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Bible Commentaries
John 17

Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New TestamentMeyer's Commentary

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John 17:1 . ἐπῇρε ] B. C.* D. L. X. א . Curss. Or. Cyr.: ἐπάρας without the following καί . So Lachm. Tisch. A frequently-occurring improvement of the style. In like manner is the reading τελειώσας , John 17:4 , instead of ἐτελείωσα . to be regarded.

ἵνα καί ] καί is condemned by decisive witnesses.

John 17:3 . γινώσκωσι ] Tisch.: γινώσκουσιν , following A. D. G. L. Y. Δ . Λ . An error in transcription, instead of which Lachm., following B. C. E. א ., has rightly retained the conjunctive.

John 17:4 . Between the forms δέδωκα and ἔδωκα , the Codd. in this chap. vacillate in various ways.

John 17:7 . ἐστίν ] Tisch.: εἰσίν , according to preponderant evidence. The Recepta is an attempted improvement.

John 17:11 . Instead of ᾧ Elz. has οὕς , against decisive witnesses. The too weakly attested reading ὅ (D.* U. X.), which is a resolution of the attraction, testifies also in favour of ᾧ .

John 17:12 . ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ] after αὐτῶν , is wanting in the majority of witnesses; deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. An addition after John 17:11 .

Instead of οὕς , Tisch. has ᾧ , according to B. C.* L. Mechanical repetition from John 17:11 .

John 17:16 . The position of οὐκ εἰμί after ἐγώ (Lachm. Tisch.) is decisively attested.

John 17:17 . After ἀληθεία the Edd., except Lachm., have σου , which must be deleted on the decisive testimony of A. B. C.* D. L. 1, Vulg. It. Goth. Sahid. Cyr. Did. Ambr. Aug. A more definite exegetical definition in accordance with what follows. Bengel aptly remarks in his Appar.: “persaepe veritas apud Joh.… nunquam additur Dei.”

John 17:19 . The order ὦσιν καὶ αὐτοί (Lachm. Tisch.) is decisively attested.

John 17:20 . Instead of πιστευόντων Elz. has πιστευσόντων , contrary to decisive testimonies.

John 17:21 . ἐν ἡμῖν ἕν ὦσιν ] B.C.*D. Codd. of It. Sahid. Arm. Ath. Hil. Vig. Tisch. have merely ἐν ἡμῖν ὦσιν . Lachm. has ἕν in brackets. This ἕν is a glossematic addition.

John 17:23 . καὶ ἵνα ] B. C. D. L. X. Curss. Verss. Fathers have merely ἵνα . καί is rightly deleted by Lachm. and Tisch. An interpolation irrelevant to the connection, made without attending to the construction of John 17:21 .

John 17:24 . οὕς ] B. D. א . Copt. Goth. Vulg. ms.: ὅ . So Tisch. Considering the weighty attestation, and that οὕς very readily suggested itself as an improvement, ὅ must be regarded as the original reading. Comp. on John 17:11 .

Verses 1-2

John 17:1-2 . [185] The parting discourses to the disciples are finished, and that with the words, giving assurance of victory, ἘΓῺ ΝΕΝΊΚ . Τ . ΚΌΣΜ . But now, before Jesus goes forth into the fatal night, as He casts a parting glance on His disciples, who are standing there ready to move on (John 14:31 ), and on the whole future of His work, now to be completed on behalf of earth, His communion with the Father impels Him to prayer . He prays aloud (John 17:13 ) and long on His own behalf (John 17:1-5 ), on behalf of His disciples (John 17:6-19 ), and on behalf of those who are to become believers at a later time (John 17:20 ff.), with all the depth, intensity, clearness, and repose of the moral need, and of the childlike devotion of the Fulfiller. Because He, by this prayer, prepares Himself for the high-priestly act of the atoning self-sacrifice (see especially John 17:19 ), it is justly termed the precatio summi sacerdotis (Chytraeus), an appellation which is arbitrarily explained by Hengstenberg from the Aaronic blessing (Leviticus 9:22 ; Numbers 6:22 ff.). Luther aptly says: “that He might fully discharge His office as our sole high priest.”

ταῦτα ἐλάλησεν … καὶ … καί ] Not negligence of style (De Wette), but solemn circumstantiality.

ΕἸς Τ . ΟὐΡ . ] does not serve to establish the point that Jesus spoke in the open air (see on John 14:31 ; so Ruperti, Grotius, Ebrard, Hengstenberg, and many others), nor is the suggestion needed (Gerhard) that through the window of the room the heavens were accessible to view, but the eye of one who prays is on all occasions raised toward heaven. Comp. Acts 7:55 .

ἡ ὥρα ] The hour κατʼ ἐξοχήν , i.e . the hour of my death, as that of my passage to Thee, John 13:1 , John 12:23 .

δόξασον … δοξάσῃ ] The former through the elevation into the heavenly glory (comp. John 17:5 ), the latter through the revelation of the glory of God , so far, that is, as the victory of the gospel in the world, and the entire continuance and consummation of the divine work of redemption was conjoined with the heavenly glorification and ministry of Christ. To refer δόξασον to the earthly, moral glorification of Christ in the recognition of His Person and cause (Didymus, Nösselt, Kuinoel, De Wette, Reuss), or to the communication of the true God-consciousness to humanity (Baur), is opposed to the context, because Christ means His glorification through His death, but this in John is constantly the personal heavenly glorification. Note further σου τὸν υἱόν and ΥἹΌς ΣΟΥ ; the emphasis of the ΣΟΥ , which is moved to the first place, is related to the prayer as assigning a reason for it; it is in truth Thy Son whom Thou art to glorify.

John 17:2 presents to the Father the definite motive for the fulfilment of that which was prayed for, and that in such a manner that καθὼς … σαρκός corresponds to the preceding ΔΌΞΑΣΟΝ ΣΟΥ ΤῸΝ ΥἹΌΝ , and ἽΝΑ ΠᾶΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , which contains the purpose of ἜΔΩΚΑς ΑὐΤῷ ἘΞΟΥΣ . Π . Σ . , is correlative to ἽΝΑ ΥἹΌς Σ . ΔΟΞ . ΣΕ . [186]

καθώς denotes the motive contained in the relation of fitness, in the measure that, according as . Comp. on John 13:34 .

Full power over all men has the Father given to the Son on His mission (John 13:3 ), for He has endowed Him as the sole Redeemer and Saviour with power for the execution of the decree of salvation, which extends to all; none is exempted from His Messianic authority. But this ἐξουσία He cannot carry out without returning to the heavenly δόξα , whence He must carry on and complete His work. By πάσης σαρκός , however, the whole of humanity and that in its imperfection (see on Acts 2:17 ), conditioned by the very fact of the σάρξ , John 3:6 , by which it is destitute of eternal life is, with a certain solemnity of the O. T. type ( כל בשר ), designated. The expression is not elsewhere found in John, but it corresponds exactly to this elevated mood of prayer.

