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Bible Commentaries
John 17

Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical CommentaryAlford's Greek Testament Commentary

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Verse 1

1. ] ταῦτα , the foregoing discourse. St. John very seldom depicts the gestures or looks of our Lord, as here. But this was an occasion of which the impression was indelible, and the upward look could not be passed over.

εἰς τὸν οὐρ . ] Nothing hereby is determined as to the locality. The guest-chamber no doubt was the place of this prayer. The eyes may be lifted to heaven in as well as out of doors; heaven is not the sky, but that upper region, above our own being and thoughts, where we all agree in believing God to be especially present; and which we indicate when we direct our eyes or our hands upward. The Lord, being in all such things like as we are, lifted up His eyes to heaven when addressing the Father (not His hands , for He prays not here as a suppliant but as an intercessor and a High Priest, standing between earth and heaven, see John 17:24 , θέλω ἵνα .… ).

καὶ εἶπεν ] It is impossible to regard the following prayer otherwise than as the very words of our Lord Himself, faithfully rendered by the beloved Apostle in the power of the Holy Spirit . The view which has led so many of the best German Commentators (even Olshausen) to see in parts of it the words of the Evangelist, and not of our Lord, is, it seems to me, inconsistent with any earnest reception of the Gospels as truthful. If such a promise as ch. Joh 14:26 was made, and fulfilled , then these must be the words of the Lord Himself; and the Greek form of them only (and query whether even that? see Prolegg. ch. ii. § ii. ( π )) can be regarded as bearing evidence of the style and manner of John.

πάτερ , not, Our Father, which He never could say, nor, My Father, which would be too great a separation between Himself and His for such a prayer (see Matthew 26:0 :(39), 42, where He prays for Himself only) but simply FATHER; that Great Name in which all the mystery of Redemption is summed up. “Sic patrem absolute appellat in hac oratione dulci et prolixa quater, et cum epitheto bis, in universum nonnisi sexies, idque fere ineunte nova sermonis parte, John 17:1 ; John 17:5 ; John 17:11 ; John 17:21 ; John 17:24-25 . Talis simplicitas appellationis ante omnes decuit filium Dei.” Bengel.

ἐλήλ . ἡ ὥρα ] See ch. John 12:23 ; John 12:28 ; John 13:31-32 . The Glorification is the exaltation by Death and Resurrection: He prays in the Manhood and for the exaltation of the Manhood, but in virtue of His Godhead, John 17:5 .

τὸν υἱόν ] He prays first objectively, to set the great matter forth in all its majesty; then subjectively, δόξασόν με σύ , John 17:5 , putting Himself into the place of τὸν υἱόν here.

ἵνα ] “These words are a proof that the Son is equal to the Father as touching His Godhead. What creature could stand before his Creator and say, ‘Glorify Thou me, that I may glorify Thee?’ ” (Stier.)

This glorifying of the Father by the Son is, the whole great result of the glorification of the Son by the Father, the manifestation of God to and in men by the Son through the Spirit.

Verses 1-26

1 26. ] HIS LOVE IN THE GLORIFICATION OF THE SON OF GOD. The parting prayer of the Lord Jesus: and herein, for Himself (1 5): for His disciples (6 19): for all believers, that they may be one (20, 21), that they may be glorified in the completion of that unity (22 24), for their abiding in the union of love, the perfection of divine knowledge (25, 26). “Hoc caput in tota scriptura est verbis facillimum, sensibus profundissimum.” Bengel. “Poterat Dominus noster unigenitus et coæternus Patri in forma servi et ex forma servi, si hoc opus esset, orare silentio; sed ita se Patri exhibere voluit precatorem, ut meminisset, nostrum se esse doctorem. Proinde eam, quam fecit, orationem pronobis, notam fecit et nobis: quoniam tanti Magistri non solum apud ipsos sermocinatio,, sed etiam ipsius pro ipsis ad Patrem oratio discipulorum est edificatio. Et si illorum qui hæc dicta erant audituri, profecto et nostra, qui fueramus conscriptalecturi.” Aug [228] Tr. civ. 2.

