John 17


       The High-Priestly Intercession of Jesus

in Audible Communion with the Father (vs. 1-26)


The prayer which now follows reveals, in the loftiest and sublimest form, the Divine

humanity of the Son of man, and the fact that, in the consciousness of Jesus as the

veritable Christ of God, there was actually blended the union of the Divine and

human, and a perfect exercise of the prerogatives of both.  We are brought by it

to the mercy-seat, into the heaven of heavens, to the very heart of God;

and we find there a presentation of the most mysterious and incomprehensible

love to the human race, embodied in the Person, enshrined in the words, of the

 only begotten Son of God. It need not perplex those who believe that this prayer

of sublime victory and glorious promise should be followed by the agony and the

bloody sweat of Gethsemane, where the glorification of the Son of man

passed into the advanced stage of His willing and perfect surrender to the

Supreme will.  Throughout these discourses Christ is meditating His

departure with all its accompanying grief and agony. He describes the way

He is about to take as one which would be like the travail-pang of a new

humanity; but in His capacity of living in the light of the Father’s will, He

treats the whole mystery of the cross, the grave, the resurrection, the

ascension, as already achieved. Throughout this prayer He regards the work

as finished, and the new order of things as already existent. Thus He had

prayed for Lazarus and for His restoration from the grave, and He knew

then that God heard Him; but still He wept, and, groaning within Himself,

came to the sepulcher. It should also be remembered that (ch.14:30)

He had expressly said that He was then about to encounter the prince of this

world. The perfect humanity of Jesus, on which John continually insists,

does entirely justify the rapid changes of mood and the vehemence of the

emotions which were in their conflict issuing in sublime courage and

perfect peace.


1 “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:”  Jesus spake these things; i.e. the discourse which precedes,

and then turned from His disciples to the Father. The place where the

prayer was offered is comparatively unimportant, yet it must have been

uttered somewhere. It has been well suggested that the Lord, with the

disciples, sought the comparative quiet of the Father’s house, and in some

of the courts of the temple, within sight of the golden gate with its mighty

vine, had enacted all that is recorded in John 15-17. This does not interfere

with the idea that the starry sky was visible to them, and that from some

portion of the temple-courts our Lord should have lifted his eyes to

heaven; for the heavens are the perpetual symbol of the majesty of God,

and show that side on which, by instinctive recognition of the fact, men

may and do look out upon the infinite and the eternal. And having  lifted

up His eyes to heaven — or, lifting (Revised Version) up His eyes to

heaven — he said, in a voice which the wondering, believing, and troubled

disciples might hear (see v. 13), and from which they were intended to

learn much of the relation between their Lord and the eternal Father. There

is a twofold division of the prayer: From vs. 1-5 He offers prayer for

Himself, but in special relation to His own power over and His own grace to

the children of men; from vs. 6-19 he contemplates the special interests

of His disciples, in their present forlorn condition, in their work, conflict,

and ultimate triumph; from vs. 19-26 He prays for the whole Church,


  • for its unity,
  • for its expansion,
  • its glory.

For Himself He has little to ask (vs. 1-5), but as soon as His word takes

the form of intercession for His own (vs. 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.  Father; not

“my Father,” nor “our Father,” the prayer given to His disciples, nor “my

God” as afterwards upon the cross; nor was it the customary address to

“God” of either Pharisee or publican; but it recalls the “Abba, Father” of

the garden, which passed thence into the experience of the Church

(Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). The hour which has so often

presented itself as inevitable, but which so often has receded, and which

even now delays its full realization (see chapters 2., 7., 12., 13.) as part of

a Divine plan concerning Him, the hour of the fiery baptism, of the solemn

departure, of the conflict with the prince of this world, and of complete

acceptance of the Father’s will, has come; glorify thy Son, that (thy)

the Son may (also) glorify thee. Lift thy Son into the glory which thou

hast prepared, that the Son whom thou hast sanctified and sent into the

world may glorify thee. It is very noticeable that He speaks of Himself in

the third person. This is justified by the fact that He here conspicuously rises

out of Himself into the consciousness of God, and loses Himself in the

Father. The glorification of the Son is first of all by death issuing in life. He

was crowned with glory in order that He might taste death for every man.

The conflict, the victorious combat with death, was the beginning of His

glory. In taking upon Himself all the burden of human sorrow, and

exhausting the poison of the sting of death, He would “glorify God” (compare

ch.. 21:19). This does not exhaust the meaning, but the further forms

and elements of His glory are referred to afterwards.



The Father Glorified through the Son (v. 1)


Here are words of Jesus in this prayer which we are, as it were, doubly

bound to consider. For this prayer went up in the midst of the disciples. We

can hardly even say that it was overheard by them; that would imply that

they were not intended to hear it. The Father heard the prayer, and the

disciples heard it too. And in the hearing there came upon them great

responsibilities, great opportunities, great inspirations. The same things

also come upon us.


  • THE INVOCATION. This invoking word, “Father,” must not be

forgotten in one single sentence of the whole prayer. The prayer is but one

revealed breathing of an unbroken communion. “Father” was no new or

occasional word on the lips of Jesus. The thought of it directed and

circumscribed every petition. The prayer is the prayer of One who was in

the closest relation with Him to whom He prayed. The harmony was the

harmony of a union which, the more we think of it, deepens into

mysterious unity.


  • THE OCCASION. The hour has come. What Jesus meant by that hour

we soon discern when the prayer is closed. Streams that had long been

flowing towards each other were about to meet at last. The time and the

events of the time were going to correspond. With God there is no “too

soon” or “too late.” The time came for Jesus to be delivered up into the

hands of men, and He made no resistance, achieved no miraculous escape.

The hour was come to reveal the essential weakness of human power; and

Jesus was ready to give the opportunity of illustrating it. All that men did

and all that Jesus suffered could not have happened otherwise. All that was

done by all who were concerned in the death of Jesus was done according

to their natural inclinations. We ought not to be astonished at a single

dreadful feature in the whole transaction. Men did what they might be

expected to do; and now the heavenly Father is looked to for what He

may be expected to do.


  • THE SUPPLICATION. That the Father would glorify the Son. The

Father had, indeed, been doing nothing else from the beginning, but this

paternal glorification had now to be made peculiarly manifest. The disciples

had got into the way of not looking beyond or above Jesus. It seemed as if

He did the things rather than the Father through Him. He said that He could

only do what the Father gave Him to do; but this could only be clearly seen

when through a set of entirely different experiences. The workings of that

Being whom Jesus calls Father should appear. Jesus, who heretofore had

been strenuously active, was now to be almost entirely passive. The Father

was now going to glorify Him through the manifestation of the meekest,

lowliest, most patient Spirit. Then beyond the death there lay THE

RESURRECTION!  He who believes that Jesus really rose from the dead

can see in that, above all things, the glorifying stamp of the heavenly Father.


  • THE MOTIVE. A glorified Son means a glorified Father. The praise

of Him who was sent is inseparable from the praise of Him who sent Him.

The risen Jesus becomes the instrument of proclaiming far and wide that

God who is a Father. A Father with none of the limitations of human

fathers; a Father who, to those who contemplate His doings, opens up new

possibilities and joys in human fatherhood. Further, there is an example.

We, in our measure, should pray that our heavenly Father may glorify us,

for so we shall glorify Him. We who have come short of the glory of God

shall yet fully illustrate that glory in every particular.


2 “As thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give

eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him.” Even as thou gavest Him

authority — an indefeasible claim of influence and intimate organic relations

with humanity — over all flesh.  [This phrase answers to (col bosor) the Old

Testament term for the whole of humanity, the entire race, and is one adopted

by New Testament writers (Matthew 24:22; Luke 3:6; I Corinthians 1:29;

Galatians 2:16).] This authority was implied in His incarnation and sacrifice,

and in the recapitulation of all things in Him. Paul says, “Because He tasted

death for every man (Hebrews 2:9), God has highly exalted Him, and given

Him the Name that is above every name” (Philippians 2:9). These opening

words reveal the universality and WORLD-WIDE ASPECTS OF THE


He holds the keys of the kingdom and city of God. The government is upon

His shoulder. Through Him all the nations on earth are to be blessed. But the

dependence of “all flesh” upon a Divine gift of eternal life through Him is no

less conspicuous; hence the hopelessness of human nature as it is and

APART FROM GRACE!   The end of this glorification of

the Son in the Father is that, in the exercise of this authority, He may give

eternal life to all whom thou hast given Him. The construction is

unusual, and literally rendered would be, that with reference to the whole

of that which thou hast given Him, to them He should give eternal life. The

clause, pa~n o[ de>dwkav – pan ho dedokaseverything which you have

given  - may be a nominative or accusative absolute, which, by the defining

aujtoi~v autoisto them - , is subsequently resolved into individual

elements. The redeemed humanity of all time has been given to the

incarnate Son, and is undoubtedly different from the (pa>sa sa>rx

pasaes sarkos) “all flesh” of the previous clause, but it is further explained

to mean the individual men and women who receive from Him eternal life.

The bestowment of eternal life on those thus given to Him is the method in

which He will glorify the Father (see notes on ch. 6:37, where the

Father is said to draw men to Himself by means of the unveiling of His own

true character in the Son, and where this drawing is seen to be another way

of describing the Father’s gift to the Son). Those who are given to Christ

are those who are drawn by the Father’s grace to see His perfect self-revelation

in the face of Jesus Christ, of whom Jesus says, “I will by no means cast them out”

(Ibid.), and concerning whom He avers, “No one cometh unto the Father but by

me” (ch.14:6). Zw>h aijw>niov Zoae aionios -life eternal -  is frequently

described as His gift. From the first the evangelist has regarded xw>h zoae

life as the inherent and inalienable prerogative of the “Logos,” and the source

of all the “light” which has lighted men. This  “life,” which is “light,” came

into the world in His birth, and became the head of a new humanity. It is clearly

more than, and profoundly different from, the principle of unending existence.

Life is more than perpetuity of being, and eternity is not endlessness, nor is

“eternal life” a mere prolongation of duration; it refers rather to state and

quality than to one condition of that state; it is the negation of time rather

than indefinite or infinite prolongation of time. That which Christ gives to

those who believe in Him, receive Him, is the life of God Himself. It is M

strongly urged by many that this eternal life is a present realizable

possession, that He that hath the Son hath life, and that we are to

disregard the future in the conscious enjoyment of this blessedness; but we

must not forget that our Lord obviously refers the life eternal to the future in

Matthew 19:29;  Mark 10:30; Luke 18:30; Matthew 25:46. Nor are these

statements, as some have said, incompatible with the representations of this

Gospel (see ch.6:40, 54; 11:25; 12:25). The aionian blessedness may

have a partial realization here and now, but not till our vision is less

clouded and our perils are less severe shall we fully apprehend it. Nor is

this inconsistent with v. 3.