ἵνα πᾶν , κ . τ . λ .] Not a mere statement of the contents and compass of the ἐξουσία (Ebrard): no, in the attainment of the blessed design of that fulness of power (comp. John 5:26-27 ) lies precisely that glorification of the Father, John 17:1 . Not all, however, without distinction, can receive eternal life through Christ, but (comp. John 17:6 ) those whom the Father has given to the Son (through the attraction by grace, John 6:37 ; John 6:39 ; John 6:44 ; John 6:65 ) are such, designated from the side of the divine efficiency, the same who, on their side , are the believing (John 1:12 , John 3:15 , et al. ), not “the spiritual supramundane natures” whom Hilgenfeld here discovers. Comp. besides, on John 6:37 ; John 6:39 .

αὐτοῖς ] to be referred to the subjects of the absolute (Buttmann, N. T. Gr . p. 325 [E. T. pp. 379, 380]) collective ΠᾶΝ (Bremi, ad Isocr . I. Exc. X.). Note further the weighty parallel arrangement δέδωκας αὐτῲ , δώσῃ αὐτοῖς . On the form δώσῃ , see Buttmann, N. T. Gr . p. 31 [E. T. p. 36]. Not future conjunctive (Bengel, Baeumlein), but a corrupt form of the aorist.

[185] Luther’s exposition of chap. 17 belongs to the year 1534.

[186] Ewald begins a new sentence with καθώς , which is first completed in ver. 4, so that ver. 3 is a parenthesis: “ Even as Thou gavest to Him full power … I glorified Thee upon the earth .” But the periodic form which thus arises is less in harmony with the manner of this prayer; and the change of persons in vv. 2 and 4 betrays the want of mutual connection.

Verse 3

John 17:3 . The continuative δέ adduces, in keeping with the connection, a more precise definition [187] of ζωὴ αἰώνιος (not a transposition of its idea, as Weiss holds), and that with a retrospective glance to the glorification of the Father in John 17:1 . On ἐστίν , comp. on Romans 14:17 ; John 3:19 .

In this consists eternal life, that they should recognise ( ἵνα , comp. on John 6:29 ) Thee as the only true God (as Him to whom alone belongs the reality of the idea of God, comp. 1 Corinthians 8:4 ), and Thy sent one Jesus as Messiah . This knowledge of God here desired (which is hence the believing, living, practical knowledge, καθὼς δεῖ γνῶναι , 1 Corinthians 8:2 ), is the ζωὴ αἰώνιος , so far as it is the essential subjective principle of the same, unfolding this ζωή out of itself, its continual, ever self-developing germ and impulse (comp. Sap. John 15:1 ; John 15:3 ), even now in the temporal evolution of eternal life, and at a future time, besides, after the establishment of the kingdom, in which faith, hope, and love abide (1 Corinthians 3:0 ); the fundamental essence of which is in truth nothing else than that knowledge, which in the future αἰών will be the perfected knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:12 ), comp. 1 John 3:2 . The contents of the knowledge are stated with the precision of a Confession , a summary of faith in opposition [188] to the polytheistic ( τ . μόνον ἀληθ . θεόν , comp. John 5:44 ; Deuteronomy 6:4 ; 1 Corinthians 8:5 ; 1 Thessalonians 1:9 ) and Jewish κόσμος , which latter rejected Jesus as Messiah, although in Him there was given, notwithstanding, the very highest revelation of the only true God. It is in the third person , however, that the praying Jesus speaks of Himself from John 17:1 forwards, placing Himself in an objective relation towards the Father during the first intensity of this solemn mood, and first at John 17:4 continuing the prayer with the familiar ἐγώ ; He indeed mentions His name in John 17:3 , because in the connection of the self-designation through the third person, it here specifically suggested itself, in correspondence to the confessional thought.

Χριστόν ] is an appellative predicate: as Messiah , comp. John 9:22 . To connect it as a proper name with Ἰησ . ( Jesus Christ , comp. John 1:17 ), to ascribe to the evangelist an offence against historical decorum (Bretschneider, Lücke, De Wette), and to see in this a proof of a later reproduction (comp. Tholuck and Weizsäcker, p. 286; also Scholten, p. 238), would be to accuse the writer, especially in the report of such a prayer, of a surprising want of consideration. Luthardt also takes Χριστόν as a proper name, which he thinks was here, in this extraordinary moment, used for the first time by Jesus, and thereby at the same time determined the use of the word by the apostles (Acts 2:38 ). So also Godet, comp. Ebrard. But Jesus prayed in Hebrew, and doubtless said יֵשׁוּע חַמָּשִּׁיהַ , from which expression a proper name could by no means be recognised. The predicative view of Τ . ΜΌΝ . ἈΛ . ΘΕΌΝ and of ΧΡΙΣΤΌΝ is also justly held by Ewald.

Although Τ . ΜΌΝΟΝ ἈΛΗΘ . ΘΕΌΝ refers solely to the Father , the true divine nature of Christ is not thereby excluded (against the Arians and Socinians, who misused this passage), all the less so as this, in accordance with His (Logos) relationship as dependent on the Godhead of the Father, forms the previous assumption in ὋΝ ἈΠΈΣΤΕΙΛΑς , as is certain from the entire connection of the Johannean Christology, and from John 17:5 . Comp. Wetstein, and Gess, Pers. Chr . p. 162. Hence it was unnecessary, moreover, even a perversion of the passage, and running counter to the strict monotheism of John, when Augustine, Ambrose, Hilary, Beda, Thomas, Aretius, and several others explained it as if the language were: ut te et quem misisti Jesum Christum cognoscant solum verum Deum . Only One, the Father , can absolutely be termed the μόνος ἀληθ . θεός (comp. ὁ ὢν ἐπὶ πάντων θεός , Romans 9:5 ), not at the same time Christ (who is not even in 1 John 5:20 the ἀληθινὸς θεός ), since His divine entity stands in the relation of genetic subsistence to the Father, John 1:18 , although He, in unity with the Father, works as His commissioner, John 10:30 , and is His representative, John 14:9-10 .

[187] No formal definition . See the apposite observations of Riehm in the Stud. u. Krit. 1864, p. 539 f.

[188] An antithesis which might present itself naturally and unsought to the world-embracing glance of the praying Jesus, on the boundary line of His work, which includes entire humanity. But He had also thought further of the ἐξουσία πάσης σαρκός , which was given to Him. This likewise in opposition to Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 56, who considers the antithesis foreign to the connection.

Verses 4-5

John 17:4-5 . Once more the prayer of John 17:1 , δόξασόν σου τὸν υἱόν , but stating a different reason for it (“ostendit, non iniquum se petere,” Grotius), and setting forth the δόξα more definitely.

ἐγώ σε ἐδοξ . ἐπὶ τ . γ .] By what , is expressed by the following parallel proposition, which is subjoined with asyndetic liveliness. The Messianic work glorified God , to whose highest revelation, and therewith to His knowledge, praise, and honour it bore reference. Comp. John 17:6 .

The aorists ἐδόξ . and ἐτελεί . are employed, because Jesus stands at the goal of His earthly activity, where He already includes in this account the fact which puts a close to His earthly work, the fact of His death, as already accomplished. Christ is not passive in His sufferings; His obedientia passiva is active , the highest point of His activity.