[228] Augustine, Bp. of Hippo , 395 430

Verse 2

2. ] “The causal connexion expressed by καθώς is this, that the glorification, the end , must correspond to the beginning , to the sending, the preparation, and office of the Son.” (Lücke.) We must also bear in mind that the ‘giving of power’ in this verse is the ground , as well as the type , of the glorification, see Rom 1:28 ; 1 Corinthians 1:6 ; so Stier (v. 383, edn. 2).

πᾶσα σάρξ is not only ‘all mankind,’ but (see Genesis 7:15-16 ; Gen 7:21 ) all that has life , all that is subject to death, all that is cursed on account of sin. But of this all, mankind is the head and crown, and in the full blessings of the Lordship of Christ mankind only can participate. πᾶσα σάρξ is given by the Father from before the foundation of the world to Christ; the whole creation is His to rule, His to judge, by virtue of His being, in the root of that human nature, to which sovereignty over the world was given, THE SECOND AND RIGHTEOUS ADAM.

But in this wide gift, there is a more special gift , ὃ δέδωκας αὐτῷ in the stricter sense, the chosen , they who believe on Him. And to them, and them only, He imparts the further and ineffable gift consequent on union with Him their God in the Spirit, viz. ETERNAL LIFE (compare ch. John 5:26-27 ; also Joh 6:37 ).

Verse 3

3. ] See a similar definition of a term just used, in ch. John 3:19 . δέ , as there, is transitional; bringing out, in fact, the contrast between the incidental mention of the word, and its more solemn definition.

ἐστιν is; not is the way to . The knowledge spoken of is no mere head or heart knowledge, the mere information of the mind, or excitation of the feelings, but that living reality of knowledge and personal realization, that oneness in will with God, and partaking of His nature, which IS itself life eternal: the knowledge, love, enjoyment, of Him who is infinite, being themselves infinite. ἡ ὕπαρξις τῆς ζωῆς ἐκ τῆς τοῦ θεοῦ περιγίνεται μετοχῆς · μετοχὴ δὲ θεοῦ ἐστι τὸ γινώσκειν θεὸν καὶ ἀπολαύειν τῆς χρηστότητος αὐτοῦ . Iren [229] adv. Hær. iv. 20. 5, p. 254.

[229] Irenæus, Bp. of Lyons, 178 (Iren-int as represented by his interpreter; Iren-gr, when his own words are preserved)

The accusatives after γινώσκ . are purely accusatives of the person, and the emphasis is on γινώσκ . From not seeing this, various mistakes have arisen e.g. the making τὸν μόν . ἀλ . θεόν the predicate, ‘ Thee to be the only true God ,’ and similarly with χριστόν (which would require τὸν χρ .) or with ὃν ἀπέστειλας , ‘ Jesus, whom Thou hast sent, to be ( the ) Christ ,’ or ‘ Jesus Christ to be Him whom Thou hast sent .’ It is rightly rendered in E. V.

The Latin Fathers (Aug [230] , Amb., Hil [231] ), anxious to avoid the inference unwarrantably drawn by some from this verse against the Godhead of Christ, construed: ἵνα γιν . σε κ . Ἰ . χ . ὃν ἀπ ., τὸν μόνον ἀλ . θεόν , which is of course inadmissible. Others (Chrys., Euth.), construing rightly, yet regarded Jesus Christ as included in the words μόν . ἀληθ . θεόν . But all such violences to the text are unnecessary. For, first, the very juxtaposition of Jesus Christ here with the Father, and the knowledge of both being defined to be eternal life, is a proof by implication of the Godhead of the former. The knowledge of God and a creature could not be eternal life, and the juxtaposition of the two would be inconceivable. Secondly, the ὃν ἀπέστειλας most distinctly expresses the ἐξελθεῖν from God, Joh 17:8 implies the ἡμεῖς ἕν of John 17:22 , and cannot, in connexion with what follows, possibly be understood in a Socinian, or an Arian sense. I do not scruple to use and preach on the verse as a plain proof of the co-equality of the Lord Jesus in the Godhead.

