Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Had this prayer not been recorded, what reverential reader would
not have exclaimed, Oh, to have been within hearing of such a prayer as
that must have been, which wound up the whole of His past ministry and
formed the point of transition to the dark scenes which immediately
followed! But here it is, and with such signature of the Lips that
uttered it that we seem rather to hear it from Himself than read it
from the pen of His faithful reporter.
1-3. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes--"John very
seldom depicts the gestures or looks of our Lord, as here. But this was
an occasion of which the impression was indelible, and the upward look
could not be passed over" [ALFORD].
Father, the hour is come--(See on
Joh 13:31, 32).
glorify thy Son--Put honor upon Thy Son, by countenancing, sustaining,
and carrying Him through that "hour."
him power over all flesh--(See on
give eternal life to as many as, &c.--literally, "to all that
which thou hast given him." (See on
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
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
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
4, 5. I have glorified thee on the earth--rather, "I glorified" (for
the thing is conceived as now past).
I have finished--I finished.
the work which thou gavest me to do--It is very important to preserve
in the translation the past tense, used in the original, otherwise
it might be thought that the work already "finished" was only what
He had done before uttering that prayer; whereas it will be observed
that our Lord speaks throughout as already beyond this present scene
&c.), and so must be supposed to include in His "finished work" the
"decease which He was to accomplish at Jerusalem."
5. And now--in return.
glorify thou me--The "I Thee" and "Thou Me" are so placed in
the original, each beside its fellow, as to show that
A PERFECT RECIPROCITY OF SERVICES
of the Son to the Father first, and then of the
Father to the Son in return, is what our Lord means here to express.
with the glory which I had with thee before the world was--when "in
the beginning the Word was with God"
"the only-begotten Son in the bosom of the Father"
With this pre-existent glory, which He veiled on earth, He asks to be
reinvested, the design of the veiling being accomplished--not, however,
simply as before, but now in our nature.
6-8. From praying for Himself He now comes to pray for His disciples.
I have manifested--I manifested.
thy name--His whole character towards mankind.
to the men thou gavest me out of the world--(See on
8. they . . . have known surely that I came out from
9-14. I pray for them--not as individuals merely, but as
representatives of all such in every succeeding age (see on
not for the world--for they had been given Him "out of the world"
and had been already transformed into the very opposite of it.
The things sought for them, indeed, are applicable only to such.
10. all mine are thine, and thine are mine--literally, "All My
things are Thine and Thy things are Mine." (On this use of the
neuter gender, see on
Absolute COMMUNITY OF PROPERTY between the Father
and the Son is here expressed as nakedly as words can do it. (See on
11. I am no more in the world--(See on
but these are in the world--that is, Though My struggles are at an
end, theirs are not; though I have gotten beyond the scene of strife, I
cannot sever Myself in spirit from them, left behind and only just
entering on their great conflict.
Holy Father--an expression He nowhere else uses. "Father" is His
wonted appellation, but "Holy" is here prefixed, because His appeal
was to that perfection of the Father's nature, to "keep" or preserve
them from being tainted by the unholy atmosphere of "the world" they
were still in.
keep through thine own name--rather, "in thy name"; in the exercise
of that gracious and holy character for which He was known.
that they may be one--(See on
12. I kept--guarded.
them in thy name--acting as Thy Representative on earth.
none of them is lost, but the son of perdition--It is not implied
here that the son of perdition was one of those whom the Father had
given to the Son, but rather the contrary
WILKINSON]. It is just as in
Lu 4:26, 27,
where we are not to suppose that the woman of Sarepta (in Sidon)
was one of the widows of Israel, nor Naaman the Syrian
one of the lepers in Israel, though the language--the same as
here--might seem to express it.
son of perdition--doomed to it
13. I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in
themselves--that is, Such a strain befits rather the upper sanctuary
than the scene of conflict; but I speak so "in the world," that My
joy, the joy I experience in knowing that such intercessions are to be
made for them by their absent Lord, may be tasted by those who now hear
them, and by all who shall hereafter read the record of them,
15-19. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world--for
that, though it would secure their own safety, would leave the world
unblessed by their testimony.
but . . . keep them from the evil--all evil in and of
16. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world--(See
Joh 15:18, 19).
This is reiterated here, to pave the way for the prayer which
17. Sanctify them--As the former prayer, "Keep them," was
"negative," asking protection for them from the poisonous element
which surrounded and pressed upon their renewed nature, so this prayer,
"Sanctify them," is positive, asking the
advancement and completion of their begun sanctification.
thy truth--God's revealed truth, as the medium or element of
sanctification; a statement this of immense importance.
thy word is truth--(Compare
18. As thou hast sent--sentest.
me into the world, even so have I also sent them--sent I also them.
into the world--As their mission was to carry into effect the purposes
of their Master's mission, so our Lord speaks of the authority in both
cases as co-ordinate.