καὶ νῦν ] And now , when I take leave of this my earthly ministry.

In what follows note the correlation of με σύ with ἐγώ σε , in which the thought of recompense (comp. διό , Philippians 2:9 ) is expressed. The emphasis lies on ἐγώ and σύ , hence after με no comma should stand.

παρὰ σεαυτῷ ] so that I may be united with Thyself in heavenly fellowship (Colossians 3:3 ), corresponding to ἐπὶ τ . γῆς . Comp. on John 13:32 .

The δόξα , which Jesus possessed before the creation of the world, and thus in eternity before time was ( εἶχον , which is to be understood realiter , not with the Socinians, Grotius, Wetstein, Nösselt, Löffler, Eckermann, Stolz, Gabler, comp. B. Crusius, Schleiermacher, L. J . p. 286 f., Scholten, ideally of the destinatio divina), was the divine glory, i.e . the essentially glorious manifestation of the entire divine perfection and blessedness, the μορφὴ θεοῦ (Philippians 2:6 ) in His pre-existent state (John 1:1 ), of which He divested Himself when He became man, and the resumption of which, in the consciousness of its once enjoyed possession, [189] He now asks in prayer from God. Had Christ contemplated Himself as the eternal archetype of humanity in His pre-historical unity with the proper personal life of God, and attributed to Himself in this sense the premundane δόξα (Beyschlag, p. 87 f.), His expression ΕἾΧΟΝ ΠΑΡᾺ ΣΟΊ would stand in contradiction therewith, because this latter separates the subject that had been in possession from the divine subject in such a manner that the former was with the latter, and possessed the glory, as then also the glory again prayed for would not be adequate to that already formerly possessed ; for the essence of the former is the σύνθρονον εἶναι θεοῦ , which consequently that of the latter must also have been. Comp. on John 6:62 .

For the fulfilment of this prayer: Philippians 2:9 ; 1 Timothy 3:16 ; Hebrews 1:8 ; Hebrews 1:13 ; Act 2:34 ; 1 Peter 3:22 , et al. The δόξα , however, which His believing ones beheld in Him in His earthly working (John 1:14 ), was not the heavenly majesty in its Godlike, absolute existence and manifestation, that He had as λόγος ἄσαρκος , and obtained it again in divine-human completeness after His ascension, but His temporally divine-human glory, the glory of God present in earthly and bodily limitation, which He had in the state of ΚΈΝΩΣΙς , and made known through grace and truth, as well as through His entire activity. Comp. on John 1:14 ; see also Liebner, Christol . I. p. 323 f.

[189] Not merely in a momentary anticipation, in which it appeared before the eye of His spirit (Weizsäcker). Comp. on John 8:58 . It is a perversion of the exegetically clear and certain relation when Weizsäcker finds in such passages, instead of the self-consciousness of Jesus reaching back into His pre-human state, only “the culminating point of an advancing self-knowledge.” That here, however, and in ver. 25, different modes of apprehending the person of Christ are intimated (Weizsäcker in the Jahrb. f. D. Th. 1862, p. 645 ff.), cannot be established on exegetical grounds. See on ver. 25.

Verses 6-8

John 17:6-8 . Hitherto Jesus has prayed on behalf of Himself . But now He introduces His intercession on behalf of His disciples , which begins with John 17:9 , by representing them as worthy of this intercession.

σου ] With emphasis, as opposed to τοῖς ἀνθρώπ ., in the deep feeling of the holiness and greatness of the task discharged.

What the name of God comprises in itself and expresses (see on Matthew 6:9 ), was previously made known to the disciples only in so far as it brought with it its O. T. imagery; but the specific disclosures respecting God and His counsel of salvation resting in Christ, and His entire redemptive relation to men, which Christ had given them by virtue of his prophetic office (the Christian contents, therefore, of the divine name), entitled Him to pray; ἐφανέρωσά σου τ . ὄν ., κ . τ . λ . Comp. Colossians 1:26-27 . A reference to the Jewish practice of keeping secret the name of Jehovah (Hilgenfeld) lies entirely remote from the meaning.

οὓς δέδωκ . μοι ἐκ τ . κόσμου ] Necessary definition of τοῖς ἀνθρώποις (hence not to be connected with σοὶ ἦσαν ); whom Thou hast given to me out of the world (separated from out of the unbelieving, John 15:19 ), that is, the disciples (see John 17:8 ; John 17:11 ), as objects of the divine counsel of salvation God has given them through attracting them by His grace; see on John 6:37 .

σοί ] Possessive pronoun, as in John 17:9 ; they belonged to Thee , were Thine , “per fidem V. T.,” Bengel. Comp. John 1:37 ; John 1:42 ; John 1:46 ; John 1:48 , and generally John 8:47 , John 6:37 ; John 6:44 . Therefore not in the sense of predestination (Beza, Calvin), but of motive , from which God, to whom they indeed already inwardly belonged, has drawn them to Christ. God knows His own. The non-ethical interpretation of property generally (Cyril.: ἴδια γὰρ πάντα θεῷ ), or, as “Thy creatures ” (Hengstenberg), yields no special statement of reason.

καὶ τὸν λόγον σου τετηρ .] and with what result gavest Thou them to me! On τ . λόγον σου , comp. John 7:16 , John 12:48-49 , and on τετηρ ., they have kept Thy word (by faith and deed), John 8:51 , John 14:23 .

νῦν ἔγνωκαν , κ . τ . λ .] Progress in the representation of this result, which is now advanced so far, that they have recognised (and do recognise, perfect ) all that the Father has communicated to Christ as that which it is, as proceeding from God. All which Thou hast given to me points not merely to the doctrine (De Wette), but to the entire activity of Jesus (Luthardt), for which He has received from the Father a commission, direction, power, result, etc. Comp. John 17:4 ; John 12:49 ; John 5:36 . A more definite limitation is arbitrary, because not demanded by what follows, which rather establishes the general expression (John 17:7 ) by means of the particular ( τὰ ῥήματα ).

John 17:8 gives the causative demonstration ( ὅτι , for ), how they attained to the knowledge of John 17:7 , [190] namely, (1) on the part of Jesus , in that He communicated to them the words given Him by God, i.e . that which He, as Interpreter of God, had to announce (nothing else); and (2) on their part ( αὐτοί ), in that they have adopted this, [191] and have actually known it (John 7:26 ). Thus with them that ἔγνωσαν in John 17:7 has come to completion .

καὶ αὐτοί ] is only to be separated by a comma from what precedes, and, further, is connected with ὍΤΙ . The ΚΑῚ ἘΠΊΣΤΕΥΣΑΝ , Κ . Τ . Λ . , parallel to ἜΓΝΩΣΑΝ ἈΛΗΘῶς , Κ . Τ . Λ . , adding faith to knowledge (see on John 6:69 ), and the above ἐξῆλθον (comp. on John 8:42 ), leading back to the Fatherly behest , whereby it is accomplished, completes the expression of the happy result attained in the case of the disciples. Note, further, the historical aorists ἔλαβ . and ἘΠΊΣΤ . in their difference of sense from the perfects.