[230] Augustine, Bp. of Hippo , 395 430

[231] Hilary, Bp. of Poictiers , 354

A difficulty has been found in the use of the name JESUS CHRIST by the Lord Himself: and inferences have been hence made that we have John’s own language here: but surely without any ground. He who said σου τὸν υἱόν , John 17:1 , might well here, before the ἐγώ of John 17:4 , use that prophetic Name [ Ἰησοῦς ] which had been divinely given Him as the Saviour of men, and its weighty adjunct χριστός (= υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ , 1 John 5:1 ; 1Jn 5:5 ), in which Names are all the hidden treasures of that knowledge of which He here speaks.

And as to the later use of the two names together having led to their insertion here by the Apostle ( gegen das geschichtliche Decorum , De Wette; similarly Lücke, and even Olshausen), what if the converse were the case , and this solemn use of them by our Lord had given occasion to their subsequent use by the Church? This is to me much more probable than the other.

Verse 4

4. ] The past tenses are proleptical. In the rendering of this whole chapter they should be kept indefinite, not made into perfects as in E. V., which destroys this proleptical character. I glorified Thee … I finished … What view of the aorist has led to Bp. Wordsworth’s explanation here, “the aorist is used, not the perfect, masmuch as the work of glorification was still going on, and not to be completed before His Passion, when He would say τετέλεσται ,” I am quite unable to imagine. That the aorist implies present continuance , is at least a startling doctrine. The force of it here surely is, that our Lord stands by anticipation at the end of His accomplished course, and looks back on it all as past, as historically gathered up in one act: which is the very sense and propriety of the aorist.

τὸ ἔργον is not only the ministerial life of our Lord, but the whole Life, with all its appointed manifestations of humility and purity, the perfect righteousness which by that life He has planted in our nature, and His prophetic and declarative office, terminated by His Passion and Death.

Verse 5

5. δόξασόν με ] Notice the correlation, which Meyer has pointed out, between ἐγώ σε before and με σύ now. The same Person ( ἐγώ ) who had with the Father glory before the world, also glorified the Father in the world, and prays to be again received into that glory. A decisive proof of the unity of the Person of Christ , in His three estates of eternal præ-existence in glory, humiliation in the flesh, and glorification in the Resurrection Body.

This direct testimony to the eternal præ-existence of the Son of God has been evaded by the Socinian and also the Arminian interpreters, by rendering εἶχον , “habebam destinatione tua ,” Grot., Wets [232] . On the identity of the δόξα in Joh 17:22 with this δόξα , see note there.

[232] Wetstein.

εἶχον ] “ Hic non dicit accepi . Semper habebat: nunquam cœpit habere.” Bengel.

πρὸ τοῦ τ . κ . εἶν ., before the καταβολὴ κόσμου , John 17:24 ; ‘before all creation.’ “Antequam fieret mundus, gloriam illam habebat Filius; sed cum fieret mundus, gloria illa se cœpit (?) exserere.” Bengel.

παρὰ σοί = πρὸς τὸν θεόν , ch. John 1:1 ; εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρός , ch. John 1:18 .

Verse 6

6. ] This verse particularizes John 17:4 , and forms the transition to the intercessory prayer.

σου τὸ ὄνομα ] Thy Name of FATHER, which was so constantly on the lips of our Lord; and which derived its living meaning and power from His teaching: see Exodus 23:21 . No especial emphasis on σου : it carries on the strain of address, and points to the emphatic σοί which follows, and the equally emphatic παρὰ σοῦ in John 17:7 .

οὓς δέδ . ] The Father gave them to Christ, by leading them to Christ, see ch. John 6:37 ; John 6:44-45 .