3 “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true

God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” The life eternal, of which

Jesus has just spoken, is this (compare for construction, ch.15:12; I John 3:11, 23;

5:3), that  they might know — should come to know — thee, the only veritable

God. All ideas of God which deviate from or fall short of “the Father” revealed

to us by Christ, are not the veritable God, and the knowledge of them is not life

eternal. The Father is here set forth as the fens Deitatisfount of Deity. This does

not exclude “the Son,” but is inconceivable without Him. The Fatherhood

expresses an eternal relation. The one element involves the other as integral

to itself: “I am in the Father, and the Father in me.” There is a knowledge

of the Father possible even now. “Henceforth, he has said, ye have seen

him, and known him;” yet not till the veil is lifted, and we see face to face,

shall we know as we are known (I Corinthians 13:12; I John 3:2),

shall we see Him as He is. And Him whom thou didst send, Jesus the

Christ (not Jesus to be, or as Christ, but rather “Jesus the Christ,” as the

expansion and explanation of the more indefinite term, “Him whom thou

didst send”). Why does our Lord add to this expression one that at first

sight seems so incompatible with the idea of this prayer? It has led so

careful and reverential a commentator as Westcott to remove the difficulty

by supposing that the whole verse is a gloss of the evangelist, expressing

the sense of what our Lord may have uttered at greater length. We are

loath to admit this method of exegesis, especially as the sole reasons for it

are the supposed strangeness of our Lord’s here using a phrase so

unaccustomed, and thus giving Himself not only His Personal Name, but His

own official title. It is unusual. The phrase does undoubtedly belong to a

later period for its current and constant use. Yet it must not be forgotten:


·         that this is a unique moment in His career, and unique expressions may

be anticipated;

·         that it was calculated to strengthen His disciples, to allow them to hear

once from His own lips the solemn claim to Messiahship;

·         that John himself at once adopted it as his own (Acts 3:6, 20; I John 1:3;

2:1, 22; 3:23; 4:2-3; 5:1, 20; Revelation 1:1, 2, 5); moreover,

·         in I John 5:20 Jesus Christ is, Himself lifted up into the region of the

ajlhqi>non alaethinon -  true one - and the apostle adds, “This is the

true God, and eternal life.”  It is from these very words that some critics

imagine that the evangelist, rather than the Lord himself, framed the clause;

·         yet it is quite as rational to suppose that the words uttered by Jesus

dwelt like a strain of sacred music in the memory of the apostle. Moreover,

·         the knowledge of the only true God is really conditioned by the

knowledge of Him who was indeed the great Revelation, Organ, and

Effluence of the Father’s glory (Hebrews 1:3).  The fullness of this

knowledge is the end of all Christian striving. Paul said, “I count all

things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus...

and that I may know Him” (Philippians 3:8-10). How much is there

yet to know!

·         Finally, as our Lord is rising more and more into the glory of an utter

self-abandonment, and into the glory which He had with the Father from

eternity, the human nature which He still inhabits becomes almost an

appendage of His Divine Personality, and He might with awful significance,

when referring to the object of human faith and knowledge, say, “Him

whom thou hast sent — Jesus the Christ.” Moreover, on any hypothesis of

the composition or framing of an intercessory prayer for the Logos

Christos to utter, there is an equal difficulty in the insertion into such

prayer by John of this reference to Himself as the Christ. The knowledge

of the Father as the only true God, in opposition to the heathen traditions

and philosophical speculations of the world, coupled with a corresponding

knowledge of the only adequate expression of the Father’s heart and

nature, sent forth from Him, as One promised, consecrated, and

empowered to represent Him, is life — eternal life.



Knowledge and Life: A Sermon for the Young (v. 3)


We cannot doubt that God knows us. We cannot conceive of Him

otherwise than as knowing all things. “He telleth the number of the stars;

He calleth them all by their names”  (Psalm 147:4) and at the same time He

reads the secrets of every heart. The psalmist took a just view of His God when

he exclaimed, “Thou art acquainted with all my ways: for there is not a word

in my tongue, but lo Lord, thou knowest it altogether”  (Ibid. 139:3-4).  But whilst

God knows us perfectly, we can only know Him imperfectly. Yet it is both a

wonderful and a happy thing that we can know Him at all.


·         THERE IS MUCH WE CANNOT KNOW OF GOD. If we are often

baffled in studying the works of His hands, we cannot be surprised that the

Divine artificer is too high for us to comprehend Him. If we are perplexed

in our endeavors to understand the soul of man, how can we expect to

fathom the mysteries of the Divine nature? It is said that King Hiero asked

the philosopher Simonides, “Who is God?” The wise man asked for a day

to reflect and to prepare an answer. Finding this insufficient, he asked a

week, and then a year. But time and meditation brought no light which

could satisfy him, and the query remained unanswered. God in the spiritual

realm is like His universe in the material realm; of which the great Pascal

said, “It is a circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is

nowhere.” It is said that the Emperor Trajan, addressing a Jewish rabbi,

Joshua by name, said, “Show me your God.” The sage answered, “Come

out of the house, and see one of His ambassadors.” Leading him into the

daylight, the rabbi bade the emperor look upon the sun, then shining in his

strength. “What! cannot you look in the face of the ambassador? are you

blinded by his dazzling presence? How can you look upon the countenance

of the King?” “No man hath seen God at any time” (ch. 1;18).  Who can by

searching find out God?  (Job 11:7)  We see glimpses, we hear whisperings,

of His power and wisdom; but there is an infinity which comes not within

our ken. A child follows the course of the brook which flows through his

father’s fields; he reaches the point where it joins the river in the valley;

but he dreams not of the sea into which that river empties itself.



we cannot understand the Divine nature, if there are some of His attributes,

as, for example, His omnipresence, which utterly baffle our intellect, still

there is much that is within our apprehension. We can know that the Lord

our God is one God, that he is wise, that he is just and faithful, that he is

compassionate and merciful. Now, what does it matter to a child that he

cannot understand his father’s occupations, that he is not able to

appreciate his father’s abilities, so long as he is sure that his father will give

him good advice, so long as he is sure that his father will provide for his

wants, bodily and mental? Suppose the father to be a statesman; the child

cannot enter into the reasons of national polity. Suppose the father to be a

lawyer; the child cannot form any opinion of his father’s conduct of a case

in court. But the child can know that his father will receive with kindness

any application which may be made to him for guidance, for help, for the

means of acquiring knowledge or rational enjoyment. The child can know

that the father’s house will not be shut against him, that he is ever welcome

to the father’s table, that the father’s time is always at his service. In like

manner we are quite capable of knowing what is God’s will, of

understanding the propriety of obedience to that will, of valuing the

opportunities we have of learning and obeying our heavenly Father.



KNOWLEDGE OF HIMSELF. We cannot see Him directly, but we can

see Him, so to speak, by reflection. He has given us two mirrors in which

the spiritual lineaments of His Divine character become visible to us.


Ø      There is the mirror of nature. It is allowed us “to look through nature

up to nature’s God.”


“There’s nothing bright above, below,

From flowers that bloom to stars that glow,

But in its light my soul can see

Some feature of the Deity.”


It is said that on one occasion Napoleon Bonaparte was on the deck

of a ship on a calm summer night, when his officers around him were

magnifying nature, and disputing the existence of God. The great

commander listened, and then pointed to the hosts of heaven, saying,

“All very well, gentlemen, but who created these?”


Ø      There is the mirror of our own spiritual nature. The psalmist looked

into this mirror, and saw therein the reflection of the Lord, the Ruler,

the Judge, of all. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so

 panteth my soul after thee, O God.”  (Psalm 42:1)



REVELATION OF HIMSELF. Nature and conscience are mirrors; Christ

is the very shining forth of the Divine glory  (Hebrews 1:1-3).  We must not

make an image of God  (Exodus 20:4); but God has given us A PERFECT

IMAGE OF HIMSELF, of His moral attributes. When we have once seen

God in His dear Son, we recognize HIS PRESENCE EVERYWHERE

AND IN ALL THINGS!  As the sun illumines a hundred

snow-clad peaks, and every summit glows and glitters forth His splendor,

so when God appears in Christ, His attributes are seen in all His works and

all His ways. Especially do we through Jesus come to THE KNOWLEDGE




LIFE. Of our Lord Jesus an apostle affirms, “This is the true God, and the

Eternal Life” (I John 5:20).  Now, an ignorant, uninformed, uninstructed

soul is a dead soul. It is knowledge that enkindles mental life, that calls

forth the intellectual powers. And it is the highest knowledge which is

the Divine means of awakening the highest life. This life is called eternal,

because it is not like earthly life which perishes, but because it is of a

higher kind — because it is the life of God Himself, spiritual and Divine.

A boy taken from an inferior position, with few opportunities of

 improvement and no profitable companions, may be brought into a

position where advantages are many, opportunities precious, associates

inspiring. He may come to say, “This is life indeed! So Saul became Paul —

when he had seen and KNOWN CHRIST!


4 “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which

thou gavest me to do.”  He continues the prayer which He is offering for Himself:

I glorified thee on the earth, having finished the work which thou hast

given me to do. Many expositors urge a proleptical or anticipatory

assertion of the completion of His earthly work, as though the Passion were

already over, and He were now uttering the consummatum est of the cross.

This is, however, included in the next clause. The night has come when the

earthly ministry is at an end. The Jesus Christ, whom the Father has sent,

has completed His task. The whole work of the earthly manifestation of the

Word was at an end. Suffering remains, the issues of the conflict with evil

have to be encountered; but the die is cast — the thing is done. The godly

life, as well as the atoning death, are correlative parts of the merits and

work of Christ, and have glorified the Father. But what a self-consciousness

beams forth in these simple words! Paul, on the verge of his martyrdom,

in the midst of the horrors of the Neronian persecution, exclaimed,

I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course.” But our

Lord is unconscious of any coming short of the glory of God; and He even

counts on higher power to glorify God by returning to a position which He

had for a while vacated.


5 “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the

glory which I had with thee before the world was.” And now (nu~n – nun) —

the very point of time has come — glorify thou me, O Father, explaining the

opening of the prayer, “Glorify thy Son.” He identifies His own Personality —

“me” —with that of “the Son,” and “thy Son.” With thy own self (para< seautw~|

para seauto – beside yourself); in closest connection  and fellowship with thyself —

a relation which has been arrested or suspended since I have been “Jesus Christ,”

and glorifying thee amid the toil and sorrow of this earthly pilgrimage. This

immediate glorification of the Son embraces the glory of vicarious death, the

triumphant resurrection, the mystery of ascension in the strength of His human

memories to the right hand of God (ch.13:31-32). He still further defines this

wondrous prospect, as with the glory which I had with thee before the world was

— before the being of the ko>smov para< seautw~|para< soi kosmos para

seauto….para soi  - with thee before …the world was.  Para< (beside; with) in

John represents local relationships (see ch.1:40; 4:40; 14:25; Revelation 2:13)

or intimate spiritual associations (ch.14:23). So our Lord remembers and

anticipates a “glory with the Father,” that which He refers to as before the

existence of the world!   John, who wrote the prologue (ch.1:2, 18) meant that,

as the Logos had been pro<v to<n Qe>on - pros ton Theon  - with the God –

and eijv to<n ko>lpon tou~ Patro>v ,eis ton kolpon tou Patrosin the

bosom of the Father -  and at a special epoch “became flesh,” the beamings

forth of His glory on earth were those which belonged to human life, to the

form of a servant, and were profoundly different from that morfh< Qeou~ 

morphae Theou  -  form of God – (Philippians 2:6) in which His innermost

self-consciousness  the center of His Personality, originally dwelt. And now

He seeks to carry this new appanage of His Sonship, this God-glorifying

humanity, up into the glory of the pre-existent majesty ( compare Philippians 2:9;

I Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 1:8, 13). The do>xa doxaglory - which was visible

to the disciples on earth (ch.1:14) was glory limited, colored, conditioned, by

human life and death; but so complete was the Lord’s union with the Logos, that

 it did not quench His memory of the glory of His omnipresent, eternal Being,

nor His remembrance of absolute coexistence with the Father before all worlds.

