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Friday, May 17th, 2024
the Seventh Week after Easter
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Bible Commentaries
John 17

Concordant Commentary of the New TestamentConcordant NT Commentary

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Verses 1-3

12 The words of our Lord preserved for us in the four accounts of His life come very far from giving us all that He had to say. They were sadly limited by the incapacity of His hearers. Even His closest disciples could not understand some of the simplest facts, simply told. They would not listen to the story of His supreme sacrifice. His temporary departure was a puzzle to them. As the great galaxy of truth subsequently revealed depends on His shameful death and glorious exaltation for its very foundation, how could they begin to understand?

Hence it will be seen that the transcendent truths of Scripture should not be sought in the words of our Lord, but in the subsequent utterances of the spirit of truth. Furthermore, much could not be revealed until Israel had once more definitely refused the proclamation of the kingdom by the apostles, as recorded in the book of Acts. This, and the fact that the spirit is given a much larger place in Paul's ministry than ever before, leads us to look in his epistles for the supreme revelation. And a thorough study will convince us that this is so, for he it is who reveals those secrets which enabled him to "complete the word of God" ( Col_1:25 ). He takes us back before Genesis ( Eph_1:4 ), and brings us far beyond the Unveiling ( 1Co_15:24 ). Any system of theology which plays our Lord's words against Paul's, or does not recognize the predominant place of Paul's epistles for the present, is in practical opposition to the plain statement made by our Lord Himself. Much of what our Lord wished to say He has spoken through His apostles, by means of that spirit of truth which would enable them to apprehend what would otherwise be beyond them. The great apostasy of the present time is largely fortified by the refusal to heed these clear declarations of the Lord Himself. The truth especially given for the nations is ignored and the truth intended only for the Circumcision, more especially that taught by our Lord, is wrested from its place and forced into a position for which it was never intended.

27 There is a common but false feeling that God is a stern Judge but Christ a lenient Saviour. This is very wrong, for Christ is but a reflection of the Father. Christ Himself in His time will be a Judge and deal out justice. But let us not imagine that He came to appease God’s wrath entirely of His own volition. All that He did was in obedience to the will of God and in order to display the heart of God. It is a sure sign of true spiritual progress when we are enabled to look through Christ to the God that He portrays.

28 His miraculous entry into the world is more than matched by His marvelous exit. He alone knew what His childlike words implied: "I am leaving the world and going to the Father:" Little did His disciples dream of the shame and suffering, distress and death that lay upon that appalling path to the Father!

31 Their belief in His return to the Father fled when the hour of His trial arrived. Had they believed they would not have forsaken Him at a time when He needed them most.

32 Compare Mat_26:31 ; Mar_14:27 .

33 "I have conquered the world." Who thinks of the lowly Nazarene as a world conqueror? Who would include Him in such a list? The world would mention Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, Napoleon. These have written their names in blood on the bar sinister of the world's escutcheon. No one gives them homage now. The sober and sane shudder at their sinful excesses. Christ is the real world conqueror! He has held the homage of men's hearts and will bend them into perfect acquiescence with the will of God.

3 The knowledge of God is not given as the definition of eonian life, but eonian life is imparted that they may be knowing Him. Eonian life is life during the eons of Christ's reign and glory. Two methods are used by Him to acquaint His saints with Himself. First, they are left to taste the sorrows of sin at a distance from Him. Then, in the eons of the eons, in glorious fellowship with His Son, each high tide of bliss will mark some new discovery of His love, some fresh token of His affection.

Verses 4-26

4 The charge against all mankind is that all sin and are wanting of the glory of God ( Rom_3:23 ). God guarantees to give glory and honor and incorruption to all who endure in good acts. Our Lord is the only one who can claim the reward. He is the only one who glorified God on the earth. He is the only one who accomplished the work God gave Him. Hence it seems perfectly natural for Him to demand glorification. Yet He does not ask for the glory His work deserves, but the glory which He had before the world is. He leaves His reward with God Himself. The saints will be a precious part of it.

6 Hebrew names were usually most expressive of character, life or ministry. Even we speak of a good or a bad "name", referring rather to character than sound or significance. Among the Jews the name of their God was given the honor due to the deity, hence it was never pronounced. Christ manifested God's name by displaying His attributes in His life and conduct. It is a precious thought to consider the disciples as a gift from the Father to His Son. As such, He valued them, not for their own sakes alone, but because of the Giver. It is this interweaving of human lives into the affections of God and His Christ which should give us the greatest cause for confidence and comfort. Our little lives are bound up with the love of God for His Son and the Son's response to the Father. As He says (10), all His belong to God,

and all God's are His. It is a great thing to have a God. But it is a much greater to know ourselves as the valued possession of God and His Beloved.

10 Glory consists in the esteem in which we are held by others. In the world Christ had no glory then, but in His own He was esteemed more than ever was the lot of man, and it has come to pass that, even in the world that rejects Him and repudiates His teaching, His name is placed upon the pinnacle of moral glory.

11 It seems evident that, in spirit, the Lord is beyond the cross. There it was that He finished His work (4), and until then He was still in the world.

19 That holiness, or sanctification, Is not essentially a cleansing from sin Is evident from this statement, for our Lord would not cleanse Himself from His own sin, for He had none, and He was not cleansed from, but bore, the sins of others. When the priest was consecrated, his hands were filled with the sacrifice. Real holiness consists in a positive occupation with the things of God, rather than a negative absence of sin.

22 The unity existing between the Son and the Father is here defined, for He desires the same oneness for His disciples. It is a unity of spirit and a community of interests which characterized the early disciples. This is the unity which exists between the Son and the Father. There is no thought of identity. How distinct they were in will, which is the vital element in personality, was to be seen a little later, in the garden of Gethsemane, where the will of Christ was not in line with God's. The cross was not His will, but the subordination of it to His Father.

23 It is with awed hearts and unshod feet that we enter into the pure precincts of God's love to His Son. We feel most unworthy to listen to such sacred secrets. Before the disruption, before sin or sorrow or a single sigh had sent its shadows across this scene, God's love for His Son had its birth. He came into the world, not to win God's love, but in response to it. His whole ministry was an exhibition of it, and an appeal for a suitable response. Now He reveals its fullest force, when He declares that God loves them as He loved Him. Few of His followers at that time, or even after the enlightening aid of the spirit that He had promised, entered into the fullness of this marvelous manifestation of God's affections.

1 The visits to this garden seem to have been the only pleasure the Lord allowed Himself during His ministry. In the arid East a watered garden is a delightful spot in contrast to its surroundings. How sad that this should witness the awful agony, instead of providing rest and refreshment!

1-3 Compare Mat_26:36-50 ; Mar_14:32-46 ; Luk_22:39-48 .

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 17". Concordant Commentary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/aek/john-17.html. 1968.
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