σοὶ ἦσαν ] Thine ( σοί , from σός ) they were Israelites Thy people, before: not only outwardly, but Israelites indeed, see ch. John 1:48 , and thus prepared to receive Christ (so Stier, v. 411 ff., edn. 2). And thus the ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου answers to λαβεῖν ἑαυτῷ ἔθνος ἐκ μέσου ἔθνους , Deuteronomy 4:34 . But see the fuller sense below, on John 17:9 .

τὸν λ . σου τετήρηκαν ] They have observed Thy word walked in the path of Thy commandments; for so λόγον τηρεῖν means: see ch. Joh 14:23 and reff.

Stier understands their walking in the O.T. ordinances blameless, as Luke 1:6 , and thus (compare ch. John 1:42 ; Joh 1:46 ) recognizing Christ as the Messiah when He came. But this is perhaps hardly likely to have been set at the end of the sentence, after ἐμοὶ αὐτοὺς δέδωκας . It is more likely that τὸν λόγον σου = τὰ ῥήματα ἃ δέδωκάς μοι , John 17:8 , and is proleptically spoken.

Verses 6-19

6 19. ] He prays for His disciples .

Verse 7

7. ] πάντα ὅσα δέδ . μοι , ‘My whole words and works:’ εἰσίν , as contemplated in their separate meanings and testimonies: q. d. ‘are all from Thee:’ the collective assertion see at John 17:10 .

On this their conviction, which however had not reached its ripeness yet, see ch. John 16:30 .

Verse 8

8. ] Notice particularly here, as indeed throughout, the marked difference between the aorists and the perfects.

τὰ ῥ .… δέδ . αὐτοῖς , and the similar sayings ch. Joh 15:15 alli [233] ., seem to be a reference to Deuteronomy 18:18-19 , where it is said that the Prophet “shall speak unto them all that I shall command Him.” The imparting to them of these ῥήματα was the efficient cause of their faith: see their confession ch. John 6:68-69 , where πεπιστεύκαμεν and ἐγνώκαμεν are connected as here.

[233] alli = some cursive mss.

On the two last clauses we may notice that παρὰ σοῦ ἐξῆλθον is more a matter of conviction from inference (see ch. Joh 3:2 ), ἔγνωσαν : whereas the other side of the same truth, σύ με ἀπέστειλας , the act of the Father unseen by us, is more a matter of pure faith , ἐπίστευσαν . In the first, the ἔγνωσαν ἀληθῶς stamps our Lord’s approval on their knowledge, and distinguishes it from such knowledge as the bare οἴδαμεν [ch. Joh 3:2 ] of Nicodemus and his colleagues.

Verse 9

9. ] Stier remarks, that the Lord here begins to fulfil His promise Matthew 10:32 .

οὐ περὶ τ. κόσμου ἐρ. ] The misconceptions which have been made of this verse (Calvin, Lampe, and even Luther, who elsewhere corrects himself, see Tholuck on John, edn. 6, p. 352) as implying a decree of exclusion for the vessels of wrath, may be at once removed by considering the usage of ὁ κόσμος in this Prayer. The Lord does pray distinctly for ὁ κόσμος , John 17:21 ; John 17:23 , that they may believe and know that the Father hath sent Him. He cannot therefore mean here that He does not pray (absolutely) for the world, but that He is not now asking for the world, does not pray this thing for the world. These ( οὓς δέδωκάς μοι ) have already believed and known; the prayer for them is therefore a different one, viz. that in John 17:11 ; John 17:15 . The mistake would be at once precluded for English readers by the paraphrase, I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world.

ὅτι σοί εἰσιν in a fuller sense than σοὶ ἦσαν , John 17:6 . That was their preparation for Christ; this is their abiding in Him, which is abiding in the Father, see next verse.