He would lift humanity to the very throne of God by its union with His

Person. This stupendous claim both as to the past and future would be

utterly bewildering if it stood alone; but the Old Testament has prepared

the mind of the disciples for this great mystery (Proverbs 8.; Isaiah 6.). The

theophanies generally, and ch. 8:25 and Hebrews 1., with numerous

other passages, sustain and corroborate the conception that the Logos of

God WAS throughout all human history ON THE VERGE of manifestation

in the flesh. (It has been 45 years but I still remember a series of sermons by

Bro. Marion Duncan at Second Baptist Church on The Pre-Manifestations

of the Incarnation of Christ which dealt with this very thought – CY – 2013)

The record of the extraordinary God-consciousness of Jesus does

transcend all human experience, and baffles us at every turn; but the human

consciousness of Jesus appears gradually to have come into such

communion with the Logos who had become flesh in Him, that He thought

the veritable thoughts and felt the emotions of the eternal God as though

they were absolutely His own. In addition to this idea of His resumption of

His own eternal state, the answer to this prayer, consisting in such a

manifestation of the premundane glory in His flesh, that it should perfectly

establish the relation between the glory of the Father before all worlds, and


REDEMPTION OF THE WORLD!  The glory of omnipotence and

omnipresence is lost in the greater glory of INFINITE LOVE!   Thus the

glory which He had with the Father would be best seen in the completion of

His agony, the perfection of the cross.



Christ’s Intercessory Prayer (vs. 1-5)


The great High Priest appears on the eve of His final sacrifice of Himself for

His people. He prays, first, for restoration to His Divine glory.



His eyes to heaven, and said, Father.”


Ø      His attitude, as He looked upwards, bespoke His reverence for God,

whose throne is in heaven, His confidence in God, and His

expectation of help and comfort from on high.

Ø      His spirit is that of confidence and filial affection, if His prayer

was in Aramaean, He said, “Abba,” which henceforth passes

into the usage of the Church, as the term so sacred to



  • THE PURPORT OF THIS PRAYER. “The hour is come; glorify thy

Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.”


Ø      There was an hour appointed in the Divine counsels for His death

and Passion. It was the fitting time. The best remedy for such a

sad moment is prayer.

Ø      It was an hour that involved in its consequences the glorification

of the Son.

o       Not by His mere death,

o       nor by His resurrection,

o       but by the change in His personal condition, which would

enable Him in heaven to consummate the work He had

begun on earth.

Ø      Mark how the glorification of the Father and the Son are

inextricably linked together.

Ø      Mark the authority which Christ has received, as Mediator, over the

whole human race. “As thou hast given Him authority over all flesh,

that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given Him.”

o       Mark the universality of the gospel; for it applies, not to

Israel only, but to all people (Matthew 28:19).

o       The authority of the Son over the race of man is conferred

by the Father. It is not implied that the Son was not God,

because He received all from His Father, for the text speaks

of His authority as Mediator.

o       The design of this authority is that He might give eternal life

to His own people.

§         All believers are the Father’s gift to the Son,

as His charge and as His reward (Isaiah 53:10).

We may, therefore, infer that such a gift will

not be in vain.

§         Eternal life is Christ’s free gift to sinners.

ü      It is not temporary life, but life without

break or end.

ü      It is a life, as a Puritan says,

*   unbought,

*   unsought,

*   unthought

by sinners.


  • THE TRUE NATURE OF ETERNAL LIFE. “And this is life eternal,

that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom

thou hast sent.”


Ø      The life of grace begins with knowledge.

o       Ignorance is the great hindrance to life.

o       Christ, by His Spirit and Word, removes this hindrance,

enlightening our understanding.

Ø      The true objects of holy knowledge are God and Christ.

o       The only true God, in opposition to the error of polytheism.

o       It is the whole essence of the Godhead — Father, Son, and

Holy Ghost. This is the only true God.

o       Christ is to be known as the manifestation of the Godhead.

§         Without Him, we do not know God as reconciled,

and therefore cannot come to Him with boldness.

§         The dependence of eternal life in the knowledge of

the Son implies His coequal Godhead with the

Father and the Spirit. How could the knowledge

of a mere creature be equally necessary to salvation

with that of God Himself?

§         The mission of the Son was:

ü      from God and heaven;

ü      it was into this world;

ü      it was in our business and for our benefit.

ü      Therefore we ought to honor the Son as we

honor the Father.



have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest

 me to do.”


Ø      The Son glorified the Father by

o       His doctrines,

o       His miracles,

o       His obedience,

o       His sufferings till death.

Ø      The work of His life was now ended.

o       This implies that His work was finished before His death,

He refers to His obedience in life in our stead, which was

as necessary as His obedience unto death for our salvation.

o       Because it is a finished work, it is sinful and foolish for

man to add to it.



“And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory

which I had with thee before the world was.” These words imply:


Ø      That the Son had an essential glory with the Father before the

foundation of the world.

Ø      That He emptied Himself for a time of that which He received

again.  (Philippians 2:7.)

Ø      That the glory of His Divinity was fulfilled in His ascended


Ø      Mark the glorious advancement of our nature in


Ø      The true fulfillment of this prayer is set forth in the exaltation

described in Philippians 2:9-12.



Christ’s Prayer for His Disciples (vs. 6-19)


6 “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out

of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have

kept thy word.”  Here the Divine Intercessor turns from Himself, and from the

approaching glory of His own mediatorial Person and position, to meditate,

for the advantage of His disciples, on what had already been done:


·         for them,

·         in them, and

·         to them.


He clothes these meditations in the form of a direct address to the eternal God,

and makes the series of facts on which He dwells the groundwork of the prayer

which follows for His disciples, as representative of all who, like them, have come

into relations with the Father through Him. I manifested thy Name (ejfane>rwsa

ephanerosa – I manifest; I make appear – here corresponds to ejdo>xasa teleiw>sav

edoxasa teleiosas - - glorify …finishing - of v. 4. The force of fane>row phaneroo

manifest – is different from ajpoka>luptw apokalupto reveal - or ejmfa>nizw  -

emphanizo – shall be disclosing; manifesting -see on ch.14:21). “I poured light upon,

and thus made appreciable, apprehensible, thy Name.” This Name was but partially

and imperfectly understood before. The Name of God, the compendium of all His

excellences, the essential features of His substantial Being which Christ has thus

ILLUMINATED is “the Father.” “Whatsoever is made manifest is LIGHT”

(Ephesians 5:13).  This light is the effulgence of THE GLORY OF THE

FATHER. By being and living on earth as Son of the Father, the Father was

revealed. A full revelation of the Father involves and is involved

in a manifestation of His own Sonship. The relation between the Father and

the Son is one of infinite complacency and mutual affection, and the

revelation of it demonstrates the fact of the eternal and essential love of THE

DIVINE BEING!  Thus the fact that “God is love” is manifested in the life of

the Son of man, who was in Himself a revelation of the Son — the Son of

God. “I manifested thy Name,” said Jesus — showing that He regarded His

work of self-manifestation and God-revelation as virtually complete to

the men whom thou gavest  me (compare here ch. 6:44 and 10:29). The

Father’s “giving” of the sons of men to Christ refers primarily to the men

that were made susceptible of His special grace and revelations, who in

seeing, saw, in hearing, heard, who, being drawn by inward monitions and

Divine grace, and verily taught of God, came to Christ. Thus the Father

gave them to Christ. The first monitions, susceptibilities of soul for Christ,

which are found throughout the world and the Church, are God’s way of

giving men to Christ. The supremacy and monergy of grace is involved in

the whole of this representation. Out of the world. They were in the

world, but have been drawn out of it by the revelation of the Father.

Thine they were, and thou gavest  them me. So that the approach even

to the Lord Jesus, the drawing to Christ and to the blessed revelation of the

Father, was preceded by a previous condition — Thine they were.”

Before the process of giving and drawing was begun, there was a sense in

which they bore this great designation. Their position as creatures, or as

Israelites, or as believers in the Old Testament manifestation of the Name,

seems to fall short of the solemn assertion, Thine they were.” There were

in every case spiritual predispositions. They were “of God” (ch.8:47);

“doers of the truth” (ch.3:21); “willing to do the will of God” (ch.7:17);

they were of the truth (ch.18:37; 6:37, 44). All these expressions reveal an

extraordinary relation of human souls to the Father, which is presupposed,

and precedes the power over them and advantage to them of the grace of

Christ. This may throw light on the work of grace in pre-Christian and

 non-Christian times and places. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me,

and they have kept thy Lo>gon – logos - the sum total of thy revelation or

Word to them. They, these men, these special representative men, have been

true to their light, and know of the doctrine whether it be of God  (ch. 7:17).

Their own quickened conscience has been strong enough to justify all my

didach> didachae – doctrine; teaching -  my rJh>mata rhmataword -,

as Divine assurances. To Christ’s eyes they have already come out of their

fiery trial faithful and true.


7 “Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given

me are of thee.” Now, at this point in their training, they have known, by a

strong experience, by tasting, handling, seeing, trusting, by vivid flashes of

light, by keen, clear intuition of the reality, that all things whatsoever which

thou hast given me, are from thee. There is no tautology here; the w[sa

hosawhatsoever - are the truths, the fresh revelations, the glorious communion

of the Son of man with the Father, which He made known to the disciples —

truths which have a worldwide bearing, and also a direct bearing upon themselves

— are from thee (para< sou~ para sou – of you). This obscure utterance, in

its mystic vagueness, is clearly expounded in the next sentence, which is

the echo of the grand assertion of John 16:30, which drew from the

breaking heart its loud and sublime note of triumph.


8 “For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and

they have received them, and have known surely that I came out

from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.”

Because the words, the various sayings, utterances of Divine reality,

which thou gavest to me, I have given to them. This blessed recital and

exposition of His previous ministry is followed by the record of the effect,

without which the whole Christian dispensation would that very night have

come to an abrupt end.  They believed that all Christ’s words, works, energies,

revelations, warnings, promises, like Christ Himself, came from the eternal

Father, therefore represented the supreme reality, more certain than

demonstration, more vivid than intuition. They have rendered invincible assent


ETERNAL TRUTH!   In this overwhelming and satisfying conviction was laid

the foundation of the Church of Christ. And they received them.  This was a direct

consequence of the Divine giving and of the Divine drawing. And they

came to know — discerned, i.e. by personal experience — and truly that

I came out from thee, anti believed that thou didst send me. This

knowledge and belief is the germ of the communication to others of the

Divine manifestation; it is the Lord’s reward for all the toil and sacrifice

and Divine humiliation of His earthly ministry (ch. 16:30). The

incarnate Word is recognized as such, the only begotten Son of the Father

is known to be the Brightness of His glory  (Hebrews 1:3).  We see in this

great utterance the true origin of the evangelist’s own words (ch. 1:14-18;

I John 1:1-5). This thought of Christ’s has now become their voluntary,

spontaneous, assured conviction. The inward reason corresponds with the

objective facts.


9 “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou

hast given me; for they are thine.”  I — very emphatic — am praying for them

(for this use of ejrwtw~ - eroto  - pray; am asking - see note, ch. 16:23). We must

remember that this is perfectly consistent with the fact that, in the day of the

spiritual manifestation to the disciples, when both the Father and Son came to them,

the disciples would ask the Father for the gifts which His love to them was waiting

to supply; and He, Christ Himself, would hear them if they asked in His Name; and

that then there would be no need that He should pray the Father for them. That

time had not yet come, though it was coming. Both statements are also

perfectly consistent with His “intercession” for us. Not concerning — or,

not for — the world am I praying. Surely this is not an assertion that he

would never pray, or that He had not already prayed, for the world. Nay,

His entire ministry is the expression of the Father’s love to the whole world

(ch. 3:16). He came as Jehovah’s Lamb to take away its sin (ch. 1:29), He bade

His disciples (Matthew 5:44) pray for their enemies, and He cried at the last

for a blessing on His murderers. He “came to seek and

save the lost,” to call sinners to repentance,” not to condemn, but to

save the world.” Moreover, in this prayer (v. 21) He does pray for those

who should ultimately, though they do not now, believe on Him through the

word of the disciples; therefore it is inconceivable that He should here

dogmatically limit the range of His gracious desire. Calvin here observes,

“We are commanded to pray for all (I Timothy 2:1),” and quotes Luke

23:34 that Christ prayed for His murderers. “We ought to pray that this man

and that man and every man may be saved, and thus include the whole

human race, because we cannot distinguish the elect from the reprobate.”

