The Fourfold Gospel
17:1 These things spake Jesus; and lifting up his eyes to heaven1, he said, Father, the hour is come2; glorify thy Son, that the son may glorify thee3:
THE LORD'S PRAYER.
(Jerusalem. Thursday night.)
- And lifting up his eyes to heaven. The action marked the turning of his thoughts from the disciples to the Father.
- Father, the hour is come. See John 2:4 and see John 7:6.
- Glorify thy Son, that the son may glorify thee. The Son here prays for his glorification, viz.: resurrection, ascension, coronation, etc.,
that through these he may be perfected as a Savior and be enabled to
give that eternal life unto millions, the bestowal of which will
redound unto the glory of the Father. Moreover, the glorification of
Christ revealed his divine nature, and the Father was glorified by its
thus becoming apparent that he had bestowed upon the world so priceless
17:2 even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life1.
- Even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life. The gift of authority
was bestowed after the resurrection (Matthew 28:18). All humanity was
given into his hands that he might give life to that part of it which
yielded itself to him in true discipleship.
17:3 And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, [even] Jesus Christ1.
- And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, [even] Jesus Christ. God is
revealed in Jesus Christ: Jesus had just prayed for his glorification
that the Father may be fully revealed him him. The revelation of God is
the first step toward the attainment of eternal life. The inner
reception of that revelation by a daily conformity to it is the second
step. As we actually live God's life we come to know him; but we cannot
attempt to live his life without a revelation.
17:4 I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do1.
- I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do. As the hour for finishing his work had
arrived, Jesus speaks of it as already finished.
17:5 And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was1.
- And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. As he had finished that
for which he had emptied himself of his glory and entered the world, he
asks that now, on his departure from the world, he may be reinstated
and permitted to assume again that which he had laid aside. Paul's
words are commentary on these two verses (Philippians 2:5-11). Thus Jesus
ends the first division of his prayer which is a petition for himself,
for the glory of the Father, and the good of the world. The second
division which follows is a fourfold plea for the disciples which he
then had, followed by petitions in their behalf.
17:6 I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them to me1; and they have kept thy word.
- Thine they were, and thou gavest them to me. As a first plea or reason why the Father should bless the disciples of the Son, the Son
urges that they are his property by gift of the Father. The Father is
possessor of all humanity as the Creator; the Son by gift from the
Father possesses the believing portion of humanity as its redeemer.
17:8 for the words which thou gavest me I have given unto them; and they received [them]1, and knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me2.
- For the words which thou gavest me I have given unto them; and they received [them]. As a second reason for blessing the disciples, Jesus
pleads their reception and retention of the truth which the Father had
sent him to reveal, and the resulting knowledge and faith.
- And knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me. The truth revealed by Jesus was so palpably
divine that the disciples could know that its bearer came from heaven.
But whether that bearer came of his own volition or as a commissioned
messenger of the Father they could not know. But where knowledge was
impossible, they trusted to Jesus and believed.
17:10 and all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine: and I am glorified in them1.
- And all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine: and I am glorified in them. As a third plea he urges the joint possession which
the Father held with him in the disciples, and the further fact that
the Son was glorified in the disciples.
17:11 And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee1. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we [are]2.
- And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. As a last plea he urges the necessity of the Father's
care over the disciples since the Son will be no longer in the world.
- Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we [are]. Our Lord's first petition grows out
of his last plea. His departure would tend to scatter the disciples;
they had been united by faith in the name of Christ, that is, by the
divine power given of God and revealed in Christ (Exodus 23:21; Isaiah 9:6
their unity may be as perfect as that subsisting between the Father and
17:12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished1, but the son of perdition2; that the scripture might be fulfilled3.
- While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished. Jesus
emphasizes the fervency of his petition by urging his own conduct as to
that which he asks. He asks the Father to care for those for whom he
had himself been so painstakingly careful that not one had been lost,
save him whom it was impossible to save, and whose loss the Scripture
had predicted--a loss in no way chargeable against the loving fidelity
of the Good Shepherd.
- But the son of perdition. Literally, the son of perishing.
- That the scripture might be fulfilled. See Psalms 41:9.
17:13 But now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves1.
- That they may have my joy made full in themselves. Being about ready to depart from the world, Jesus had taught and prayed for his disciples
that they might be brought into a oneness with the Father similar to
that which he himself enjoyed, and the consequent joy which filled his
own life might in some measure fill theirs also.
17:14 I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world1, even as I am not of the world2.
- I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world. An additional reason for the Father's care is
here presented. The reception of the Father's word had brought upon
them the hatred of the world, thereby increasing their need of a
heavenly blessing, as a counter-balance to the curse of the world.
- Even as I am not of the world. Jesus as advocate gives potency to his petitions as to the sufferings of his disciples by suggesting that
he has himself shared them (Hebrews 2:10-18).
17:15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [one]1.