Verse 10

10. ] Compare ch. Joh 16:15 and note. “It were not so much if He had only said, ‘All Mine is Thine;’ for that we may all say, that all we have is God’s. But this is a far greater thing, that He inverts this and says, ‘All Thine is Mine.’ This can no creature say before God.” Luther, Stier, v. 418, edn. 2.

The E. V., ‘All Mine are Thine,’ &c., gives the erroneous impression that persons only are meant, whereas it is all things , in the widest meaning, the Godhead itself included , of which this is asserted.

ἐν αὐτοῖς , not ‘ by their means ,’ but in them; by that ἐγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς of John 17:23 , the life of the vine in the branches; so that the fruit of the branches is the glory of the vine, by the sap of the vine living in the branches. All this again is proleptic.

Verse 11

11. ] The occasion , and substance of His prayer for them.

οὐκ ἔτι εἰμὶ ἐν τῷ κ . ] This shews us that ὁ κόσμ . is not said of place alone, for the Lord Jesus is still here; but of state , the state of men in the flesh; sometimes viewed on its darker side, as overcoming men and bringing in spiritual death, sometimes, as here, used in the most general sense.

καί , not but; it expresses the simultaneous state of the Lord and His, see ch. John 16:32 , and note.

ἅγιε ] Holy , as applied to God, peculiarly expresses that penetration of all His attributes by LOVE, which He only who here uttered it sees through in its length, breadth, and height: which angels (Isaiah 6:3 ; Rev 4:8 ) feel and express: which men are privileged to utter, but can never worthily feel: but which devils can neither feel nor worthily utter (see Mar 1:24 ). They know His Power and His Justice only. But His Holiness is especially employed in this work of τηρεῖν now spoken of.

ἐν τῷ ὀν . σου , not ‘ through Thine own Name,’ as E. V. which yet renders ‘ in Thy Name’ John 17:12 (so Chrys., Theophyl., Euthym [234] ), but in the ὄνομα of John 17:6 ; John 17:12 : see below.

[234] Euthymius Zigabenus, 1116

] Not only the best supported, but the best reading, though Stier maintains that it can bear no meaning χριστοπρεπῶς .

The Name of God is that which was to be in the Angel of the Covenant , Exodus 23:21 , see also Isaiah 9:6 ; Jeremiah 23:6 .

This Name, not the essential God-head, but the covenant name, JEHOVAH OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS, the Father hath given to Christ , see Philippians 2:9 ; and it is the being kept in this, the truth and confession of this, for which He here prays. “That which the Son has given to His disciples is no other than that which He himself has received from the Father, viz. the essential revelation of the Father.” Luthardt. Cf. Matthew 10:27 .

ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθ . ἡμεῖς ] The oneness here is not merely harmony of will or of love, as some have interpreted it, and then tried to weaken the Oneness of the Godhead by the καθώς , but oneness by the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ, the gift of the covenant ( 1Co 6:17 ), and ultimately [as the close union implied by καθώς requires] oneness of nature, 2 Peter 1:4 , where the ἐπαγγέλματα δεδώρηται answers to the ὄνομα ὃ δέδωκάς μοι here. “Non ait, ut nobiscum sint unum , aut simus unum ipsi et nos, sicut unum sumus nos, sed ait, ut sint unum sicut et nos.” Aug [235] Tract, cvii. 5.

[235] Augustine, Bp. of Hippo , 395 430

Verse 12

12. ἐφύλαξα ] See ch. John 10:28-30 . The aor. should be adhered to again: I kept them. The Lord here, as Cyril remarks, compares His keeping of His own, to that by the Father , in a way only accountable by both Persons being of equal Power and Dignity.

οὐδεὶς εἰ μὴ ] So that Judas was of the number οὓς δέδωκάς μοι of John 17:9 , shewing us (1) the sense in which those words must be understood (see above); and (2) that of such persons it is true that there is for them no ‘gratia irresistibilis,’ no ‘keeping in God’s Name’ independently of their ‘keeping God’s word,’ John 17:6 , which Judas did not do.