[190] Ewald begins with ὅτι ( because ), a protasis, the apodosis of which ( I therefore beg ) follows in ver. 9, in such a manner, however, that from οὐ περὶ τοῦ κόσμου to ἔρχομαι , ver. 11, a parenthesis is introduced, and then first with πάτηρ ἅγιε comes the supplication conveyed by ἐρωτῶ . But this complicated arrangement is neither necessary nor appropriate to the clear and peaceful flow of the language of this prayer as it stands.

[191] i.e. They have not rejected the ῥήματα , but have allowed them to influence themselves. This is the necessary pre-condition of knowledge and of faith. Comp. Weiss, Lehrbegr. p. 28.

Verse 9

John 17:9 . I pray for them! Both in ἐγώ and in περὶ αὐτῶν there lies a motive element in reference to God. That which lies in περὶ αὐτῶν is then further made specially prominent, first negatively ( οὐ π . τ . κόσμ . ἐρ .), and then positively ( ἀλλὰ περὶ , κ . τ . λ .).

οὐ περὶ τοῦ κόσμου ] has no dogmatic weight, and is therefore not to be explained in the sense of the condemnation of the world (Melanchthon), or of absolute predestination (Calvin, Jansen, Lampe), or of the negation of such intercession in general (Hengstenberg), but refers simply and solely to this present intercession, which has in truth no relation to those who are strangers to God, but to His own, whom He has given to Jesus, and this should all the more move Him to fulfil the prayers. Prayer for the unbelieving has been enjoined by Jesus Himself (Matthew 5:44 ), and was, moreover, offered by Himself upon the cross (Luke 23:34 ), and for them did He die, comp. also John 17:20 ; but here He has only the disciples in view, and lays them, by the antithesis οὐ περὶ τ . κόσμου , the more earnestly on the Father’s heart. Luther well says: “At other times one should pray for the world, that it may be converted .” Comp. John 17:21 .

ὅτι σοί εἰσι ] Ground of the intercession: because they although given to me are Thine , belonging to Thee as my believing ones, since they were Thine (John 17:6 ) already, before Thou gavest them to me.

Verse 10

John 17:10 . Καὶ τὰ ἐμὰ πάντα … ἐμά ] is parenthetic (on καί parentheticum , see Fritzsche, ad Rom . I. 13, p. 35), and καὶ δεδόξ . ἐν αὐτοῖς is still in connection with ὅτι , John 17:9 , containing a second ground of the intercession.

As regards the above parenthesis, when Jesus prayed ὅτι σοί εἰσι , John 17:9 , His glance was extended from this concrete relation to the category, to the general reciprocal community of property , which, in matters relating to His work, exists between Him, the Son and plenipotentiary of the Father, and the Father. Both have the same work, the same aim, the same means, the same power, the same grace and truth, etc., in common; neither has and works separate from the other, and for Himself; God in Christ, and He in God. Comp. on John 16:15 . Luther aptly remarks: “It would not yet be so much if He simply said: All that is mine is Thine; for that every one can say …; but this is much greater, that He inverts the relation, and says: All that is Thine is mine; this no creature can say in reference to God.”

δεδόξ . ἐν αὐτ .] I am glorified in them , in their person and activity, in so far as they are bearers and furtherers of my glory and knowledge upon earth, so precious and important, then, that I pray for them. What is already begun, and is certainly to be further accomplished in the near future, Jesus views, speaking in the perfect with prophetic anticipation, as completed and actually existing (Kühner, II. p. 72), and ἐν denotes the relation resting on, contained in them, as in John 13:31-32 , John 14:13 .

Verse 11

John 17:11 . Before He now gives expression to the special supplication itself ( πάτερ ἅγιε , τήρησον , κ . τ . λ .), He first brings forward the peculiar ground of need , connecting in profound emotion its individual members unperiodically by καί .

οὐκέτι εἰμὶ , κ . τ . λ .] Thus He speaks, “nunc quasi provincia sua defunctus,” Calvin.

καὶ οὗτοι , κ . τ . λ .] “hos relinquam in tantis fluctibus,” Grotius.

ἅγιε ] As in John 17:25 , δίκαιε , so here ἅγιε is added significantly; for to guarantee that which Jesus would now pray ( τήρησον , κ . τ . λ .) is in harmony with the holiness of His Father, which has been revealed to Him in entire fulness, a holiness which is the absolute antithesis of the ungodly nature of the profane world. [192] Placed by their calling in this unholy κόσμος , they shall be guarded by the holy God so as to abide faithfully in His name. In harmony with this antithesis of the holiness of God to the nature of the world, stands the petition, “hallowed be Thy name,” at the head of the Lord’s Prayer. Comp. also 1 John 2:20 ; Heb 12:10 ; 1 Peter 1:16 ; Revelation 6:10 . Thus the Father discharges the obligation lying on Himself, if He keeps the disciples of the Son in His name.

ἐν τῷ ὀνόμ . σ .] Specific sphere , in which they are to remain through being so kept; the name of the Father is made known to them (John 17:6 ; John 17:26 ), and with a happy result (John 17:6-8 ); thus are they to persevere in His living acquaintance and believing confession, not to depart out of this holy element of their life.

ᾧ δέδωκ . μοι ] ᾧ by attraction, instead of ὅ , which, however, does not stand instead of οὕς (Bengel, comp. Ewald and Godet, who would read ὅ , see the critical notes), but: God has given His name to Christ, and that not in the sense of the divine nature entering into manifestation, as Hengstenberg here drags in from Exodus 23:21 , but rather in the sense of John 17:6 , for revelation to the disciples; He has for such a purpose delivered His name to Him as the object of a holy commission. In conformity with this, the Lord prays that God would keep them in this His name, in order that they, in virtue of the one common faith and confession resting on the name of God, may be one (in the spiritual fellowship, of like mind and love, comp. John 17:22-23 ), in conformity with the archetype [193] of the ethical unity of the Father and the Son (comp. the Pauline εἷς θεὸς κ . πατὴρ πάντων , κ . τ . λ ., Ephesians 4:6 ). Hence ἵνα expresses the object of τήρησον , κ . τ . λ ., not of δέδωκ . μοι .

[192] According to Diestel in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1859, p. 45, God is here conceived of as ἅγιος τοῦ Χριστοῦ , which is the completion of the N. T. ἅγιος τοῦ ʼΙσραήλ . But of this there is neither any indication in the context, nor do we find generally the idea of God as of the ἅγιος τοῦ Χριστοῦ expressed. Hengstenberg refers too exclusively to the power of the holy God.

[193] Bengel: “Illa unitas est ex natura, haec ex gratia; igitur illi haec similis est, non aequalis.”

Verses 12-13

John 17:12-13 . A more definite outflow of heart concerning John 17:11 .