- I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [one]. The care which he asks
in protection in, and not removal from, the world. It is best both for
the Christian and for the world that he should remain in it. The world
is blessed by the Christian's presence (Matthew 4:14-16), and abiding
in the world affords the Christian an opportunity of conquest and
reward (Romans 8:37; Revelation 2:26; Revelation 3:21).
17:17 Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth1.
- Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth. To sanctify means to set apart to a holy use. As Jesus himself had been set apart as God's
messenger to the world, so he had set apart the apostles as his
messengers to it. This setting apart was not a formal, empty act, but
was accomplished by God's imparting or developing a fitness in the one
sanctified to perform the duties for which he was set apart. Fitness in
this case would be imparted by imbuing the apostles with the Spirit of
17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth1.
- And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. Jesus had set himself apart (Hebrews 9:14),
that the apostles might follow his example (2 Corinthians 5:14-17), and also
the church, (Romans 12:1,2; Philippians 2:5) that thereby the world might be
Our Lord's prayer as to the apostles (John 17:1-19) is, therefore, a
threefold petition, viz.: that they may be kept in unity, kept from the
world and the devil, and that they may be set apart and equipped for
the gospel service.
17:20 Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word1;
- Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word. We come now to the third division of the prayer
wherein he asks for blessings upon future believers.
17:21 that they may all be one1; even as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us2: that the world may believe that thou didst send me3.
- That they may all be one. Here again the first petition is for unity, and again the unity subsisting between the Father and the Son is
designated as the kind desired.
- Even as thou, Father, [art] in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us. The future disciples may understand the nature of this unity,
Jesus sets it forth in an amplified statement, which reveals the fact
that he does not ask for a unity similar to that subsisting between the
Father and the Son, but for that very unity itself enlarged and
extended so as to become a triple instead of a dual unity by the
comprehension of the disciples within its compass.
- That the world may believe that thou didst send me. As a reason why the Father should bring about this unity (and a reason also why all
Christians should work for it), our Lord states that its attainment
will result in the conversion of the world to the Christian faith.
17:22 And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them1; that they may be one, even as we [are] one2;
- And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them. Jesus here states that to bring about the unity which he here prays for
he has bestowed upon the disciples the glory which the Father had
bestowed upon him. The glory mentioned was that of being the Son of
God (Matthew 3:17; John 1:14; Hebrews 1:5; Hebrews 3:6), which glory Jesus imparts to his
followers (John 1:12; 1 John 3:1).
- That they may be one, even as we [are] one. In other words, he made us his brethren that we might be united in one great household
(Romans 8:29; Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 2:19; 1 John 3:9,10; 1 John 4:8,16). A true comprehension of
the Fatherhood of God and our brotherhood in Christ.
17:23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me2, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me3.
- And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them. He here states that the perfect unity of the church and the putting forth
of its power in harmonious effort to convert the world will be
equivalent to a demonstration of the truth of his divine mission.
- That the world may know that thou didst send me. John 17:22 asserts that the initial stages of unity will produce faith in the
world, and this verse adds that the perfection of that unity will lead
the world beyond faith into the realm of actual knowledge as to the
divine mission of Christ.
- And lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me. The context suggests that this unity will result in gracious manifestations of the Father's
love. Possibly these manifestations may be of such a nature as to aid
in bringing about the state of knowledge mentioned.
17:24 Father, I desire that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory1, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
- That they may behold my glory. While Jesus prays that his disciples may enter the heavenly state, that state is not expressed as the end
desired. He wishes them to be in that state that they may behold his
glory. The glory of Christ is his Sonship, and the love which
accompanies that relationship. To behold this is the height of
spiritual exultation. To know God is life eternal, and to behold God is
joy ineffable. God is truly beheld subjectively. We must be like him to
see him as he is (1 John 3:2). The second petition of Jesus,
therefore, in no way savors of a vainglorious desire that his disciples
may behold him to lead them to admire him, but a wish that they may
participate in the heavenly state, and know the Sonship of Jesus and
all its attendant blessedness by, in some measure, participating in it.
17:25 O righteous Father, the world knew thee not, but I knew thee; and these knew that thou didst send me;
- And these knew that thou didst sent me. In the closing sentences Jesus blends his present and his future disciples.
17:26 and I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known1; that the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them2.
- And I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known. The knowledge which he had of the Father had been imparted to the
disciples, and they had received it, and had thereby been in some
measure fitted for the revelation of the glory for which he had just
prayed. The world, on the contrary, had rejected Christ's revelation,
and had refused to know God, and had thus become unworthy of the
privilege here asked for the disciples.
- That the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them. Jesus had revealed the Father while on earth that men might
attain to the revelation of God in the hereafter, thus participating in
the love which the Father has for the Son because the Son is
spiritually in them.
It is a significant fact that the two of the five petitions of this
prayer are for Christian unity. It may be said generally of all the
petitions that they ask the Father to complete that which the Son has
already begin and completed to the limit of his present circumscribed