ὁ υἱ . τ . ἀπ . ] See ref. 2 Thess. As the other disciples by true τήρησις of the divine ῥήματα given to them, rose from being natural men to be the children of God, so Judas, through want of the same, sunk from the state of the natural man to that of the lost the children of the devil (Olsh. nearly).

Remark, it is not οὐδένα … ἀπώλεσα , εἰ μὴ τὸν υἱὸν τῆς ἀπ .: Christ did not lost him (compare ch. John 18:9 , where there is no exception), but he lost himself .

ἡ γραφή in which this was indicated, viz. the passages alleged by Peter, Acts 1:20 ; see ch. John 13:18 . Beware again of any evasion of the full telic sense of ἵνα .

Verse 13

13. ] νῦν δέ ; opposed to ὅτε ἤμην John 17:12 , implying, ‘But I shall be here to keep them no more. And therefore I pray this prayer in their hearing, that’ &c.

On ἡ χ . ἡ ἐμή see ch. John 15:11 ; John 16:24 ; also the reference to these words in 1 John 1:4 .

Verses 14-16

14 16. ] See John 17:8 .

Joh 17:14 contains the manner in which He ἐφύλαξεν αὐτούς , by giving them the Divine Word; and the reason of the τήρησις prayed for, viz., because they would be objects of hatred to the world: ἐγώ and ὁ κόσμος being opposed.

καθὼς ἐγώ ] See ch. John 15:18 .

Verse 15

15. οὐκ ἐρωτῶ ] Said mostly for their sakes, for whom it was necessary that they should abide yet in the flesh, to do God’s work, and ( Joh 17:17 ) to be sanctified by God’s truth.

τοῦ πον . ] Not ‘ from the evil ,’ as E. V.; but from the evil One, see the usage of our Apostle in 1 John 2:13-14 , ὅτι νενικήκατε τὸν πονηρόν , ib. 1 John 5:18 , and compare ib. 1 John 3:12 .

Verse 16

16. ] Repeated, as the ground both of the οὐκ ἐρωτῶ , for they are already not of the world, above the world, so that they need not be removed from it in order to distinction from it; and of the ἀλλ ʼ ἵνα , for they are clean (ch. Joh 13:10 ); ‘Keep them from the polluter.’ This leads on to ( Joh 17:17-19 ) the process of sanctification through the knowledge of the truth imparted to them by Christ, and expanded in them by the Spirit .

Verse 17

17. ] ἁγιάζειν here and in Joh 17:19 carries the meaning, which unites the two uses, of consecration to God . (1) In them , this setting apart for Him was a long and gradual process, to be accomplished by conflicts, and the deeper sinking in of the Truth by the blows of affliction, and the purifying fire of the Spirit: in them it was strictly sanctification , the making holy: but (2) in HIM it was that pure and entire self-consecration by His submission to the Father’s holy will, the entire possession of His sinless humanity with the living and speaking Truth of God, which should be at the same time the efficient cause of their sanctification and their Pattern. Such an High Priest became us (see Heb 7:26 ), who are to be ourselves priests unto God. Revelation 20:6 .

ἐν , not ‘by,’ but in: see on John 17:11 . The truth is the element in which the ἁγ . takes place.

ὁ λόγ . ὁ σός ] Compare Acts 20:32 . Thy word, in its inner subjective power.

Joh 17:18 is proleptic, and received its fulfilment ch. John 20:21 . He does not merely leave them in the world, but sends them into it, to witness to this same truth of God: see ch. John 15:16 .

Verse 19

19. ] See above on John 17:17 . Notice, says Meyer, the emphatic correlation of αὐτῶν ἐγὼ ἐμαυτόν καὶ αὐτοί .