ὅτε ἤμην , κ . τ . λ .] As in John 17:11 , οὐκέτι εἰμὶ ἐν τ . κόσμῳ , Jesus speaks as though He had already departed out of the world. “Jam in exitu mundi pedem irrevocabilem posuerat,” Ruperti on John 17:11 .

ἐγώ ] That which Thou mayest now do, John 17:11 .

οὓς δέδωκ . μοι ἐφύλ ., κ . τ . λ .] Not a parenthesis, but a further expression of the τήρησις just described, in which a sorrowful but telically clear and conscious mention of Judas obtrudes itself.

ἐφύλαξα ] Through the φυλάσσειν ( custodire ) is the τηρεῖν ( conservare ) accomplished. Comp. Sap. John 10:5 ; Dem. 317. ult. The disciples were handed over to Him for protection and guardianship, ut eos salvos tueretur . This He has accomplished, and none of them has fallen into destruction ( i.e . into eternal destruction through apostasy, which leads to the loss of ζωή ), except him who belongs to destruction (Matthew 23:15 ), i.e . who is destined to destruction. Comp. John 6:64 ; John 6:70 . Jesus does not like to name Judas, who forms this tragical exception ( εἰ μή is not equivalent to ἀλλά , as Scholten thinks), but his destruction and therein the purity of the consciousness of Jesus in the matter is expressed is nothing accidental , capable of being averted, but is prophesied as a divine destiny in the Scripture, and must take place in fulfilment thereof . On account of John 13:18 , it is without warrant to think of another saying of Scripture than, with Luther, Lücke, and several others, of Psalms 41:10 (Kuinoel: the prophecies of the death of Jesus generally are intended; Lange, L. J . II. p. 1412: Isaiah 57:12-13 ; Euth. Zigabenus, Calovius, and many, Psalms 109:8 , which passage, however, has its reference in Acts 1:20 ). The designation of Antichrist by ὁ υἱὸς τ . ἀπωλ ., 2 Thessalonians 2:3 , is parallel in point of form . In the Evang. Nikod . 20 (see Thilo on the passage, p. 708), the devil is so called.

John 17:13 . But now I come to Thee, and since I can no longer guard them personally as hitherto, I speak this (this prayer for Thy protection, John 17:11 ) in the world (“jam ante discessum meum,” Bengel), that they , as witnesses and objects of this my intercession, knowing themselves assured of Thy protection, may bear my joy (as in John 15:11 , not John 14:27 ) fulfilled in themselves . On this expression of prayer regarding the influence which the listening to prayer should have upon the listeners , comp. John 11:42 . Luther well says: “that they, through the word, apprehended by the ears, and retained in the heart, may be consoled, and be able cheerfully to presume thereon, and to say: See, this has my Lord Christ said, so affectionately and cordially has He prayed for me,” etc.

Verses 14-15

John 17:14-15 . The intercession addresses itself to a particular, definite point of the τήρησις prayed for, namely, ἐκ τοῦ πονηροῦ , John 17:15 , and this is introduced, John 17:14 , from the side of their necessities .

ἐγώ ] antithesis: ὁ κόσμος .

ἐμίσ . αὐτούς ] has conceived a hatred against them (Aor., see Lobeck, ad Phryn . p. 197; Kühner, ad Xen. Mem . i. 1. 18). This hatred Luther terms “the true court colours of Christians that they bear on earth.” Further, see on John 15:18-19 .

The more precise definition of τήρησις follows in John 17:15 negatively and positively. They are not (“for I have still more to accomplish by their means,” Luther) to be taken out of the unbelieving world which hates them (which would take place by death, as now in the case of Jesus Himself, John 17:11 ), but they are to be kept by God, so that they ever come forth, morally uninjured, from the power of Satan surrounding them , the power of the prince of the world. ἐ κ τ . πονηροῦ is not, with Luther, Calvin, and many others, including Olshausen, B. Crusius, Hengstenberg, Godet, to be taken as neuter , but comp. 1Jn 2:13 ff; 1 John 3:12 ; 1 John 5:18-19 ; 1 John 4:4 ; Matthew 6:13 ; 2 Thessalonians 3:3 ; comp. on τηρεῖν ἐκ , Revelation 3:10 , also φυλάσσειν ἐξ ἐπιβουλῆς in Themist. 181. 19 (Dindorf). Nonnus: δαίμονος ἀρχεκάκοιο δυσαντήτων ἀπὸ θεσμῶν .

Verses 16-17

John 17:16-17 . From the τηρεῖν which has been hitherto prayed for, the intercession now advances to the positive ἁγιάζειν , John 17:17 ; and this part of it also is first introduced in John 17:16 , and that by an emphatic resumption of what was said in John 17:14 on the side of the condition fitted for the ἁγιάζειν .

ἁγίασον αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ἀληθ .] The disciples were in the truth , for since they had believingly accepted the word of God given to them by Christ, and had kept it (John 17:6 ; John 17:12 ), the divine truth, the expression of which that word is, was the element of life , in which they, taken from the world and given to Christ, were found. Now He prays that God would not merely keep them (that He has previously prayed for), but yet further: He would provide them with a holy consecration (comp. on John 10:36 ) in this their sphere of life, whereby is meant not indeed the translation into “the true position of being” (Luthardt), but the equipment with divine illumination, power, courage, joyfulness, love, inspiration, etc., for their official activity (John 17:18 ) which should ensue, and did ensue, through means of the Holy Spirit, John 14:17 , John 15:26 , John 16:7 ff. Comp. on ἐν , Sir 45:4 . Ordinarily it is taken instrumentally , in virtue of, by means of (Chrysostom, Nonnus, Theophylact, Calvin, and many others, including Lücke, Tholuck, Godet), but in arbitrary neglect of the analogy of the correlate τηρεῖν ἐν , John 17:11-12 ; whilst De Wette, B. Crusius, Baeumlein, just as arbitrarily here again mix up also the notion of τηρεῖν ; “so that they remain in the truth,” whereby the climactic relation of τηρεῖν and ἁγιάζειν is misapprehended. When, with Luther, (“ make truly holy ”), ἐν τ . ἀληθ . has been taken as equivalent to ἀληθῶς , of complete sanctification in opposition to their hitherto defective condition (Hengstenberg), against the view is decisive, not indeed the article (comp. Xen. Anab . vi. 2. 10), but rather the following ὁ λόγος , κ . τ . λ . The reading ἐν τ . ἀλ . σου is a correct , more precise definition arising from a gloss.

ὁ λόγος ὁ σὸς ἀλήθ , ἐστι ] a supporting of the prayer, in which ὁ σός has peculiar weight; Thy word (John 14:24 , John 12:49 , John 7:16 ), the word of no other, is truth . How shouldst Thou, then, not grant the ἁγιάζειν prayed for? That ἀλήθ . is without the article , does not rest upon the fact that it is a predicate, but upon the conception that the essence of the λόγος is truth, so that ἀλήθ . is abstract , not a noun appellative. Comp. Joh 4:24 , 1 John 4:16 .

Verses 18-19

John 17:18-19 . In support of the prayer for the ἁγιάζειν of the disciples, there now follow further two motives for its being granted , deduced, (1) from the mission of the disciples into the world, on which account they need consecration; and (2) from Christ’s own personal consecration for the purpose of their ἁγιασμός , which purpose God will not be willing to leave unattained.

καθὼς ἐμὲ , κ . τ . λ .] Placed first with pragmatic weight; for as He could not execute His mission without the divine consecration (John 10:36 ), so neither could they who were sent by Him.

κἀγώ ] Not instead of οὕτως ἐγώ (De Wette), but simply: I also have sent. Comp. John 15:9 , John 20:21 , et al.

ἀπέστειλα ] The mission was indeed not yet objectively a fact (John 20:21 ; Matthew 28:19 ), but already conceived of in its idea in the appointment and instruction for the apostolic office (Matthew 10:5 ff.). Comp. on John 4:38 .

John 17:19 . Note the emphatic correlation of αὐτῶν … ἐγὼ ἐμαυτόν … καὶ αὐτοί .

The ἁγιάζω ἐμαυτόν , not including in it the whole life of the Lord (Calvin, Hengstenberg, Godet), but now, when the hour is come, to be carried out, is the actual consecration, which Christ, in offering Himself through His death as a sacrifice to God, accomplishes on Himself , [194] so that ἁγιάζω is substantially equivalent to προσφέρω σοὶ θυσίαν (Chrysostom), comp. 4Ma 17:19 ; ἁγιάζειν , הִקְדִּישׁ , is a sacred word for sacrifices in the O. T., see Exodus 13:2 ; Deuteronomy 15:19 ff.; 2 Samuel 8:11 ; Esr. 5:52; Romans 15:16 ; comp. also Soph. Oed. Col . 1491; Dion. H. vii. 2. Christ is at once the Priest and the Sacrifice (Epistle to the Hebrews); and for ( ὙΠΈΡ , in commodum , xv. 13) the disciples He performs this sacrifice, although it is offered for all, [195] so far as it has, in respect of the disciples, the special purpose: that they also may be consecrated in truth , namely, in virtue of the reception of the Paraclete ( πνευματικῷ πυρὶ γυῖα λελουμένοι , Nonnus), which reception was conditioned by the death of Jesus, John 16:7 . The καί has its logical justification in the idea of consecration common to both clauses, although its special sense is different in each; for the disciples are, through the sacrifice of Jesus, to be consecrated to God in the sense of holy purity, endowment, and equipment for their calling. On the other hand, the self-consecration of Christ is sacrificial , the former, however, like the latter, the consecration in the service of God and of His kingdom. Comp. on the self-consecration of Christ, who yields Himself voluntarily to be a sacrifice (John 10:18 , John 15:13 ), Ephesians 5:2 : παρέδωκεν ἑαυτὸν ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν προσφορὰν , κ . τ . λ .; that is the idea of the present passage, not that He renounced the mortal σάρξ , and entered fully into the divine mode of existence and fellowship (Luthardt). See also Hebrews 9:14 .

ἐν ἀληθείᾳ ] Modal definition of ἡγιασμένοι : truly consecrated, Matthew 22:16 ; 2 Corinthians 7:14 ; Colossians 1:6 ; 1Jn 3:18 ; 2 John 1:1 ; 3 John 1:1 . See on 2 Cor. loc. cit .; LXX. 2 Reg. John 19:17 (where, however, ἐν is doubtful); Sir 7:20 ; Pind. Ol . vii. 126. In the classics the mere dative and ἐπʼ ἀληθείας are frequent. The true consecration is not exactly an antithesis to the Jewish sanctimonia ceremonialis (Godet and older expositors), to which nothing in the context leads, but simply sets forth the eminent character of the relation generally . As contrasted with every other ἁγιότης in human relations, that wrought through the Paraclete is the true consecration. Comp. Luther: “against all worldly and human holiness.” So substantially, [196] Chrysostom, Euth. Zigabenus, Beza, Calvin, Bengel, and several others, including Hengstenberg, Godet. The interpretation which has recently, after Erasmus, Bucer, and several others, become current, viz. of Lücke, Tholuck (?), Olshausen, De Wette, B. Crusius, Luthardt, Lange, Brückner, Ewald, that ἐν ἀληθ . is not different from ἘΝ Τῇ ἈΛΗΘΕΊᾼ , John 17:17 , is erroneous, because the article is wanting which here, in the retrospective reference to the truth already articulated and defined, was thoroughly necessary; for of an antithesis “to the state of being in which the disciples would be found over and above” (Luthardt), the text suggests nothing, even leaving out of sight the fact that a state of sanctification in such an opposite condition would be inconceivable. Without any ground, appeal is made, in respect of the absence of the article, to John 1:14 , John 4:24 , where truth is expressed as a general conception (comp. John 8:44 ) ( Sir 37:15 ; Tob 3:5 ; 2 Timothy 2:25 ; 2 Timothy 3:7 ), and to 3 John 1:3 (John 17:4 is with Lachm. and Tisch. to be read ἐν τῇ ἀληθ .), where ἘΝ ἈΛΗΘ . must be taken as equivalent to ἈΛΗΘῶς , [197] and consequently as in the present passage and as in 3 John 1:1 .

[194] Comp. generally, Ritschl in the Jahrb. f. D. Theol. 1863, p. 240 f.

[195] Already this solemn ὑπέρ (John 6:51 , John 10:11 , John 11:50 , John 15:13 , John 18:14 ; 1 John 3:16 ) should have prevented ἁγιάζω ἐμ . from being understood in the ethical sense of the ripening to moral perfection through faithful, loving obedience towards the Father (so Wörner, Verhältn. d. Geistes z. Sohne Gottes , p. 41 f.). Simply correct is Euth. Zigabenus, ἐγὼ ἑκουσίως θυσιάζω ἐμαυτόν .

[196] In so far as they understand ἐν ἀληθ . of the true ἁγιάζεσθαι , in which, however, they find an antithesis to the typical holiness of the O. T. sacrifice, as e.g. Euth. Zigabenus: ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ὦσι τεθυμένοι ἐν ἀληθινῇ θυσίᾳ · ἡ γὰρ νομικὴ θυσία τύπος ἦν , οὐκ ἀλήθεια . Comp. Theophylact; also Holtzmann, Judenth. u. Christenth . p. 421.

[197] The passage means: “I rejoiced when brethren came and gave witness for Thy truth ( i.e. for Thy morally true Christian constitution of life), as Thou truly ( in deed ) walkest.” καθώς , κ . τ . λ ., that is, not forming a part of that testimony of the brethren, gives to this testimony the confirmation of John himself. As the brothers have testified for Gaius, so he actually walks. This John knows , and the brethren have told him nothing new by that testimony, however greatly he has rejoiced in the fact of receiving such a testimony concerning his Gaius. Therefore he adds, with loving recognition, as thou truly walkest . That testimony therefore only corresponds to the reality.

