείνης λέγω ἳνα ἐρωτήσῃ), as a parallel, and distinguishes between the susceptible world, which is an object of intercession (John 1:29; 3:17; 4:42), and the anti-Christian world which cannot receive the truth (14:17), and which is as little an object of intercession as the ἄρχων τοῦ κόσμου, but rather of the curses of God (Ps. 79:10; Acts 6:10). Then he quotes Luther, who says: “How squares His refusal to pray for the world with His teaching us, Matt. 5:44, that we are to pray even for our enemies? This is in brief the answer: 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 these alone, but for them also who shall believe on Me through their word.’ These very persons must yet be of the world, He must therefore pray for the world for the sake of those who are yet to come forth from the world. St. Paul was certainly of the world, when he persecuted and killed Christians, yet St. Stephen prayed for him and he was converted. Thus, too, Christ Himself prayed on the cross (Luke 23:34). It is thus true that He prayed for the world, and does not pray for the world; but this is the distinction: In the same way and in the same degree in which Christ prays for them that are His, He does not pray for the I world.”—P. S.]
[What a blasphemous profanation to call a mortal, sinful man, like the pope, “holy father!”—P. S.]
[So also Godet: “Par le mot fils de perdition, et par l’allusion qu’il fait a la prophétie, Jésus veut uniquement dégager sa propre responsabilité, et nullement atténuer celle de Judas.”—P. S.]
[כֶּן מָוֶת, υἱὸς θανάτου (1 Sam. 26:16); υἱὸς γεέννης (Matt. 23:15); Ἀβαδδών (Rev. 9:11, the name of the angel of the abyss, in Greek, ἀπολλύων, Destroyer); τέκνα ὀργῆς (Eph. 2:3); τέκνα κατάρας (2 Pet. 2:14). The “man of sin” is also called “the son of perdition,” 2 Thess. 2:3. The same term is applied to Satan in the Evang. Nicodemi, c. 20.—P. S.]
[Wordsworth: “He perished in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But the Scripture would not have been written by God, unless God had foreseen that he would perish. And this divine Prescience, though it foreknew and foretold that he would perish, did not in any way cause him to perish. Why then was this Scripture written? In order that even his perishing might be an evidence of God’s foresight; and so the traitor himself, even in the hands of Satan, and betraying Christ, might be a witness of the truth, even by his perishing; and Judas, ‘the Son of Perdition,’ might still even in his perdition, be an Apostle of the Son of God.”—P. S.]
[Chrysostom takes ἀγιάζ. ἐμ in the sense of προσφέρωσοὶ, I offer Myself as an oblation, as a holy victim to Thee. Christ is both priest and sacrifice. Heb. 9:14; Eph. 5:2. So also Meyer: “die thatsächliche Weihe, welche Christus, indem Er Sich durch Seinen Tod Gott zum Opfer darbringt, an Sich Selbst vollzieht.”—P. S.]
[Similarly Godet: Christ has a human nature with human inclinations, of which He was constantly making a holy offering of obedience to God to he completed in death, comp. Heb. 9:14. “Sa vie entière recoit ainsi la sceau d’ une consécration croissante, qui abutit enfin à l’ entière immolation.”—P.S.]
[Godet one-sidedly presses the last: “Il ne s’agit donc pas ici, comme on le croit souvent, de l’unité des chrétiens entre eux, mais de celle du corps des croyants avec Christ et, par lui, avec Dieu. Le Siegneur voit se former autour des apôtres, par leur prédication, un vaste cercle de croyants, qui sera son corps.” Lange’s more comprehensive view is in accordance with the text.—P. S.]
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: