The Agora
Bible Commentary

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John 17

Joh 17:1

See Lesson, Prayer for unity (Joh 17).

// Psa 91:14-16: "he shall acknowledge my name... call on me".

Three uses of "Father" in this prayer: (1) v 1: simply "Father", Christ's prayer for self; (2) v 11: "Holy Father", Christ's prayer for saints (the "holy" ones); and (3) v 25: "Righteous Father", Christ's prayer re the "world".

GLORIFY YOUR SON: As in Joh 13:31,32. "Thou art my servant, in whom I will be glorified" (Isa 49:3-6). Cp Eph 1:20,23; Phi 2:7-11; Rev 5:2-6,8-14. "Ask of me" (Psa 2:8).

Joh 17:2

AUTHORITY: To fulfill Dan 7:14. Cp v 13 with Rev 1:7.

ALL PEOPLE: No artificial limits to Christ's power as Lord and Judge: Mat 28:18.


Joh 17:3

The two greatest Bible studies: God, and His Son!

The present aspect of eternal life: Joh 3:36; 5:24; 6:47,54; 10:28; 1 Jo 5:11,13. "Eternal life" on a continuum: a widening experience, leading to a fulness of personal knowledge in the age to come.

"In Christ eternal life, the life of God Himself, was brought into the experience of men that they might know it and share in it themselves -- in some measure here and now, perfectly and everlastingly in the day 'when he shall appear' and when by God's grace 'we shall be like him'... It is a truth to ponder upon, to weigh in the mind, to carry with one through all the complexities and uncertainties of this mortal life, to call to remembrance in moments of crisis and decision, to rest upon in the less dramatic routines of daily living" (MP).

See Lesson, Eternal life now?

"We must be able to go to bed each night knowing a lot more about God and His Word than we did the night before. This is the only real purpose of our life, and any day this is not true is a day criminally wasted: a day to give account of at the judgment seat of Christ... 'Knowing' God is not just meeting Him only, but a constant, ever-expanding understanding and familiarity and intimacy. To 'know' God is not to know about Him, but to be allowed into His friendship and company and interest -- and this is granted to those only whose life's ambition is that their hearts may be increasingly pure: increasingly emptied of the flesh and filled with the Spirit" (GVG).

TRUE: The God who is real, in ct to any representation or symbol. Cp 1Th 1:9.

Joh 17:4

How? By miracles (Joh 2:11; 11:4,40; 5:36; 9:4), by teaching (Joh 7:16,18; 4:34), and -- now -- by his impending sacrifice (Joh 19:30). Cp Peter's summary in Act 2:22-24.

BY COMPLETING THE WORK YOU GAVE ME TO DO: "It is finished!" (John 19:30).

Joh 17:5

Cp the Shekinah Glory displayed to Moses (Exo 34).

Joh 17:6

"I have manifested thy name" (AV), which includes 'your character and purpose' (cp Exo 34:5-7).

YOU GAVE THEM TO ME: Cp Adam and Eve, "the woman you gave me" (Gen 3:12). Where Adam failed, the last Adam succeeded.

OBEYED: Obedience to God's word: the basis for Christ's appeal on their behalf.

Joh 17:8

I GAVE THEM THE WORDS YOU GAVE ME: The "Moses" theme again: Receiving the law directly from God, and then delivering it to men (Deu 18:18; 31:9).

Joh 17:9

I PRAY FOR THEM: Cp Moses' intercession for Israel: Exo 32:30-33.

I AM NOT PRAYING: Cp Mat 10:32,33; Jer 11:14.

THE WORLD: "That hostile Jewish world of entrenched privilege, religious distortion, and consolidated prejudice" (WGos 702).

Joh 17:11

THAT THEY MAY BE ONE: Repeated four times here alone (vv 11,21,22,23). In the same way that Jesus is "one" with God, so all believers may be "one". The doctrine of the One Body: Rom 12:5; 1Co 10:17; 12:12-27; Eph 4:4-6. The conscious and deliberate effort of every member is needed to preserve this ideal of divine unity.

Joh 17:12

KEEP THEM SAFE: Passover language (cp Exo 12:22)!

NONE HAS BEEN LOST: Quoted in Joh 18:9 re Jesus' plea in Gethsemane.

THE ONE DOOMED TO DESTRUCTION: 2Th 2:3: "son of perdition" (AV).

THAT SCRIPTURE WOULD BE FULFILLED: Psa 109:7,8; 55:12-14; 41:9 (quoted in Joh 13:18); 35:12-14.

Joh 17:13

"In thy presence is fulness of joy" (Psa 16:11). Cp Joh 15:11; 16:22,24.

FULL MEASURE OF MY JOY: "Joy: the healthiest, happiest, most satisfying human emotion. God offers it freely to all, in measureless abundance; immediately, permanently, eternally, perfectly; under all circumstances and in all situations -- but -- only on one immutable condition: total separation from the world, and total devotion to Him in love and service. Part way will accomplish nothing but disappointment and frustration, for the very essence of the joy itself is dependent on the absolute totality. Let's face it: it's all or nothing. What do we call people who hoard trash and throw away diamonds?" (GVG).

Joh 17:15

THE EVIL ONE: "Evil" (RSV mg), or "the evil" (AV). Not necessarily a single being. But IF a single being, then either Judas (v 12) or Caiaphas (Joh 13:2; 14:30; 16:11).

Joh 17:17

SANCTIFY: The cleansing effect of God's word: Joh 15:3; Eph 5:26.

TRUTH: "Faithfulness" (cp Heb "Amen"): related to the covenant promises ("faithfulness" in Exo 34:6; cp 2Sa 7:28; Psa 132:11; Mic 7:20) -- which God is faithful to keep.

Joh 17:19

FOR THEM I SANCTIFY MYSELF: Christ knew that his death -- and only his death -- could possibly inspire his followers to show the love and unity which he desired of them.

Joh 17:20

THOSE WHO WILL BELIEVE IN ME THROUGH THEIR MESSAGE: Plainly, a wider scope to the preaching of Jesus' followers.

Joh 17:22

I HAVE GIVEN THEM THE GLORY THAT YOU GAVE ME: "Behold the superlative liberality of the Lord Jesus, for he hath given us his all. Although a tithe of his possessions would have made a universe of angels rich beyond all thought, yet was he not content until he had given us all that he had. It would have been surprising grace if he had allowed us to eat the crumbs of his bounty beneath the table of his mercy; but he will do nothing by halves, He makes us sit with him and share the feast. Had he given us some small pension from his royal coffers, we should have had cause to love him eternally; but no, he will have his bride as rich as himself, and he will not have a glory or a grace in which she shall not share. He has not been content with less than making us joint-heirs with himself, so that we might have equal possessions" (CHS).

Joh 17:24

WHERE I AM: Not mere physical location, but rather Christ's status, or condition, of unity with his Father.

Joh 17:25

RIGHTEOUS FATHER: "Righteous and holy is the LORD... I have proclaimed his name" (Deu 32:4; cp Exo 34:5-7).

THE WORLD DOES NOT KNOW YOU: "He came unto his own, and his own received him not" (Joh 1:11).

Joh 17:26

"I have declared unto them thy NAME" (AV, cp v 6). Christ manifested God's "Name" (Phi 2:7) by his character and actions (Mat 5:48; Phi 2:5; Eph 4:24; 5:1,2).

More specifically, the fullest title over the cross, in Hebrew, reads: "Yeshua [Jesus] Ha-Natzr [of Nazareth] u'Melek [the King] Ha-Yehudim [of the Jews]" -- spells out, as an acronym, the very name of God: "YHWH".

THAT THE LOVE YOU HAVE FOR ME MAY BE IN THEM: "Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus" (Rom 8:35-39). Cp Paul's prayer in Eph 3:17-19 (and all of Eph 3:14-21).

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