Bible Commentaries

Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

John 17

Verses 1-26

Jesus Prays to the Father: Jesus Commends the Disciples unto the Father- When the disciples finally acknowledged their understanding of this teaching, Jesus ends His discourse with them and commends them unto the Lord by praying to the Father ( John 17:1-26). This commendation is the "handover" of His disciples to the Father, which handover will be completed on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit comes and fills the believers. The Jewish leaders believed that if they could kill Jesus as the leader of this little band of fanatics, then the disciples would scatter. The Romans had dismantled a number of similar bands of zealous Jews in the past, so the Jewish leaders believe that this would turn out no different. However, they were too late in seizing Jesus, for He had already handed His disciples over to the Father. Although the Holy Spirit would not be poured out until the day of Pentecost, so that there would be a period of transition, the disciples were safely entrusted into the care of the Father, and the procreation of the Kingdom of Heaven made sure. Jesus' physical presence upon earth no longer necessitated the growth of the Kingdom of Heaven, for the disciples would now become "little Christs," anointed by the Holy Spirit to continue what Jesus simply began.

After the disciples acknowledge their faith and understanding in Jesus' teachings to prepare them for His Passion at the Last Supper, He then turns to the Father in prayer. He will now continue in this attitude of prayer until His death on the Cross.

Outline - Here is a proposed outline:

1. Jesus Prays for His Own Glorification — John 17:1-5

2. Jesus Prays for the Glorification of His Disciples — John 17:6-26

John 17:1-5 — Jesus Prays to the Father: Jesus Prays for His Own Glorification - The emphasis in John 1:1-5 is Jesus praying for the restoration of His glory with the Father that was with Him in the beginning. Simply said, Jesus is praying for His fellowship with His Father to be fully restored. Up until now we have only read in the four Gospels about Jesus retreating in privacy to pray unto the Father. Now, for the first time, we actually get a glimpse of this intimate relationship as Jesus prays to the Father. In John 17:1-26 the disciples were with Jesus Christ; so perhaps for the first time, they saw His intimacy with the Father. Jesus had loved His disciples until the end, but His ultimate love was for His Father. This is why in his last hours He retreated with His friends to the Last Supper. However, His last few minutes were spent with His Father, and not with His friends. It is this love that drove Jesus to the Cross, but it was the Father's love for the world that caused Him to send His Son to Calvary ( John 3:16). There is only room in a person's heart for one true "lover." All else are friends. Jesus loved His friends, who were the disciples, but He loved the Father more than them all. The Heavenly Father was His one true love. Jesus' love for His Father exceeded His love for all others. This is the passion that drove Jesus to do all that He did during His earthly ministry. It was a love that exceeded man's desire for women, similar to Jonathan's loved David ( 1 Samuel 1:26), for Jesus never pursued marriage. In the same sense, it is our love for God that drives us into Christian ministry, and this is what Paul meant when he said, "For whether we be beside ourselves, it is to God: or whether we be sober, it is for your cause. For the love of Christ constraineth us," ( 2 Corinthians 5:13-14). In other words, Paul was saying, "Our love for Christ drives us to do what we do."

John 17:1 — "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven" - Scripture Reference-

John 11:41, "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me."

John 17:1 — "and said, Father, the hour is come" - Comments- Jesus referred to His hour a number of times during His earthly ministry. He began His public ministry by telling His disciples that His hour had not yet come ( John 2:4). Jesus referred to it throughout His ministry. Thus, the hour of His Passion and Resurrection remained at the forefront of His thoughts during His entire ministry.

John 2:4, "Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come."

John 7:30, "Then they sought to take him: but no man laid hands on him, because his hour was not yet come."

John 8:20, "These words spake Jesus in the treasury, as he taught in the temple: and no man laid hands on him; for his hour was not yet come."

John 12:23, "And Jesus answered them, saying, The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified."

John 12:27, "Now is my soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour."

John 13:1, "Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end."

John 17:4 — "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" - Comments- Jesus fulfilled His divine purpose on earth, the plan that God had for His life. In fact, God calls each one of us into a destiny. Paul the apostle fulfilled his destiny ( 2 Timothy 4:7). Unfortunately, few of us finish our divine destinies.

2 Timothy 4:7, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"

John 17:5Comments- In John 17:5 Jesus is praying for full restoration of intimate fellowship with His Father.

John 17:6-26 — Jesus Prays for the Glorification of His Disciples- In John 17:6-26 Jesus prays for the disciples and entrusts them into the hands of the Father. He asks the Father to recognize their faith in His Word ( John 17:6-11), for the Father to keep them ( John 17:11-16) and to sanctify them ( John 17:17-19) and that they may be one with Him and share His glory ( John 17:20-26). In a similar way Paul went through Asia Minor and entrusted his converts into the hands of God upon his departure from each city ( Acts 14:23).

Acts 14:23, "And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed."

John 17:12 — "but the son of perdition" - Comments - The Greek phrase " ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας" (the son of perdition) appears to be a Hebraism since similar phrases can be found in the LXX in which Isaiah 34:5 uses the phrase " τὸν λαὸν τῆς ἀπωλείας," Isaiah 57:4 uses the phrase " τέκνα ἀπωλείας," and 2 Samuel 12:5 uses the phrase " υἱὸς θανάτου." 253]

253] George R. Beasley-Murray, John, in Word Biblical Commentary: 58 Volumes on CD-Rom, vol 36 (second edition), eds. Bruce M. Metzger, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker (Dallas: Word Inc, 2002), in Libronix Digital Library System, v 30b [CD-ROM] (Bellingham, WA: Libronix Corp, 2004), comments on John 17:12.

Isaiah 34:5, "For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment."

Isaiah 57:4, "Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,"

2 Samuel 12:5, "And David"s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:"

The phrase "son of perdition" is found two times in the New Testament ( John 17:12, 2 Thessalonians 2:3). This phrase refers to Judas Iscariot ( John 17:12) and to the antichrist or world leader that reveals himself during the Tribulation Period ( 2 Thessalonians 2:3). We see Jesus using a similar phrase, "child of hell." Paul the apostle uses a similar type of metaphor in the phrase "children of light" ( Ephesians 5:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:5)

John 17:12, "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.'

2 Thessalonians 2:3, "Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;"

Matthew 23:15, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."

Ephesians 5:8, "For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:"

1 Thessalonians 5:5, "Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."

John 17:12 — "that the scripture might be fulfilled" - Comments - According to John 13:18, the Old Testament Scripture that Jesus was referring to in John 17:12 regarding His betrayal by Judas Iscariot was Psalm 41:9. An additional Old Testament prophecy that refers to the replacement of the office of Judas Iscariot is found in Psalm 69:25 ( Psalm 109:8 is similar) and Acts 1:20.

John 13:18, "I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with me hath lifted up his heel against me."

Psalm 41:9, "Yea, mine own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, which did eat of my bread, hath lifted up his heel against me."

Acts 1:20, "For it is written in the book of Psalm, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take."

Psalm 69:25, "Let their habitation be desolate; and let none dwell in their tents."

Psalm 109:8, "Let his days be few; and let another take his office."

John 17:17 Scripture References- Note reference verses:

John 15:3, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you."

Ephesians 5:26, "That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,"

1 Timothy 4:5, "For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer."

2 Peter 1:4, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."

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Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on John 17". Gary H. Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. 2013.