Calvin implies that Christ is here within the sanctuary, and places before His

eyes the secret judgments of the Father. Lampe goes much further. Luther

says, “In the same sense in which He prays for the disciples, He does not

pray for the world.” But the best explanation is that the high-priestly

intercession at this supreme moment is concerned with those who were

already given to Him, and who have come to believe in His Divine Person

and commission. He expressly and divinely commends to the Father those

whom thou hast given me — the burden of the thought is contained in

the motive He suggests for this commendation, viz. — because they are

thine; i.e. though thou hast given them to me, though they have “come to

me,” through thy drawing, they are more than ever thine.” This most

fervent yielding to the attraction of Jesus, and utter moral surrender to His

control, do not alienate the heart from the Father, but make it more than

ever His.


10 “And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in

them.”  And all things that are mine are thine; whether they be

these souls, or these powers that I wield, or these words that I utter, or

these works that I do, — all are thine. This statement is in perfect harmony

with all His teaching, and is not incompatible with the reverential sentiment

that any servant of God might utter; but He adds words to show that the

union between Him and the Father is much closer than this, and quite

unique. And thine are mine. Luther observed, “No creature could say

this.” Perhaps he went too far, because we are taught to believe that all

things are ours,” etc., and the pa>nta pantaall -covers much (see

I Corinthians 3:21). In the full confidence of filial relation we can believe it

true that the heavenly Father says to every one of His veritable children,

All that I have is thine.” Here the words must not be drawn out of their

connection; it is human souls who are of God, and are therefore Christ’s.

The dogmatic lesson is that every one who has heard and learned of the

Father does come to Him. Such an assurance gives a sublime hope to the

world, and I (have been and) am glorified in them. Once more the Divine

Savior rejoices in the victory He has won in securing the faith of the disciples.

How much He loved and trusted them!


11 “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and

I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those

whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”

And I am no more (no longer) in the world (compare ch.16:28). The earthly

ministry is over; for a while He must leave them in the pitiless storm, bereft of

His care and counsel, exposed to infinite peril and temptation. Headless,

scattered, tempted to believe that all He had said to them was one huge delusion.

And these are in the world, without me, without visible sight of the mirror in

which thy glory has been reflected, and I come — I return — to thee. These are

the conditions on their part and on mine, which justify this prayer for them; and

my prayer is, Holy Father, keep — or, guard — them. This grand title stands here

in solitary grandeur (though let v. 25, pa>ter di>kaie pater dikaie – righteous

Father -, be noticed, and the fact that Revelation 6:10 speaks of “the Holy and

True,” and I John 2:20 of the Holy One”). The very holiness of the Father is

appealed to as the surest basis of the petition. They have already been taught to

pray, “Hallowed [made holy] be thy Name.” The eternal holiness and

righteousness of God is involved in the saving and sanctification of the

believer in Jesus. Keep them, holy Father” (says our Lord), in and by thy

Name, those whom thou hast given me.  The expression is very peculiar, but

not inexplicable.  Philippians 2:9 is the best illustration of the clause. It reads,

according to the true text, He hath bestowed on Him the Name (to< o]noma

to onomathe name) which is above every name,” i.e. the eternal Name, the

incommunicable Name (compare Revelation 2:17; 19:12) of Jehovah. Christ

has already said, I have manifested thy Name, thy fatherhood to the men,” etc.

And now He adds, Keep them in the power and grace of this glorious Name,

of which my Person and message have been the full expression.” That they may

be one, united, formed into a unity of being, even as we are, not losing their

personality, but blending and interchanging their interests and their affections

after the Divine pattern of the Father and Son. The relations between Christians,

which constitute the essential unity of their corporate being, are of the same kind

as those which pertain to Christ and God, and prevail between them, therefore

lying far behind the shifting phases of organization and human order, in the

essence and substance of spiritual life.  The effect of the utterance is rather to lift

the idea of the unity of the body of Christ to a superlative height, and to interpret

still further the nature of its oneness with the Father and Son (see v. 23).




Our Lord’s Prayer for His Disciples (vs. 6-11)


As Christ had prayed for Himself, He next prays for His disciples.



DISCIPLES. “I have manifested thy Name to the men which thou

gavest me out of the world.”


Ø      He only could make such a discovery of the Divine mind and will

o       by His appearance in the flesh;

o       by His Word;

o       by His Spirit.

Ø      Those who received the revelation were Gods. Thine they were:”

o       by creation;

o       by election;

o       by gift of the Father to the Son,

§         as His charge,

§         as His subjects,

§         as His apostles,

§         as His reward.



WORD.And they have kept thy Word ….Now they have known that all

things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.”


Ø      Christs Word is the Fathers Word.

Ø      The disciples kept it

o       in their memory as sacred treasure;

o       in their hearts by believing;

o       in their lives by a steadfast obedience.

Ø      The complete loyalty of the disciples to the revelation of Christ.

o       “They have received them” — upon the authority of my


o       “They have known surely that I came out from thee”

by their spiritual insight, rising from the reception of His

Word to the recognition of the Divine origin of His Person.

o       “And they have believed that thou didst send me” —by

the absolute surrender of their being to His guidance.



pray not for the world, but for them whom thou hast given me; for they

are thine.”


Ø      Christ is our gracious Intercessor.

o       This fact should give us boldness in prayer;

o       support us under a sense of our imperfections;

o       assure us of the success of our petitions.

Ø      Christ at present prays only for His disciples, who were to

continue His work. The world is only for the moment outside

the sphere of His supplications. It will by-and-by be reached by

those for whom He first prays.

o       His prayer for the world will be for its conversion; His

prayer for the disciples is for their sanctification and


o       He will in a few hours pray for the world. “Father, forgive

them: they know not what they do.”  (Luke 23:34)

o       There is an implicit prayer for the world implied in the prayer

For Christian unity. “That the world may know that thou hast

sent me.”

Ø      The answer to His prayers for the disciples is guaranteed by a

threefold claim.

o       They were the Father’s; He could not, therefore, but

provide for His own children.

o       They were Christ’s, by gift of the Father; therefore the

Father might be expected to watch over His own gift.

o       Christ was glorified in His disciples. “I have been glorified

in them,”



EXPOSED. “And I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world,

and I come to thee.”


Ø      Christ thinks of His departure as all but already accomplished.

o       He had no more to do in this world but die.

o       His departure would leave the disciples without His

personal support.

o       Yet He suggests that He has much to do in heaven:

§         by sending His Spirit;

§         by interceding for His people;

§         by preparing a place for them;

§         by triumphing over all His enemies.

Ø      The world is always a place of danger to the disciples.

o       by its open hostility;

o       by its threefold solicitations:

§         the lust of the flesh,

§         the lust of the eye, and

§         the pride of life.  (I John 2:16)



DISCIPLES. “Holy Father, keep through thine own Name those whom

thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.”


Ø      The term of address suggests the thought of the petition. The name,

Holy Father,” suggests at once the filial relationship and the

consecration which mark off our separation from the world.

Ø      It is the Father who will maintain this continued separation.

o       The perseverance of the saints is the fruit of Christ’s prayer.

o       It is effected through the Almighty power of the Father,

guarding His saints and strengthening them against


o       We are strong, therefore, not in ourselves, but in God.

o       We ought, therefore, to have constant recourse to His

“Name,” which, as the revelation of the Divine character,

is “the enclosing wall, as it were, of the sacred region in

which they are kept.”

Ø      The end of this Divine keeping is the unity of the disciples in

estrangement from the world. “That they may be one, as we are.”

o       Christian unity is important

§         for growth in grace,

§         for comfort,

§         for the furtherance of the gospel.

o       It is hindered

§         by carnal pride,

§         by selfish interests,

§         by intellectual restlessness,

§         by the diversity of human temperaments.

o       It ought to be an earnest subject of prayer to God

§         that man may attain to a union like that between

the Father and the Son;

§         that God may be thus abundantly glorified;

§         that the world may be thus attracted to Christ

by the visible oneness and love of His disciples.


12 “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those

that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the

son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.”

While I was with them (in the world). He speaks of the

earthly ministry as completed, and reviews the whole of His influence over

them. I kept them in thy Name which thou hast given me. The very

process that I can no longer pursue, and the cessation of which becomes

the ground of the plea for the Father’s thrh>siv taeraesis – watching;

guarding; keeping.. This an earthly father might say, without irreverence,

of children whom he was about to leave, but the quality of the keeping is

characterized by the Divine Name which was given Him, and that manifested

the Sonship which carried with it all the revelation of the Father.   And I guarded

(them) — ejth>roun etaerounsignifies watchful observation; ejfu>laxa

ephulaxa -  guardianship as behind the walls of a fortress — and not one perished

went to destruction except that the son of perdition (has perished). Christ does

not say that the son of perdition (Judas) was given Him by the Father and guarded

from the evil one, and yet had gone to his own place; the exception refers simply to

the “not one perished.” Eij mh<  ei maenone; if no - has occasionally a meaning

not exactly equal to ajlla< alla nay; howbeit -  but expresses an exception which

does not cover the whole of the ideas involved in the previous clause (see Matthew

12:4; Luke 4:26-27; Galatians 1:19, etc.). This awful Hebraistic phrase is used by

Paul (II Thessalonians 2:3; compare II Samuel 12:5) for antichrist, and

numerous phrases of the kind show how a genitive following uiJo<v huios

son -  or te>knon  - teknon  - child -  expresses the full characteristic or the chief

feature of certain persons (thus compare  uiJo<v gee>nhv huios geinaes

child of hell - te>kna fw~tov tekna photos – children of light -  kata>rav

kataras - cursed). This victim of perdition, this child of hell, has completed his

course; even now he has   laid his plans for my destruction and his own. He has

so perished in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. Even if the full telic

force of i[na hinathat -  is preserved here, He does not free the “son of

perdition”  from the responsibility of his own destruction. The Scripture

 portraiture of Messiah has been realized.  Psalm 41:9, which has already been

quoted by our Lord in ch. 13:18, is probably still in His mind (compare also

Isaiah 57:12-13). Some commentators — Arch-deacon Watkins, Dean Alford —

press the fact that the “son of perdition” must have been among those who

were given to Christ by the Father, who were watched, guarded, taught by

God; but that Judas nevertheless took his own way and went to his own

place. Thoma compares the lost disciple with the lost sheep of the

synoptists, as though we had a reference to a true reprobate, a son of

Belial, Apollyon, and the like. Moulton justly protests against any

countenance being found here for the irrevocable decree. But if the

interpretation of the eij mh< given above is sound, there is no inclusion of

the traitor among those who are “of the truth,” etc.; but he was one who,

notwithstanding boundless opportunity, went to his own place in the

perversity of his own will.  (“Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of

you is a devil?” ch. 6:70)


13 “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that

they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”  But now come I to thee.

So that the condition, the shielding protection of my love is removed, thou,

O my Father, must be their Sun and Shield. And these things I am uttering in

the world; uttering, i.e. in their hearing before my last step is taken, and perhaps

in the very midst of the machinations which are going on against me. That they

might have the joy that is mine fulfilled, fully unfolded and completed, in

themselves. By overhearing the high-priestly prayer, they would be

assured of the Divine guardianship, and would receive the transfer of even

His joy as well as of His peace. They would find the higher joy also of the

return of their Lord to the bosom of the Father. Christ has taught His

disciples to desire such joy and peace as He found on the night of the




Christ’s Petition for His Disciples Supported by Various Considerations

                                                (vs. 12-13)


Christ looks back upon the work He had already done, and sees that it must

henceforth be taken up by a different agency.



CHRIST’S KEEPING. “While I was with them in the world, I kept them

myself in thy Name. I have watched over those whom thou hast given me.”


Ø      Believers cannot keep themselves.

Ø      Christ takes them wholly in charge for safekeeping.