19. And for their sakes I sanctify--consecrate.
myself that they also might--may.
be sanctified--consecrated. The only difference between the application
of the same term to Christ and the disciples is, as applied to Christ,
that it means only to "consecrate"; whereas, in application to the
disciples, it means to consecrate with the additional idea of
previous sanctification, since nothing but what is holy can be presented
as an offering. The whole self-sacrificing work of the disciples appears
here as a mere result of the offering of Christ [OLSHAUSEN].
the truth--Though the article is wanting in the original here, we
are not to translate, as in the Margin, "truly sanctified"; for
the reference seems plainly to be "the truth" mentioned in
20-23. Neither pray I for these alone--This very important explanation,
uttered in condescension to the hearers and readers of this prayer in
all time, is meant not merely of what follows, but of the whole prayer.
them also which shall believe--The majority of the best manuscripts
read "which believe," all future time being viewed as present, while
the present is viewed as past and gone.
21. that they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in
thee, that they may be one in us--The indwelling Spirit of the Father and the Son is the one perfect
bond of union, knitting up into a living unity, first all believers
amongst themselves; next, this unity into one still higher, with the
Father and the Son. (Observe, that Christ never mixes Himself up with His
disciples as He associates Himself with the Father, but says I in
that the world may believe that thou hast sent me--sentest me. So
the grand impression upon the world at large, that the mission of Christ
is divine, is to be made by the unity of His disciples. Of course,
then, it must be something that shall be visible or perceptible to
the world. What is it, then? Not certainly a merely formal, mechanical
unity of ecclesiastical machinery. For as that may, and to a large
extent does, exist in both the Western and Eastern churches, with little
of the Spirit of Christ, yea much, much with which the Spirit of Christ
cannot dwell so instead of convincing the world beyond its own pale
of the divinity of the Gospel, it generates infidelity to a large extent
within its own bosom. But the Spirit of Christ, illuminating,
transforming, and reigning in the hearts of the genuine disciples of
Christ, drawing them to each other as members of one family, and
prompting them to loving co-operation for the good of the world--this is
what, when sufficiently glowing and extended, shall force conviction
upon the world that Christianity is divine. Doubtless, the more that
differences among Christians disappear--the more they can agree even in
minor matters--the impression upon the world may be expected to be
greater. But it is not dependent upon this; for living and loving
oneness in Christ is sometimes more touchingly seen even amidst and in
spite of minor differences, than where no such differences exist to try
the strength of their deeper unity. Yet till this living brotherhood in
Christ shall show itself strong enough to destroy the sectarianism,
selfishness, carnality, and apathy that eat out the heart of
Christianity in all the visible sections of it, in vain shall we expect
the world to be overawed by it. It is when "the Spirit shall be poured
upon us from on high," as a Spirit of truth and love, and upon all parts
of the Christian territory alike, melting down differences and heart
burnings, kindling astonishment and shame at past unfruitfulness,
drawing forth longings of catholic affection, and yearnings over a world
lying in wickedness, embodying themselves in palpable forms and active
measures--it is then that we may expect the effect here announced to be
produced, and then it will be irresistible. Should not Christians ponder
these things? Should not the same mind be in them which was also in Christ
Jesus about this matter? Should not His prayer be theirs?
22. And the glory which thou gavest--hast given.
me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one--The
last clause shows the meaning of the first. It is not the future glory
of the heavenly state, but the secret of that present unity
just before spoken of; the glory, therefore,
of the indwelling Spirit of Christ; the glory of an accepted state,
of a holy character, of every grace.
23. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in
24-26. Father, I will--The majesty of this style of speaking is
quite transparent. No petty criticism will be allowed to fritter it
away in any but superficial or perverted readers.
be with me where I am--(See on
that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me--(See on
Christ regards it as glory enough for us to be admitted to see and gaze
for ever upon His glory! This is "the beatific vision"; but it
shall be no mere vision, for "we shall be like Him, because we shall
see Him as He is"
25. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee--knew thee not.
but I have known thee--knew thee.
and these have known--knew.
that thou hast sent--sentest
me--As before He said "Holy Father," when desiring the display
of that perfection on His disciples
so here He styles Him "Righteous Father," because He is
appealing to His righteousness or justice, to make a distinction
between those two diametrically opposite classes--"the world,"
on the one hand, which would not "know the Father, though brought so
nigh to it in the Son of His love, and, on the other, Himself,
who recognized and owned Him, and even His disciples, who owned
His mission from the Father.
26. And I have declared--I made known or communicated.
thy name--in His past ministry.
and will declare it--in yet larger measure, by the gift of the Holy
Ghost at Pentecost and through all succeeding ages.
that the love wherewith thou hast loved--lovedst.
me may be in them, and I in them--This eternal love of the Father,
resting first on Christ, is by His Spirit imparted to and takes up its
permanent abode in all that believe in Him; and "He abiding in them and
they in Him"
they are "one Spirit." "With this lofty thought the Redeemer
closes His prayer for His disciples, and in them for His Church through
all ages. He has compressed into the last moments given Him for
conversation with His own the most sublime and glorious sentiments ever
uttered by mortal lips. But hardly has the sound of the last word died
away, when He passes with the disciples over the brook Kedron to
Gethsemane--and the bitter conflict draws on. The seed of the new world
must be sown in Death, that thence Life may spring up" [OLSHAUSEN].