17:1-5 Our Lord prayed as a man, and as the Mediator of his people; yet he spoke with majesty and authority, as one with and equal to the Father. Eternal life could not be given to believers, unless Christ, their Surety, both glorified the Father, and was glorified of him. This is the sinner's way to eternal life, and when this knowledge shall be made perfect, holiness and happiness will be fully enjoyed. The holiness and happiness of the redeemed, are especially that glory of Christ, and of his Father, which was the joy set before him, for which he endured the cross and despised the shame; this glory was the end of the sorrow of his soul, and in obtaining it he was fully satisfied. Thus we are taught that our glorifying God is needed as an evidence of our interest in Christ, through whom eternal life is God's free gift.
3. this is—that.
life eternal, that they might—may.
know, &c.—This life eternal, then, is not mere conscious and unending existence, but a life of acquaintance with God in Christ (Job 22:21).
thee, the only true God—the sole personal living God; in glorious contrast equally with heathen polytheism, philosophic naturalism, and mystic pantheism.
and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent—This is the only place where our Lord gives Himself this compound name, afterwards so current in apostolic preaching and writing. Here the terms are used in their strict signification—"Jesus," because He "saves His people from their sins"; "Christ," as anointed with the measureless fulness of the Holy Ghost for the exercise of His saving offices (see on Mt 1:16); "Whom Thou hast sent," in the plenitude of Divine Authority and Power, to save. "The very juxtaposition here of Jesus Christ with the Father is a proof, by implication, of our Lord's Godhead. The knowledge of God and a creature could not be eternal life, and such an association of the one with the other would be inconceivable" [Alford].