Ø      They are kept,

o       not from suffering,

o       nor from all sin,

o       but from perishing everlastingly. “Not one of them is lost.”

§         Christ has an individual care of believers.

§         The loss of a single believer would be

ü      a dishonor to Christ, and

ü      would weaken the comfort and confidence

of His people.

§         Christ keeps them “in the Name” of the Father,

out of love and duty to him.

o       Judas — the son of perdition —prepares himself for his

own foreseen ruin.

§         He was not included among those whom the Father

had given to the Son.

§         Jesus discharges Himself from all responsibility in

 relation to Judas.

§         The fall of the traitor had its place in the scheme

of Divine provision (ch.13:18; Psalm 41:9). It was

foretold in Scripture.



DISCIPLES. “And now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the

world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.”


Ø      His prayer was offered up that their joy should not be diminished  

by His approaching departure, but rather increased by the coming

of the Comforter.

o       Christ is the Author of joy. “My joy.”

o       He dispenses it

§         by gracious ordinances,

§         by cheering promises,

§         by the witness of the Comforter.

Ø      The importance and necessity of this joy.

o       Christ gives it as a mark of His fellow-feeling — as One

who was Himself “anointed with the oil of gladness above

His fellows.”  (Psalm 45:7)

o       To recompense them for the sorrows of life.

o       To give them strength for duty and suffering. “The joy of

the Lord shall be your strength.”  (Nehemiah 8:10)


14 “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them,

because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

I have given them thy word (de>dwka dedokahave given - a permanent

endowment); and the implication is that they have received it (v. 8). The

phrase is rather more condensed than before, and carries all the

consequences previously mentioned, and others as well to which the Lord

had referred (ch. 16:1-5). As a matter of fact, the world hated them,

because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. This

constant contrast between:


·         the mind of Christ and

·         the spirit of the world


pervades the New Testament. Christ had:


·         exposed its hypocrisies,

·         denounced its idols,

·         inverted its standards,

·         repudiated its smile,

·         condemned its prince, and

·         was now indifferent to its curse.


His disciples, as far as they shared His sentiments, came in also for its

malediction and hatred (compae the conflict with the Pharisees in the synoptic



15 “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that

thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”  The prayer of Jesus based on this.

I pray (ejrwtw~ eroto -  I am asking – used when the petitioner is on equal

footing with the person of whom he is making a request - not aijtew aiteo

asking – suggest the attitude of the suppliant, of one who is lesser in position

that the one to whom the petition is made; see v. 9; the i[na hinathat -

 here defines the contents of the prayer) not that thou shouldest take them away

lift them up and out out of the world, as thou art taking me by death. This

natural desire on the part of some of them is not in harmony with the highest

 interests of the kingdom. Those interests it would henceforth be their high

function to subserve. There is much testimony for them to bear, there are many

great facts for them completely to grasp, many aspects of truth which they

must put into words for the life and salvation of souls, individuals for them

to teach and train, victories for them to win, examples which they must set

before the world. If they are all to vanish from the eyes of men as Christ will

do, the end of the manifestation will be sacrificed. The Lord prays, not that

they should be taken out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them

(thrh>sh|v taeraesaesyou should be keeping -  not fula>xh|v  phulaxaes

guard) from the evil. The ejk tou~ ponhrou~ ,ek tou ponaeroufrom the

evil; out of the evil one - is different from Matthew 6:13, ajpo< tou~ ponhrou~

 apo tou panaerou from the wicked one -  and may possibly mean “from the

evil one.”  In I John 2:13; 3:12; 5:18; Revelation 3:10, the devil is regarded as

dominating, the realm, the atmosphere, the spirit, and the kingdom of this world.

Over against this kingdom the Lord Christ as the devil’s great Rival, rules in the

kingdom of grace.   Tou~ ponhrou~  tou ponaerouthe evil – taken as neuter,

refers to:


·         the great characteristic and all-subduing temper,

·         the far-reaching glamour and

·         the godless disposition




16 “They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

This verse simply repeats, with alteration of order, the clause of v. 14 as

the basis of the next great petition.  V.14 draws the comparison between

Christ and the disciples; This verse lays, by a transposition of words, the

greater emphasis on “the world.”  Alas that this great utterance should so

often be utterly ignored! How often in our own days, is other-worldliness

and unworldliness derided as a pestilent heresy, and “a man of the world,”

instinct with its purpose and saturated with its spirit, lauded as the true man

and ideal leader of a Christian state!


17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

Sanctify them; consecrate them (compare ch.10:36, of the

sanctification of the Son by the Father to the work of effecting human

redemption), separate them from the evil of the world, as for holy

purposes. Devote them to the glorious cause. Let them be sacrifices on the

altar. The aJgia>zw hagiazo - to sanctify, is not synonymous with kaqari>zw

katharizoto purify; a{giov hagios -  holy; separated from sin; consecrated

to God; sacred - is not a contradiction of the defiled so much as of the purely

natural, and involves the higher ends of grace (Exodus 29:1, 36; 40:13).

The sanctification of the Old Testament is a ritual process effected

by ceremonial observance; the sanctification of the New Testament is a

spiritual process passing over HEART and CONSCIENCE  and WILL,

and is the work of the Divine Spirit.  Some translate the next

clause, in the truth,  as the atmosphere in which the disciples dwell; but a

large number of commentators take ejn th~| ajlhqei>a| - en tae alaetheia

in the truth – as equivalent to” by the aid of,” with the instrumentality of,

“the truth:” consecrate them, by revealing to them the reality, making known

to them  the truth. If they see the truth they will be discharged from:


·         the illusions of the world,

·         the flesh, and

·         the devil.


But what is truth? what is the full expression of reality? how are we to

know where to find it? Thy Logos (thy Word), the utterance of thy thought,

is truth. If we can ever cognize what is the Divine thought about anything,

we shall reach THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH!   What God troweth is truth

per se. The Logos of God, the full, God-chosen utterance of the reality of truth,

is the nearest approach to truth that we possess. This revelation of God is the

closest correspondence with the reality. God sanctifies His children, consecrates

them to the service of His kingdom by revealing the truth, by making known

the otherwise transcendental facts of His kingdom. A long controversy has

prevailed in the Church as to whether the Spirit’s gracious operations are or

are not limited by the operation of truth on the mind. Numerous assurances of

the New Testament seem thus to limit the grace of God, or to measure it by

the ordinary effect produced on the understanding by Divine truth; e.g. “Of

His own will begat He us by the Word of truth” (James 18); the parable of

the sower, and other Scriptures. But seeing that the regeneration, the

conference of new and supernatural life, is set forth by images of resurrection

and new creation, and as a purification of taste, bias, and desire, the gift of

a new heart and right spirit, the voice of a heavenly sonship crying within us,

“Abba, Father,” and seeing that the ministration of the Spirit is variously

directed and operative, and that there is shadowed forth an immediate

work on the heart,” back of consciousness” itself, and that the witness of

the Spirit and the teaching and indwelling of the Holy Ghost are continually

referred to, — we are loath to accept the dogma. The Spirit of God is not

limited to the normal operations of the Word.



The Purifying Tower of Truth  (v. 17)


This may be regarded as the central petition of this prayer of the great High

Priest. Our Lord, having prayed on behalf of His disciples that they should

be “kept from the evil,” as those “not of the world,” passes from the

negative to the positive side of the Christian life. His heart’s desire is that

His people may be hallowed, consecrated, sanctified, made holy, as

becomes those who are His own.





Ø      The nature of this blessing sought: consecration, or sanctification. It

is a real and not a formal holiness, altogether distinct from and superior

to the merely ceremonial purity which is so often regarded by the

professedly religious as of supreme importance. It is consecration of

the spirit, the center of the nature, the spring of the outer life. It is

devotion to the service and glory of God Himself. It consists in a

distinction from the sinful world.


Ø      The desirableness of this blessing. Its absence is the cause of the

wretchedness and degradation which curse human society, where sin

rages unchecked. Holiness is the ultimate end for which revelation has

been bestowed, and especially the end for which all the provisions of the

Christian economy have been introduced. The pardon of sin is but a

means to an end, and that end is the assimilation of the human character

to the moral likeness of the all-holy God. Let it be considered that the

holiness of His people was an object so precious and desirable in the

esteem of our Divine High Priest, that for the sake of it He submitted

to assume the form of a servant, and TO DIE THE DEATH OF






Ø      Remark the identity of God’s Word with truth (“thy Word is truth.” –

v.17).   We must not confine the application of the word to Holy

Scripture, nor must we take it as equivalent to the personal Christ.

Every manifestation of the Divine thought and will is the Word of

God. Yet revelation, as usually understood, is emphatically this.

God’s Word is truth; for:


o       His knowledge admits of no limitation or imperfection;

o       His righteousness forbids the possibility of deception;

o       His benevolence delights in the instruction of His

intelligent creatures.


Ø      The truth which is God’s Word is the chosen instrument for producing

HUMAN SANCTITY.   This it does by:


o       revealing to man his evil life and ill deserts,

o       by awakening the conscience of sin;

o       by informing us of the holiness of the supreme Ruler;

o       by presenting in Christ a flawless Example of moral excellence;

o       by securing to the faithful forgiveness of sins through the

redemption by Jesus Christ;

o       by offering the influences of the Spirit of holiness as

the only Agent in producing a result so difficult and

yet so glorious;

o       by bringing to bear upon the human heart the highest,

purest, and most effectual motives —

motives sufficient to enkindle aspirations towards holiness, and

sufficient to induce to the employment of all those means by

which alone the greatest of all blessings may, with Divine help,

be secured and enjoyed.



The Element of True Holiness (v. 17)


  • THE MEANS OF SAFETY. Jesus has been praying that His friends may

be safe; and here is the way to safety. The truly holy are the truly safe.

When some infectious disease is raging far and wide, it is the drunkard and

glutton who are most exposed to danger. And thus in seasons of spiritual

temptation it is those who live far from God, and have allowed the world

to run riot in their hearts, who are likeliest to fall.


  • THE MEANS OF UNITY. Jesus goes on to pray for unity; and

holiness will lead to unity as well as safety.



We are to be in living, constant contact with God’s truth as it is in Jesus.

That truth is to be continually around us, even as the air we breathe. It is

to be underneath us, even as the solid earth on which we stand. Truth is ever

important, but the truth as it is in Jesus is of supreme importance, as the

truth that concerns us all in our greatest interests. If with all our knowledge

we have failed to lay hold of God’s truth in Jesus, then we are still

miserably ignorant. We must not be dunces in the school of Jesus. The time

will come when one truth of His will give us more satisfaction and peace

than all we have learned amid this world’s greatest opportunities. And

since Jesus prays that we may be sanctified in this truth, it is plain that the

truth lies near us, only needing our reasonable attention and effort to make

it our own.



OUR NEGLIGENCE OF IT. We can talk much about the truth, and yet

feel it very little. We can call it of supreme importance, and yet not make it

so. The guilt, the danger, and the misery of sin are often on our lips; but

only on our lips. We do not speak of the presence of sin in our souls as if

we had made the terrible discovery for ourselves, and appreciated all that

the discovery implied. The thing of real concern with us is not truth for the

heart, but food and raiment. Hence this frightful want of correspondence

between what we are and what we profess to be. There is a sanctification

as far as the providing of the elements is concerned; and yet no

sanctification, because the elements are unused. Our lives are very average,

worldly, and empty, compared with the opportunities we enjoy. God has

brought us into a land of the choicest blessings. We are invited to sit down

at a table loaded with the bread of eternal life. The fountain opened for sin

and uncleanness springs up before our eyes. If we are none the better, and

make not the slightest progress, it is because of a neglected Holy Spirit. It

is truth that sanctifies; and the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all the truth.

Without Him, we have eyes and yet see not, ears and yet hear not. We must

not bring our own little line to measure Him who is the eternal Son of God.

Not many wise are called to the inheritance of the sanctified. We must be

humble and submissive; then shall we know things not otherwise to be

known. The work of Jesus is to give us something to know and make our

own. The work of the Spirit is actually to make that something our own.

The more hold that Divine truth has upon us, the plainer it is that we are:


Ø      growing in holiness,

Ø      in separation from the world, and

Ø      union with the Father through the Son.


18 “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them

into the world.”  As thou didst send me into the world from the glory which I

had with thee before the world was (v.5)  — a primal fact in the earthly

consciousness of the Lord Christ, and one on which He repeatedly laid

emphasis (ch.10:36; v.8 above) — even so I sent  them into the world;

i.e. from that higher sphere of thought above the world to which I had

called them. “They are not of the world,” but I sent them from the

unworldly home and from the high place of my intimate friendship, from

the ground of elevated sympathy with myself, into the world, with my

message and the power to claim obedience. Christ gave this apostolic

commission near the commencement of His ministry (see Matthew 10:5,

etc., and Mark 3:14, [Ina w+si met aujtou~ kai< i[na ajposte>llh|

aujtou<v khru>ssein - hina osi – met’ autou kai hina apostellae autous kaerussein -

that they should be with Him, and that He might send them forth to preach – Mark

3:14), and that first act, the type of the whole apostolic  commission, which was

finally confirmed (Matthew 28:19-20;  ch. 20:21-22), is here described in the

timeless force of the aorist, so that the word embraces the entire ministerial

function of all who believe in the mission of the Son.


19 “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be

sanctified through the truth.” And for their sakes — on their behalf —

I sanctify, consecrate, myself. The Father had consecrated Him and sent Him

into the world, but over and above all this there were special and sacrificial

acts of love and devotion which He made on behalf of His own. He went up

voluntarily into the wilderness to be tempted for them; He wrought for

them while it was yet day. He now was ready to commend Himself to the

supreme will of the Father, and to offer Himself through the Spirit in His

perfected humanity without spot of sin to God. JAgia>zw hagiazo

sanctify -  is equivalent prosfe>rw soi< qusi>an prosphero soi thusian

I offer myself -  as Chrysostom says, and it is used for vyDiq]hi

(Exodus 13:2; Deuteronomy 15:19). Christ is the Priest and the 

Victim, and the dedication of Himself to this climax of His consecrated life

is for the sake of the disciples. That they also may be sanctified indeed

truly or veritably.


  • We have to notice that the passive form of the second clause shows

that that which the Lord, in its highest form, effects for Himself, they

receive as a work wrought in them by another.

  • Using the word aJgia>zein hagiazeinsanctify; sanctified -in the

same sense in both clauses, the  consecration effected in the disciples

must correspond with Christ’s consecration in self-sacrificial love, in

abandonment to the power of the Word which has revolutionized their

whole being, in entire equipment for their calling, even to the point of

hatred and antagonism from the world, and death for His sake. They

are indeed to drink of his cup, and be baptized with His baptism. They

must be crucified with Him and buried with Him, and rise again with

Him, in the activity of their faith.




      The World’s Hatred and Christ’s Prayer

                     for the Disciples’ Safe Keeping against It  (vs. 14-19)



THE WORLD’S HATRED. “I have given them thy Word.” They who

receive the Word cross the world’s path

(1) in their true judgment of things,

(2) in their God-like wills,

(3) in their holy lives.



hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the



Ø      It is the honor of believers that they are linked with Christ as the

objects of the worlds hatred.

Ø      This hatred is seen in

o       persecution,

o       in calumny,

o       in the misconstruction of things doubtful,

o       in the blasphemy of God and religion.

Ø      The hatred of the world is no hindrance to the believers





EARTH. “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but

that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.”


Ø      The desire of death is unlawful in the saints,

o       because Christ has His work to do by us in the world;

o       because the victory is to be gained through conflict;

o       because God can be more honored by our steadfast

endurance than by our escape from duty.

Ø      There is provision made for the preservation of the saints from evil.

o       It is better for us to be kept from sin in our afflictions than

from the afflictions themselves.

o       Divine aid is needed for our safe keeping.

o       Such as devote themselves to Christ’s service are sure, not

only of His prayers, but of His Divine support.

o       The evil that surrounds the believer in the world will

§         awaken him to a true sense of his danger,

§         humble him,and

§         lead him to a nearer dependence upon the Lord.



through thy truth: thy Word is truth.”


Ø      There must be a complete consecration to the task the disciples

have to fulfill in the world.

o       This consecration implies a prior consecration of heart and

life to God, in the ways of practical holiness.

o       This consecration was necessary to the faithful discharge of


Ø      The Word of God is the great instrument in Gods hand for His

peoples sanctification.

o       It is here implied that the Word of God is the truth of God —

truth at once

§         infallible,

§         eternal, and

§         holy.

o       It is to be read with diligence, preparation, and prayer.

o       It is to be maintained

§         by our arguments,

§         by our obedience,

§         by our sufferings.

Ø      Jesus presents two motives in support of this petition.

o       One was taken from the mission He had entrusted to His

disciples. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so

have I also sent them into the world.”

§         The apostles went not unsent upon their mission.

§         They looked to Christ, not only for authority, but

for equipment.

§         They carried His message.

§         They kept in view His end in preaching the gospel.

o       The other motive was taken from the work which He had

effected in Himself. “And for their sakes I sanctify myself,

that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

§         Christ consecrated Himself wholly to His work. His

human life received in an ever-increasing degree the

seal of consecration till the entire and final sacrifice of


§         The end of His consecration was the consecration of

His members. The union of Christ and believers is the

abiding source of this continuous consecration.


Prayer for the Church Universal in All Time (vs. 20-26)


20 “Neither pray (ejrwtw~  eroto – see v. 15) I for — concerning these alone,

but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”  The Lord

summons the future into the present. He speaks of having once for all sent

them, and He sees rising before His eye the multitudes in all ages who would

believe their testimony as if already doing so. The universal Church rejoices

in the fullness of His love and the greatness of His wish concerning the

individuals who believe. The prayer is an eternal intercession.


21 “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee,

that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that

thou hast sent me.”  That they all may be one. My prayer is that the many may

become one, form one living glorious unity; — every part of which

spiritual organism, while living a separate and differentiated life, is yet a

part of a whole (Ephesians 4:11-16).  In the natural sphere, as the parts of a whole

organism are more and more developed, and increasingly resemble individualities

in their separation, they are in the same proportion dependent on the whole for the

life that is in them. Even in a highly organized community, as the separate

individuals have more and more personal consciousness of special

function, they become the more dependent on the whole, and in one sense

lost in the unity to which they belong. The branches in the vine form

together one vine; the members of a body, being many, are one body and

members of one another.   According as thou, Father, (art) in me, and I

(am) in thee; i.e. the relation between the Father and Son, the manner in

which the Father lives in the Son, as in His organ or instrument of

manifestation and object of supreme affection, and as the Son is in the Father,

abiding ever in the light of His glory, in the power of His Name, and as these

two are thus One in being, so, or similarly, the believers are to live in and for

each other, becoming a unity, just as the Father and Son are unity. In order

that they themselves also may be [one] in us. This i[na  hina -  that - does

not offer a parallel sentence in apposition with the former, nor is the “that”

to be inverted, it is the climax of the whole unifying process, after the likeness

of the union between the Father and the Son, viz. that they themselves may

be included in this unity. Though they are thus to be lost in God, yet they

do not lose their own individuality. Nay, in proportion to their organic

relation to the fullness of the Godhead and the completeness of their own

spiritual fellowship with one another, will this personal consciousness of

theirs become more and more pronounced. There is yet a further process

contemplated, viz. in order that the world may believe (pisteu>h|

pisteuae – should be believing - as in v. 23 -ginw>skh| ginoskae -,

may be knowing in the present subjunctive, rather than the aorist)

that thou didst send me. The spiritual life and unity of the Church will

produce an impression on the world which now rejects the Christ and does

not appreciate HIS DIVINE COMMISSION!   The union which springs from

the blended life of the various and even contradictory elements in the Church

will prove the reality of its origin. The world will believe, — this is the final

purpose of the intercession concerning the disciples; so though above He

did not pray for the world as the then immediate object of His intercession,

the poor world is in His heart, and the saving of the world the end of His

incarnation. If the union between the Father and the Son is the sublime type

of the union between those who shall believe, it is not the union of a great

society in accordance with certain invincible rules of affiliation and

government. The union between the Father and Son is not a visible

manifestation, but a spiritual inference. The common indwelling in the

Father and Son, the identity of the spiritual emotion and purpose in all who

have ONE LORD; ONE FAITH; ONE BAPTISM (Ephesians 4:5); will

convince the world by producing a similar inference, its effects

are to be real and visible, such that the world may see them.”




Christ’s Prayer for All Believers (vs. 20-21)


Our Lord, having prayed for Himself and for His apostles, now prays for the

whole body of believers.



THE END OF TIME. “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also

who shall believe on me through their word.”


Ø      All believers have, therefore, an interest in Christs prayer.

Ø      The word of the apostles — that is, not merely their narrative of

Gospel facts, but their revelation of gospel principles — is the

Instrumental means of faith. (Romans 10:17.) A capital place is

thus assigned to the Word in the conversion of the world.

Ø      Consider the sad condition of those who have not the Word.

Ø      The sin of those who reject it.

Ø      The dishonor done to the Lord by those who deceitfully

handle it.



they all may be one; that as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, they

also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.”


Ø      The oneness prayed for is not that of believers with one another, but

that oneness which is the foundation of visible unity — the union of

believers with Christ, AND THROUGH HIM WITH GOD!

Ø      It cannot refer to a visible unity, because it is a unity of successive

generations of believers, who cannot be in the world at one and the

same time.  (“Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the

knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the

measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.”  - Ephesians 4:13;

“That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might

gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in

heaven, [angels] and which are on earth [mankind}.”  - Ibid. 1:10)

Ø      It is a unity resembling the union of the Father and the Son, and is

therefore more than a mere moral unity of purpose, or opinion, or

cooperation.  It is an essentially vital unity (Romans 12:5; Ephesians


The ultimate design and result of this oneness is ITS EFFECT

UPON THE WORLD!  Where disciples are seen to be:

o       of one faith,

o       of one spirit, and

o       one love, the world will have better thoughts of God and

His gospel.


22 “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they

may be one, even as we are one:”  Our Lord now proceeds to record how

He has already contributed to produce this result. I also — very emphatic —

have given to them — that is, to my disciples — the glory which thou gavest me.

Numerous interpretations of this “glory” have been suggested, as e.g., the

glory into which He is about to enter in His glorified body; but the emphatic

perfect de>dwka - dedokaI have given - in connection with the ejdwka>v

edokasyou have given , viz.: “I have given and   am now and still giving,”

renders this improbable. Meyer, who does not accept Baumgarten-Crusius’s

view that dido>nai  - didonai here means “to destine,” yet comes very much

to the same thought, and regards it as the heavenly glory of which He had

eternal experience, and WOULD ULTIMATELY SHARE WITH HIS

PEOPLE.   But the view variously set forth by Oldhausen, Hengstenberg,

Maldonatus, Bengel, Tholuck, Moulton, and Godet appears to be in full

harmony with the context, viz. the glory of the supernatural life of Divine

Sonship and self-sacrificing love as of the very essence of God. This glory

that He should taste death for every man, this glory of nature and character

as the incarnate Head of a new humanity, I have given to them, in order

that they may be one, living in and for each other, even as we are one.

The contrast between His own relation to the Father and theirs is most

wonderfully maintained. The union between the Father and Son is once

more made the type, in His own unique consciousness, of the union among

men who have received as His gift the eternal life and glory of a

supernatural love. This is more evident from what follows.