Verses 20-21

John 17:20-21 . In His prayer for the disciples for their preservation and sanctification (John 17:11-19 ), Jesus now also includes all who (comp. Romans 10:14 ) shall believe on Him ( πιστευόντων , regarding the future as present) through the apostles’ word ( διὰ τοῦ κηρύγματος αὐτῶν , Euth. Zigabenus). The purpose for which He also includes these: that all (all my believing ones, the apostles and the others) may be one (ethically, in likeness of disposition, of endeavour, of love, etc., on the ground of faith, comp. Ephesians 4:3 ff.; Romans 15:5-6 ; Acts 4:32 ).

This ethical unity of all believers, to be specifically Christian, [198] must correspond as to its original type ( καθώς ) to the reciprocal fellowship between the Father and the Son (according to which the Father lives and moves in the Son, and the Son in the Father, comp. John 10:38 , John 14:10-11 , John 15:5 ), the object of which, in reference to believers collectively, is, that in them also the Father and the, Son may be the element in which they (in virtue of the unio mystica brought about through the Spirit, 1Jn 1:3 ; 1 John 4:13 ; 1 Peter 1:4 ) live and move ( ἵνα κ . αὐτοὶ ἐν ἡμῖν ὦσιν ).

This ethical unity of all believers in the fellowship with the Father and the Son, however (comp. John 13:35 ), shall serve to the unbelieving world as an actual proof and ground of conviction that Christ , the grand central point and support of this unity, is none other than the sent of God . “That is the fruit which must follow through and from such unity, namely, that Christ’s word shall further break forth and be received in the world as God’s word, wherein stands an almighty, divine, unconquerable power and eternal treasure of all grace and blessedness,” Luther, in opposition to which, Calvin gets into confusion by introducing the doctrine of predestination, making of πιστεύειν a reluctant agnoscere; so also Scholten. Thus the third ἵνα is subordinated to the first, as introducing its further aim; the second , however, because containing the definition of the aim of καθὼς , κ . τ . λ ., is related to the first explicatively .

[198] “Non vult concordiam coetus humani, ut est concors civitas Spartana contra Athenienses,” Melanchthon.

Verses 22-23

John 17:22-23 . What He on His part ( ἐγώ ) has done in order to bring about this unity of His believing ones and its object a newly introduced and great thought of the power of His kingdom not still dependent on ὅτι (Ewald).

τὴν δόξαν ] The heavenly glory. Comp. 1, 5, 24. This, once already possessed by Him before the incarnation, the Father has given to Him, not yet, indeed, objectively , but as a secure possession of the immediate future; He has obtained it from God, assigned as a property, and the actual taking-possession is now for Him close at hand. In like manner has He given this, His δόξα , in which the eternal ζωή , John 17:2-3 , is consummated, to His believing ones ( αὐτοῖς ), who will enter on the real possession at the Parousia, where they συνδοξάζονται (Romans 8:17 ), after that they, up to that time, τῇ ἐλπίδι ἐσώθησαν (Romans 8:24 ) Comp. on Romans 8:30 . They are in Christ already His συγκληρονόμοι , and the Spirit to be received will be to them the ἀῤῥαβὼν τῆς κληρονομίας (Ephesians 1:14 ; 2 Corinthians 1:22 ; 2 Corinthians 5:5 ), but the actual entrance on the inheritance is first accomplished at the Parousia (John 14:2-3 ; Romans 8:11 ; Colossians 3:4 ). But this relation does not justify us in interpreting διδόναι as destinare (Gabler, B. Crusius), or at least δέδωκα as constitui dare (Grotius), while the explanations also which take δόξα of the glory of the apostolic office in teaching and working miracles (Chrysostom, Theophylact, and, but with intermixture of other elements, Euth. Zigabenus, Erasmus, Vatablus, Grotius, and several others, including Paulus and Klee), or of the inner glory of the Christian life (Olshausen, comp. Gess, p. 244), of the life of Christ in believers , in accordance with Galatians 2:20 (Hengstenberg), of sonship (Bengel, comp. Godet, who refers to Romans 8:29 ), of love (Calovius, Maldonatus), of grace and truth , John 1:14 (Luthardt, Ebrard, a part also of Tholuck’s and Brückner’s interpretation), are opposed to the context. [199] See immediately, John 17:24 .

ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν , κ . τ . λ .] For what a strong bond of unity must lie in the sure warrant of fellowship in eternal δόξα ! Comp. Ephesians 4:4 .

ἐγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς κ . σὺ ἐν ἐμοι ] Not out of connection with the construction (De Wette), since it fits into it; not even beginning a new proposition, and to be completed by εἰμί (Augustine, Theophylact, Euth. Zigabenus, Beda, Beza, Bengel, and several others, including Luthardt), since thus the discourse on the δόξα would be, in opposition to the context (see John 17:24 ), interrupted; but an appositional separation from ἡμεῖς , from which it is therefore, with Lachmann and Tischendorf, to be divided only by a comma. In ἡμεῖς is contained: ἐγὼ καὶ σύ , and both are pragmatically, i.e . in demonstration of the specific internal relation of the ἓν εἶναι of believers to the oneness of the Father and the Son, thus expounded: I moving in them, and Thou in me . In accordance with this appositional, more minute definition, the ἵνα ὦσιν ἕν is again taken up with liveliness and weight (“see how His mouth overflows with the same words,” Luther), and that in the expression containing the highest degree of intensity : ἵνα ὦσι τετελειωμένοι εἰς ἕν , that they may be completed to one (to one unity), be united in complete degree , εἰς in the sense of the result . Comp. passages like Plato, Phileb . p. 18 B: τελευτᾶν τε ἐκ πάντων εἰς ἓν ; Dem. p. 368. 14 : εἰς ἓν ψήφισμα ταῦτα πάντα συνεσκεύασαν .

ἵνα γινώσκῃ ὁ κόσμος , κ . τ . λ .] Parallel to ἵνα ὁ κόσμος πιστεύσῃ , John 17:21 , adding to faith the knowledge connected therewith (conversely, John 17:8 ), and then completing the expression of the happy result to be attained by the designation of the highest divine love , of which the believer is conscious in that knowledge. We are not even remotely to think of the “ forced conviction of rebels ” (Godet); against this John 17:2-3 already declare, and here the entire context. Note rather how the glance of the praying Jesus, John 17:21-23 , rises up to the highest goal of His work on earth, when, namely, the κόσμος shall have come to believe, and Christ Himself shall have become in fact ὁ σωτὴρ τοῦ κόσμου (John 4:42 , comp. John 10:16 ). This at the same time against the supposition of metaphysical dualism in Hilgenfeld.

κ . ἠγάπησας , κ . τ . λ .] and hast loved them (as a matter of fact, through this sending of me) as Thou hast loved me , therefore with the same Fatherly love which I have experienced from Thee. Comp. John 3:16 ; Ephesians 1:6 ; Romans 5:5 ; Romans 8:32 .

[199] The δόξα is explained away also by Weizsäcker in the Jahrb. f. Deutsche Theol. 1857, p. 181. It is said to be substantially the same as the λόγος , ver. 14.