It is clear against all Socinian inferences from this verse, that all that part of ἁγιάζειν implied in ch. Joh 10:36 is here excluded: and only that intended which is expressed Heb 2:10 by διὰ παθημάτων τελειῶσαι . Of this, His death was the crowning act, and was also the one to which the ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν most directly applies; but the whole is included. The confining the meaning to His sacrifice (Chrys., Euthym [236] ), and the ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ .… to their martyrdom , or their spiritual self-offering , Romans 12:1 (Euthym [237] ), is insufficient for the depth of the words.

[236] Euthymius Zigabenus, 1116

[237] Euthymius Zigabenus, 1116

ἐν ἀληθ . ] in truth: what truth, is evident from John 17:17 , where, in the repetition, ὁ λόγ . ὁ σὸς ἀλήθειά ἐστιν , the article is also wanting: see also ch. John 1:14 ; John 4:24 : 3 John 1:3 , for ἀλήθ , without the article. But the distinction is perhaps somewhat obscured after a preposition.

Verse 20

20. ] The connexion is the ἀπέστειλα αὐτοὺς εἰς τ . κόσμον , John 17:18 . The present part. expresses the state of faith in which all believers are found: the future (of the re [238] .) would refer more to the act of belief by which that state is begun. But perhaps it is best to take the pres. as proleptic.

[238] The Textus Receptus or received text of the Greek Testament. Used in this Edition when elz and Steph agree

It is strikingly set forth here that all subsequent belief on Christ would take place through the apostolic word: see Romans 10:16-17 .

Verse 21

21. ] The ἵνα here hardly can regard the subject-matter of the ἐρωτῶ , John 17:20 , but rather we should supply after that word ταῦτα , and understand this ἵνα as expressing the object of the prayer respecting both. The subject-matter of the prayer is, that they may be kept in God’s name and sanctified in God’s truth; and if this be so, their unity with the Son and the Father follows, 1 John 1:3 . But here it is not merely ‘with,’ but in, the Son and the Father; because the Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son , and ‘He that is joined to the Lord, is one Spirit:’ see John 17:11 . This unity has its true and only ground in faith in Christ through the Word of God as delivered by the Apostles; and is therefore not mere outward uniformity, nor can such uniformity produce it. At the same time its effects are to be real and visible, such that the world may see them.

ἵνα πιστ . ] Not parallel with the former ἵνα , as if πιστ . ὁ κόσμος meant the same as πάντες ἓν ὦσι , that all may be brought to believe. Nor again can the words mean that the unbelieving and condemned world, at the end , may be persuaded ‘that Thou hast sent Me.’ Such a rendering would surely be repugnant to the spirit of the prayer, and the use of the word πιστεύω in our Gospel. Rather is it, ‘that this their testimony, being borne by them all, and in all ages, may continue to convince the world, so that many in the world may believe,’ &c.

The ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας implies belief in the whole Work and Office of Christ. Here our Lord certainly prays for the world , see above on John 17:9 .

See a remarkable parallel, Revelation 3:9 , where, as Stier truly remarks, the persons spoken of are penitents .

Verses 22-23

22, 23. ] Grotius and others interpret this δόξα , “potestas faciendi miracula,” and refer to ch. Joh 2:11 and ch. John 11:40 ; but wrongly: for if so, the αὐτοῖς must mean the Apostles only, whereas it is distinctly referred to the believers of all time . The δόξα is (Lücke, De Wette, Stier: Meyer understands it of the heavenly glory, Rom 8:17 ) the glory of Christ as the only-begotten Son (ch. Joh 1:14 ), full of grace and truth (see Joh 17:5 and note), which by virtue of His exaltation and the unity of all believers in Him through the Spirit, has become (not, shall be ) theirs, Ephesians 1:18 ; Ephesians 2:6 ; Romans 8:30 ; not yet fully, nor as it is His , but as each can receive and shew it forth. The perfection of it is spoken of, John 17:24 .

We have the same recurrences of ἵνα as in John 17:21 , and the same dependence (see var. readd.). The second of them here expresses not merely the similarity of their unity to that of the Son and Father, but the actuality of its subsistence , in Christ abiding in them and the Father in Christ.