23 “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one;

and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved

them, as thou hast loved me.”  I in them, and thou in me. He does not say,

“Thou in them, as thou in me,” nor “They in thee, and I in thee;” but He includes

in the hJmei~v haemeis  - We - of the previous verse.   jEgw< kai< Su>

ego kai Su – I and You -  and distinctly regards Himself as  the mediating link

of relation between the Father and the disciples. The jEgw< is that of the

Son of God, manifested in Christ’s consciousness of the God-man-hood; the

Su> is the eternal and non-incarnate God. God is in Him, as He is in them.

They are in Him, as He is in the Father. That they may be perfected, completely

realizing the end of their being and the meaning of the gift of eternal life, fully

ripened in their graces until they reach up into one, into the fullness of the

stature of the perfect Man, until they become the one new and immortal body

of the living Christ, (eijv e{n - eis hen – into one -  indicates the sublime result

so far as they are concerned). Each individual believer reaching the highest

perfection of his being, as according to his own capacity and function he fills

his place in the one living body of the Lord.  (See Ephesians 4:13).  The end is

not here, however, so far as others are concerned; for this unity, when consummated,

is to bring about a yet further result on this earth, and in order that the world may

come to know (ginw>skh| ginosko) that thou didst send me, and lovedst them

as thou lovedst me. Our Lord has advanced upon the assertion of v. 21,


  • by discriminating between “believing” and “coming to know” by

personal experiences, overwhelming conviction, and processes which lead

to invincible assent. Faith in its highest form melts into;

Ø      knowledge,

Ø      full assurance, and

Ø      complete certitude.

·         There is superadded to the conviction concerning the Divine mission of

the Christ yet another, viz. a conviction of the wonderful love which thou

hast shown to them in thus lifting them out of the world into the unity of

the spiritual life, into the fellowship of the Son of God. This has twofold

bearing. So far as the world is concerned they will see that the love shown

to the believers in Christ will be compatible with the same kind of

treatment as Christ Himself received, and so far as the Divine reality is

concerned, it will be seen that they are so closely identified with Christ that

the infinite love of God to Christ flows over in its Divine superabundance

upon those who are gathered together into Him. It is impossible to exclude

from these verses the idea of the visibility of the union and life of the

Church, and of the Divine love to it. Nothing is said or hinted, however,

about the nature of that visibility. Christians are not, by reason of their

differences, to exclude from this passage the promise that the whole

assembly of the Firstborn would make this gracious and convincing

impression on the world. They are far enough, in days of mutual

recrimination, from realizing the Divine ideal, and should set themselves to

remedy the crying evil; but they have no right to import into the words, by

reason of their predilection for particular forms of Church organization, an

identification of the body of Christ with any specific form. The spiritual

union of Christendom in its one faith, hope, and character, is,

notwithstanding the divergence of some of its forms of expression, the

most stupendous fact in the history of the world. The elite of all

Churches are drawing more and more into a visible unity.


24 “Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, 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.”

Now passing from this glorification of His people in the

convictions and knowledge of the world, our Lord offers “as a Son to a

Father,” and therefore with profound naturalness, the prayer of the

incarnate Logos to the eternal Father, and therefore an address indubitably

supernatural and lifted above all human consciousness. It is a prayer, too,

which rises from the high and unique term ejrwtw~ erotosee v. 15 –

(one which He never puts into the lips of His disciples) to a yet higher one,

qe>lw thelo – I will -  as one who speaks with ejxousi>a exousia

authority - which God had given Him over all flesh, that He should give

eternal life to those whom God had given him. Qe>lw means less than “I will,”

and more than “I desire,” and is destitute of that element of “counsel” or

deliberation that is involved in boulo>mai boulomaidesire; to wish, to

will deliberately, a stronger expression than qe>lw. Very soon after

this, when the full force of His human consciousness pressed upon Him, He

said (Mark 14:36), “Not what (ejgw< qe>lw – ego theloI will) I will, but

what thou wiliest.” But here He is so conscious of the Father’s will concerning

others that He cries, Father, as for them whom — or, as some ancient codices

read, that which thou hast given me, regarded as a mystic unity, as

the Bride which He has redeemed, I will that they also be with me where

I am. Kajkei~noi kakeinoi – also those -  resolves the o[n – ho – the –

 into the  elements of which it is composed. This is the first part of the final

petition, and it embraces everything. With Christ;” “Forever with the Lord;”

in His glory and part of it, in the place which He is going to localize and prepare

for them, is heaven. The glory which He had already given to His disciples (v. 22)

falls far short of this fellowship with Him where His undimmed radiance shines,

is only a preparation for sharing with Him in his ultimate triumph over the world

and death, and also for sitting down with him on His throne (Revelation 3:21).

In this world fellowship with Him in His suffering humanity did not

finally reveal the transcendent glory (though in ch.1:14 the apostle

says, “We beheld His glory,” etc.) of His Person. To realize this He prays,

And that they may also behold the glory which is mine, which thou

hast given me. The glory given cannot be the glory of the lo>gov

ajsa>rkov - logos asarkos -  word in the flesh -for that is not given, but

belongs to Him by eternal right; yet the Father gave the Son to have life in

Himself; and that even the eternal Sonship itself may be regarded as the

eternal bestowment of an infinite love. Seeing that the Lord goes on to give

a reason of His qe>lhma  thelaemawill - founded on an eternal or at least

pre-mundane manifestation of a conscious love, surely He is thinking of the

exaltation of humanity INTO THE ETERNAL GLORY  which He distinctly

relinquished and veiled in the days of His flesh. That which they had hitherto

seen they only partially apprehended, though He had even given it to them

(v. 22), and though they had been drawn out of the world to high places of

transfiguration, that they might behold it and learn how it coexisted with

and was compatible with a perfect resignation to the will of God in human

redemption. Our Lord prays, nay, wills, that they should hereafter see it in

its fullness of grace and beauty, see it when relieved from obstructive

hindrances due to the flesh and to the world, see it on the grandest scale,

see it as it really is, see the full capacity and infinite momentum of the glory

which He had already bestowed upon them. For thou lovedst me before

the foundation of the world. This is given as a reason of the prayer for His

disciples, not as an explanation of the glory which He had with the Father

before the world was. It is often said that the exaltation of the Son of man

 is a reward for His self-humiliation, and the crown of His sacrificial death

(Philippians 2:9; Revelation 3:21; Hebrews 1:1-2), but these very passages

couple that exaltation with the premundane glory of Him who was, to begin

with, and before His work of redemption, the “Effulgence of the Father’s glory,”

who was “in the form of God,” and regarded the being equal with God as no

aJrpagmo>v  - harpagmos -not as a thing to be seized, prized, and held in its

integrity (Philippians 2:6). And in Hebrews 2:9, He was by reason of His

intended passion crowned with glory and honor, in order that He might taste

death for every man. So that the glory which He had with the Father before

the world was, and therefore before His incarnation, was that very glory of

self-devoting and unutterable love into which He would come again with all

the trophies of His redemptive work. The new and higher embodiment of His

humanity would prove of such a kind that His essential glory would shine

through it in undimmed luster. If this be the meaning, we cannot dilute this

pregnant saying, one of the most mysterious of all His words, one which

leads us up to the highest possible conception of the relations between the

Father and the Son. The eternal love of which the Godhead itself is the

SOURCE and the OBJECT is that to which we shall be introduced,

and which our Lord would have us see and share (compare I John 3:1-3).



Blessed with Christ (v. 24)


The future has for man a mysterious interest, and it exercises over him a

mysterious power. Religion appeals to this, as to all natural tendencies and

susceptibilities of man’s being. The revelations and the promises of

Christianity have regard to the vast hereafter. When our Lord prayed for

His disciples, it could not be that He should omit from His prayer their future

— their condition and associations in the immortal state. Without such

reference the high-priestly prayer would have been incomplete; for it was

the prayer of Him who brought life and immortality to light.  (II Timothy 1:10).


  • THE HOME OF THE BLESSED. Little as we know of that eternal

home, that which we do know is of intense interest. What the Lord Jesus

here tells us of heaven is welcome and precious revelation. His desire and

purpose concerning His people is that they may be:


Ø      With Him. He could no longer be with them on earth; but, as a

compensation, they were to look forward to being with Him in

heaven.  These cherished friends had been with Him long enough

to know and to prize such association. To them it was sufficient to

know that they should be reunited to their Friend and Master.


Ø      Where He is. The locality of heaven is unknown, and all speculation

upon such a matter is idle. How all Christ’s innumerable friends and

followers can all be where He is, we cannot understand. But it

rejoices the heart of the disciple to know that He shall be where His

Lord is. (“Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear

what we shall be:  but we know that, when He shall appear, we

shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.”  (I John 3:2)

A bold mariner does not care to what sea his ship is bound, if he is

only serving under the captain or admiral whom he trusts, and who

has before shown him the way to discovery or to victory.


  • THE VISION OF THE BLESSED. The people of Christ shall, in

accordance with His prayer, behold the glory of the Redeemer. Sight is

here, as elsewhere, put for knowledge. The disciples had seen the

humiliation of their Lord; they were to see His glory. In what this consists it

is for us only to conjecture, with such help as Christ’s words afford. There

is the closest connection between the glory of Christ and the Father’s

eternal love. Our Lord himself has so taught us that we cannot place glory

chiefly in what is visible and material. We think chiefly of that moral glory

which is connected with Divine favor and with spiritual empire —


“Glory shines about His head,

And a bright crown without a thorn.”


Such a vision as that which our Lord here implores for His own must

enlarge the perceptions which the blessed in heaven form of their great

Redeemer, must excite their wonder and adoration, and must even fan the

flame of their holy and grateful love. (“But as it is written, Eye hath not

seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things

which God hath prepared for them that love Him.”  - I Corinthians 2:9).

It should be observed that, although the aspect of the heavenly life here

presented is contemplative, this is by no means to the exclusion of quite

another aspect. The servants, who shall see the face of their Lord, shall

serve Him day and night. (Revelation 7:15).  What they behold shall be

the inspiration of their immortal songs of praise, and of their ceaseless

acts of obedience and devotion.



    A Prayer that the Disciples may Share in the Lord’s Glory (vs. 22-24)


Jesus supports His petition by declaring what He has already done for His




GLORY. “And the glory which thou hast given me I have given them.”


Ø      This glory is not apostolic office or gift of miracle.

Ø      It is not the glory of the future kingdom.

Ø      It is the glory of adoption. As Christ’s glory consisted in His

Sonship, so that of believers consisted in their filial dignity,

as children of God and brethren of Himself as the eider Brother.

Ø      The effect of this glory is twofold.

o       The formation of a closely united family in heaven and in

earth. “I in them, and thou in me, that their oneness

 may be perfect.”

§         God living in Christ,

§         Christ in each believer, reproduce the Divine unity

on earth.

o       A demonstration to the world of Christ’s mission, and the

Father’s love to His children.

§         Christ’s mission would be manifest in its blessed and

enduring effects.

§         The Father’s love to believers would be manifest as a

love resembling that with which He regards His Son.

ü      He loves them in Christ;

ü      He loves them through Christ;

ü      His love is the guarantee that He will uphold           

them, as He did Christ, assist them in His

service, provide for their wants, and reward

them for their services.

Ø      Christs will is that His disciples should share His throne in the heavens.

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, 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.”

o       His will is that His people should be where HE IS!

§         Love seeks the companionship of the loved.

§         Heaven is wherever Christ is.

§         Union with Christ draws after it everlasting communion

with Him.

o       His will is that His people should see His glory;

§         not His essential glory, for that could not be given Him,

§         but the glory of a consummated fellowship effected

between God and man.



25 “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have

known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.”

The prayer is thus over, and once more the great High Priest

and Victim declares concerning Himself some of the mysteries of His Person

and of His relation with His disciples and with the world. O righteous

Father (compare vs. 1, 5, Pa>ter Pater – Father -  simply; v. 11, pa>ter a{gie

Pater hagie – Holy Father - v. 24, Pa>ter without any characterization). The

righteousness of God is a more exalted perfection than His holiness, one that

might seem more at variance with the exercise of His paternal compassion; yet

this righteousness is CONSPICUOUSLY DISPLAYED  in the redemptive love

 which Christ had thus manifested, and the beloved disciple (I John 1:9) declares

that God is faithful and “righteous” in forgiving the repentant sinner. The blending

of the idea of righteousness with Fatherhood is the sublime revelation made

by the Lord Jesus, and He gathers the two ideas together into an

indissoluble unity. Justice and mercy are seen by the whole work of the

Son of God to have been the outflow and effulgence of the one all-comprehending

and infinite love. The kai<  - kai  - and - that here follows has created

some difficulty, though some manuscripts omit it (D and Vulgate),

probably in consequence of its inappropriateness; but it is received on

strong ancient authority. Meyer and Hengstenberg take it thus: Righteous

Father (yea, such thou art), and (yet) the world knew thee not. But would

our Lord have hesitated, as it were, to express this truth, without justifying

it against the unbelief of the world? Moulton tries to explain the simple

adversative force of the kai< and de< by “both the world learned not to

know thee, but I learned to know thee.” Godet has expressed the kai<

more effectively by translating, The world, it is true, knew thee not, but I

knew thee. The Revised Version has, with the Authorized Version, simply

omitted the kai<. It is one of the most solemn of the Lord’s condemnations

of the ko>smov (world). The Apostle Paul said (I Corinthians 1:21), “The world

through its wisdom knew not God;” and in Romans 1:18-23 he shows

that this ignorance was willful and practical and without excuse. The

history of the struggling of the world after God has shown HOW DENSE

THIS HUMAN DARKNESS IS!   There have been signs that men groped after

the idea of a Father who should be blind to their faults and indifferent to their

follies, and utter a righteous Lord who has exalted righteousness and hated

iniquity; but it was left for Christ to blend these apparently discordant

beams into the radiance of a perfect glory. How many illustrations do the


 supply! But I knew thee, because of the eternity of that ineffable love wherewith

thou hast loved me, and because of the depth of that righteous love which thou

hast manifested to the world in sending me upon my mission. And these knew

— came to know by personal intuition — that thou didst send me (compare

16:27, and vs. 8, 23) on the mission of redeeming the world.  They have learned

that I have come with all thy authority and in all thy power; that I have come

out from thee; that I entered into the world; that I have glorified thee among

men; that my thoughts are thy thoughts, and my “words” (rJhma>ta  - rhemata)

are thy (Logos) “Word;” that my works of love are the  works of the Father; and

that my promises are the manifestation of thy Name to the men whom thou hast

given me.



God Unknown and Known (v. 25)


These, the last words uttered by our Lord before He proceeded to His

betrayal and passion, are words worthy of the occasion and of the Speaker.

They are a prayer, or rather an address, to the Father. Yet they constitute a

review of the past, a declaration of the present, a prediction of the future.

They explain the reason and the purpose of His mediation and of His

ministry to man.



CHRIST’S MINISTRY. This ignorance is implicitly brought before us in

the very language which the High Priest here employs: “O righteous

Father, the world knew thee not.”


Ø      The world had no conviction of God’s righteousness. No one who is

acquainted with heathen religions can question this. Not that there

were no upright natures that traced their own love of justice and

equity to the eternal Power that rules the universe; but that the gods

many and lords many who were honored, feared, or propitiated

among the heathen were, for the most part, lacking in the highest

moral qualities. A gleam of righteousness or of generosity did now

and again break through, to reveal, as it were, the darkness of the

firmament. Still, broadly speaking, GROSS DARKNESS

COVERED THE PEOPLE.   The unenlightened heathen attributed

to their deities partiality, factiousness, hatred, cruelty — any quality

but justice. In all this the lack of righteousness in men themselves was

reflected upon their gods. The world by wisdom knew not God.

(I Corinthians 1:21)


Ø      The world had no conviction of God’s Fatherhood. If there were

those who worshipped a supposed deity whom they called “the

father of gods and men,” we must not be misled by such language

into supposing that the scriptural idea of fatherhood was involved

in their religion. This idea is distinctively that of REVELATION,

of Christianity. The moral attributes which we attach to the

conception of the Divine Fatherhood have not come to

our apprehension through the ministrations of pagan priests or

pagan philosophers. Apart from Christ, the race of mankind is

conscious only of:


o       fatherlessness and

o       fear.



INTIMATE AND PERFECT. The expression Jesus here employs,

“I knew thee,” evidently suggests the natural and immediate knowledge

which He had of the Father. He did not come to know God by a process

of inquiry or reflection, or by the reception of lessons and revelations.

His knowledge was direct. This we gather from His own assertions, and

also from many intimations to be discerned in His words and in His conduct.

There is no sign of uncertainty in any of Christ’s declarations with respect

to the Supreme. On the contrary, He speaks simply, directly, and decisively

in all He says. He claims the closest intimacy, as when He says that He is

in the bosom” of the Father, i.e. in possession of the counsels and secrets

of THE ETERNAL MIND!   He even goes further than this, claiming unity

with the Father, as when He says, “I and my Father are one”  (ch. 10:30).

Our Savior’s knowledge of God was not inferential, but intuitive; not

acquired, but natural; not imperfect, but complete.





Ø      The first step in this revelation is the conviction, which Christ

awakens in His disciples’ minds, that His mission is from God

Himself. The character of Christ, His discourses and conversations,

His mighty works, all witnessed to HIS SPECIAL AUTHORITY

AND COMMISSION!  They were constrained to ask, “Who is this?”

“What manner of Man is this?’ “Whence is He?” and When

these questions were suggested, they could lead to only one answer

which could satisfy the inquirers’ minds. The conviction was produced,

in some cases by a gradual process, in other cases as by a sudden flash

of revelation, that this Being was FROM ABOVE, that HE WAS



Ø      The second step in this revelation is the declaration of the Divine

“Name,” by which we are to understand the character and the

purposes of the Father. When the Lord Jesus had communicated to

His disciples the fact that God is a Spirit, and the fact that He is the

Father in heaven, He had in great measure made known THE

DIVINE NAME,  but it was a further and richer revelation that He

made when He told of the Father’s purposes of compassion and

mercy  towards His children — when He, in the Name of the

Almighty and All-merciful, assured His faithful people of



Ø      But the glory of this assertion is not yet exhausted. Christ

says that He will yet make known the Name of God. The reference

may be to the approaching manifestation of the Divine heart in the

sacrifice and the subsequent exaltation and victory of the Son.

 But it may, and probably does, include the whole future revelation

of God through the Holy Spirit, and throughout the spiritual

economy. There are those who consider revelation to have been

continuous and progressive throughout this dispensation; there are

others who consider that the objective revelation is complete in

itself, but that the quickening influences of the Holy Spirit

enable successive generations to discern ever new beauty, power,

and preciousness in Him who is “the Light of the world,” and

“the Life of men?”




Our acquaintance with God is a mysterious and glorious privilege, yet

we may with reverence hold that it is the means to an end. We love only

those whom in some measure we know; yet by loving we may learn to

know them more. As Christ is formed in His people, and as His character

and life are revealed by them, the Father cherishes and displays towards

them the very affection with which He regards his well-beloved Son.

(Zephaniah 3:17 tells us that God sings over us! – CY – 2014).  It is thus

that the incarnation and sacrifice of the Redeemer produce their

PRECIOUS and IMMORTAL RESULTS!  Ignorance, sin, estrangement,

and hatred are, by this Divine provision, EXPELLED,  and in their place:


Ø      the new  humanity,

Ø      the spiritual kingdom,

Ø      the Church of the living God, is:

§         penetrated by the Spirit of Christ,

§         filled with the light of holy knowledge, and

§         blessed with the enjoyment of imperishable love.


26 “And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that

the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in

them.”  Since they have “learned that thou sentest me,” our Lord, to

complete the awful monologue, adds, And I made known thy Name to

them, pointing back to the ejfanerwsa>sou to< o[noma ephanerosa sou to

onoma I have manifested thy name - of v. 6. “To make manifest” is not equal in

potency with “to make known, to cause them to know;” there is more direct work

done in them and to them in order to effect knowledge. Our Lord also declares

that He has done this already, but His work of manifestation and teaching are not

complete.  There is more and more for these to learn. And (gnwri>sw  gnoriso

I shall be making known) I will make them to know it. A promise of Divine

expansion reaching onward and outward forevermore. By the power of His Spirit,

by His return to them in His resurrection-life, by the ministry of the Paraclete, He

would prolong and complete the convincing process. In order that the love

wherewith thou hast loved me (notice the unusual expression, hJ ajga>ph h{n

hjgaphsa>v hae agapae , haen aegapaesas – the love wherewith you love -

and compare Ephesians 2:4) — the eternal love of the Father to the well-beloved

Son — the love which has flowed forth upon him as the perfect

Son of man, and Representative of man, upon Him who laid down His life

that He might take it again (compare ch.10:17) — may be in them; may

alight on them as knowing, receiving, loving me (compare ch.16:27, “The

Father himself loveth you, because ye have loved me”). However much

was involved in the utterance just quoted, in this closing utterance still

more is conveyed. The waves on this boundless ocean of love pour in, one

behind the other, each nobler and freighted with richer blessing than that

which preceded; and the motive of this infinite fullness of eternal love being

thus lavished upon them is added: I in them. On this profound suggestion

He has already said much, but not until we reach these last words do they

flash forth in all their mystic grandeur. His life will be so identified with

their life, His abode so blended with their being, His life so repeated in their

experience, His personality so much entwined and blended with theirs, that

He in them, and because He is in them, prolongs and repeats Himself as the

Object of an eternal love. We see the same ideas in the Pauline teaching,

and can only explain Galatians 1:16; 2:20; 4:6; Romans 8:9-11;

Ephesians 2:18; 3:19; Colossians 2:7; 3:4, as echoes of the class of

teaching which, long before John had recorded the prayer in this form, had

yet become the seed and life-principle of the Church. This is not only true

of the closing verses, but of the whole prayer and preceding discourse.



An Appeal to God’s Righteousness (vs. 25-26)


Our Lord approaches the climax of His prayer.


  • MARK THE MODE OF ADDRESS. “Righteous Father.” Six times in

this prayer has Christ addressed God as Father; but the name here used

implies that Christ insists upon the reward of His service and His sufferings.

Justice pleads on behalf of the disciples. The thought of a “righteous

Father” is:


Ø      Comforting to the righteous and the oppressed.

Ø      Terrible to the ungodly.





Ø      Consider the worlds ignorance of God. “The world hath not

known thee.”

o       The heathen want the means of knowledge.

o       The world is unwilling to know God.

o       The world does not know Him so as to delight in Him,

or to serve Him, or to obey Him.

Ø      Consider Christs knowledge of God. “But I have known thee,

and these have believed that thou hast sent me.”

o       He knows God immediately.

o       And He is the Source of all saving knowledge to believers.

Ø      Christ will make still fuller declarations of My Fathers Name to the

worlds end. “And I have made known unto them thy Name, and I

will make it known.”

o       This will be realized through:

§         His Word,

§         His Spirit, and

§         His ministers.

o       The design of these fuller revelations. “That the love

wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in


§         God’s love ought to dwell in believers as an habitual


§         It is the safety and the glory of believers.

§         It is the means of our growing conformity to God’s image.

§         Wherever love is Christ is, “dwelling’ in believers.

§         They who have Christ in them have

ü      safety,

ü      access to Him AT ALL TIMES, and

ü      peace in their souls.



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