On τετελ . εἰς ἕν , see reff.

γινώσκῃ here, parallel as it is to πιστεύσῃ above, cannot be interpreted of a bare recognition, or of a recognition at the final judgment, but must be taken to mean that salutary knowledge by which from time to time the children of the world are by God called to become the children of light. See the same words, and note, ch. John 14:31 , also ch. John 13:35 , and observe that in all three places the recognition is that of love; in ch. John 13:35 , of the disciples one to another; in ch. John 14:31 , of Jesus to the Father; here, of the Father to believers, as perfected into unity in the Son of His love.

“Observe,” says Meyer, “how the glance of the Intercessor reaches in these verses even to the highest aim of His work on earth, when the world shall be believing, and Christ Himself actually the Saviour of the world , ch. John 4:42 , cf. ch. John 10:16 .”

Verse 24

24. ὅ δέδωκάς μοι ] The neuter has a peculiar solemnity, uniting the whole Church together as one gift of the Father to the Son: see ch. John 6:39 , note. Then the κἀκεῖνοι resolves it into the great multitude whom no man can number, and comes home to the heart of every individual believer with inexpressibly sweet assurance of an eternity with Christ.

θέλω is not the θέλω of ch. John 12:21 : 1 Corinthians 7:7 , but more like that of Mark 6:25 , an expression of will founded on acknowledged right: compare διατίθεμαι , Luke 22:29 .

Compare also the θέλω and ὃ δέδωκ . μοι , with ch. John 5:21 ; John 6:44 .

ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγώ ] i.e. in the glorified state: see ch. Joh 12:26 and note: also ch. John 14:3 .

ἵνα θεωρ . ] This is the completion of John 17:22 , the open beholding of His glory, spoken of 1 John 3:2 , which shall be coincident with our being changed into His perfect image.

θεωρ . is to behold and partake the very case supposes it. No mere spectator could behold this glory. See Rom 8:17 end, and 2 Corinthians 3:18 .

ὅτι ἠγ . με .… ] The most glorious part of this sight of glory will be to behold the whole mystery of redemption unfolded in the glory of Christ’s Person, and to see how, before the being of the creature, that eternal Love was, which gave the glory to Christ of which all creation is but the exponent.

On κατ . κόσ . see reff.

Verses 25-26

25, 26. ] δίκαιε is connected with the final clause of John 17:24 . The Righteousness of the Father is witnessed by the beginning ( πρὸ κατ . κόσ .) of Redemption, and ( κἀκεῖνοι ὦσιν ) by the glorification of the elect from Christ; but also by ὁ κόσμος σε οὐκ ἔγνω , the final distinction made by His justice between the world and His.

The first καί is in the quasi-disjunctive usage so common with our Evangelist, see ch. John 16:32 , note, and contrasts with the δέ immediately following: the more classical construction would be τε δέ (Lücke). The second καί merely couples the preceding to the following, as depending upon it: see Matthew 11:27 .

This ἔγνω , ἔγνωσαν , ἐγνώρισα , γνωρίσω , shew that our Lord spoke here of the then present time and disciples again, at the close of His prayer.

The γνωρίσω is by the whole work and testimony of the Spirit completed in the Kingdom of God. This promise has been in fulfilment through all the history of the Church. And the great result of this manifestation of the Father’s name is, that the wonderful Love wherewith He loved Christ, may dwell in (not the Apostles merely the future γνωρίσω has again thrown the meaning onward to the great body of believers) them, i.e. the perfect, living knowledge of God in Christ, which reveals, and in fact is, this love. And this can only be by κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς Christ dwelling in their hearts by faith, and renewing and enlightening them by His Spirit. He does not say, ‘ Thou in them’ but I in them and Thou in Me: see John 17:23 .

Bibliographical Information
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on John 17". Alford's Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hac/john-17.html. 1863-1878.
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