Verse 24

John 17:24 . What He has already bestowed on them, but as yet as a possession of hope (John 17:22 ), He wills ( θέλω ) that they may also partake of in reality. He does not merely wish it (against Beza, Calvin, B. Crusius, Tholuck, Ewald), but the Son prays in the consciousness of the ἐξουσία bestowed on Him by the Father according to John 17:2 , for the communication of eternal life to His own. This consciousness is that of the most intimate confidence and clearest accord with the Father. Previously He had said ἐρωτῶ ; “nunc incrementum sumit oratio,” Bengel. The idea of the last will, however (Godet), is not to be imported here.

The relative definition is placed first emphatically, because justifying the θέλω according to its contents. This is neutral ( ὅ , see the critical notes), whereby the persons ( ἐκεῖνοι , i.e . the disciples and all believers, John 17:20 ) are designated in abstracto , according to their category (comp. John 17:2 ; John 6:37 ), and the moment of δέδωκάς μοι , which is a motive cause to the granting of the prayer, becomes more prominent in and of itself .

ἵνα ] Purpose of θέλω (they should , etc.), and therewith its contents ; see on Luke 6:31 .

ὅπου εἰμὶ ἐγὼ , κἀκεῖνοι , κ . τ . λ .] shall be realized at the Parousia . [200] See on John 14:3 , also on ἀναστήσω αὐτὸ , κ . τ . λ ., John 6:39 .

θεωρῶσι ] behold , experimentally, and with personal participation , as συνδοξασθέντες , Romans 8:17 ; Romans 8:29 , and συμβασιλεύοντες , 2 Timothy 2:12 . The opposite: behold death, John 8:51 . [201] Against the interpretation that the beholding of the ΔΌΞΑ of Christ in itself (its reflection, as it were) constitutes blessedness (Olshausen, comp. Chrysostom and Euth. Zigabenus), John 17:22 testifies, although it is also essentially included in it, 1 John 3:2 ; Hebrews 12:14 .

ἣν ἔδωκάς μοι , ὅτι , κ . τ . λ .] Further added in childlike feeling of gratitude to ΤῊΝ ἘΜΉΝ , and that proleptically (comp. εἰμί ), because the Lord is on the point of entering into this ΔΌΞΑ (John 17:1 ), as if He had already received it (comp. John 17:22 ): whom Thou gavest me, because (motive of the ἐδωκ .) Thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world ( πρὸ κατ . κ . not belonging to ἜΔΩΚ . Μ . , as Paulus and B. Crusius think). The ΔΌΞΑ of Christ, as the ΛΌΓΟς ἌΣΑΡΚΟς (John 17:5 ), was, according to the mode of view and expression of the N. T., not one imparted to Him from love, but in virtue of the ontologically Trinitarian relation to the Father, [202] that which pertained with metaphysical necessity to the Son in the unity of the divine nature, the μορφὴ ΘΕΟῦ , which He as ΘΕῸς ΛΌΓΟς , John 1:1 , had , being from eternity eternally with the Father (John 17:5 ); whereas the δόξα here intended is in His exaltation after the completion of His work, since it concerned His entire person, including its human side, that given to Him by the Father from love (Philippians 2:9 ), from that love, however, which did not first originate in time, but was already cherished by the Father toward the Son before the foundation of the world. That δόξα possessed by Jesus before His incarnation, to which for the most part (as still Luthardt, Ebrard, Hengstehberg) reference is wrongly made, whereby, according to John 17:5 , ἜΔΩΚΑς would have to be conceived of as brought about through the generation of the ΜΟΝΟΓΕΝΉς , was the purely divine ; that given to Him through His exaltation is indeed the same, into which He now again has entered, but because it is the glory of the λόγος ἔνσαρκος , divine-human in eternal consummation (Philippians 2:9 ). Comp. on John 17:5 ; John 1:14 . Nowhere in the N. T. is the premundane δόξα of the Son designated as given to Him (Philippians 2:6 ; Colossians 1:15 ; 2 Corinthians 8:9 ), although this would be imaginable in and of itself as an eternal self-communication of Fatherly love (comp. Brückner and Ebrard). [203] Further, it is strangely incorrect that the ΔΌΞΑ , which the Father has given to the Son, has been explained here differently from that in John 17:22 .

The love of the Father to the Son before the foundation of the world implies the personal pre-existence of the latter with God, but is not reconcilable with the idea of the pre-temporal ideal existence which He has had in God, as the archetype of humanity. This in answer to Beyschlag, p. 87, who considers the relation as analogous to the eternal election of grace, Ephesians 1:4 , Romans 8:29 ; which is not appropriate, since the election of grace concerns those as yet not in existence , namely, future believers, whom God προέγνω as future. The Son, however, whom He loved, must personally exist with the Father, since it was in Christ that the motive already lay for the election of grace (see on Ephesians 1:4 ). Comp. also on John 17:5 . To suppose that God, according to the present passage, had loved His own ideal of humanity before the foundation of the world, the idea consequently of His own thought, is an idea without any analogy in the N. T., and we thereby arrive at an anthropopathic self-love , as men form to themselves an ideal, and are glad to attain it.

[200] The intermediate state denoted in Philippians 1:23 (see in loc. ) is not meant (Hengstenberg), nor a part of the meaning (Godet), but as what follows shows, the completed fellowship of glory . Comp. 1 John 3:2 .

[201] Baur thus explains away the historical sense: “They behold this glory, see it in reality before them, if in them, through the communication of the true God consciousness, and of the eternal life thereby conditioned, through which they have become one with Jesus and the Father, just as He is one with the Father, the divine principle ( to this , according to Baur, δέδωκα , ver. 22, refers) has realized itself as that which it is in itself.”

[202] Comp. J. Müller, Von der Sünde , II. p. 183 f.

[203] Euth. Zigabenus: τὴν δόξαν τῆς θεότητος , ἣν δέδωκάς μοι , οὐχ ὡς ἐλάττονι ἢ ὑστερογενεῖ , ἀλλʼ ὡς αἴτιος , εἴτουν ὡς γεννήσας με . But in the N. T. this mode of presentation is unsupported; in ver. 26, to which Johansson appeals, ἔδωκεν in truth refers first to the time of the sending into the world.

Verses 25-26

John 17:25-26 . Conclusion of the prayer: Appeal to the justice of God, for, after that which Jesus here states of Himself and of the disciples in opposition to the world, it becomes the righteous Father not to leave ungranted what Jesus has just declared, John 17:24 , to be His will ( θέλω , ἵνα , κ . τ . λ .). Otherwise the final recompense would fail to come, which the divine justice (1 John 1:9 ) has to give to those who are so raised, as expressed in John 17:25 , above the world; the work of divine holiness , John 17:11 , would remain without its closing judicial consummation and revelation .

καὶ ὁ κόσμος , κ . τ . λ .] The apparent want of appropriateness of the καί , from which also its omission in D. Vulg. et al. , is to be explained, is not removed by placing, with Grotius and Lachmann, only a comma after John 17:24 , and allowing καὶ ὁ κόσμος σε οὐκ ἔγνω to run with what precedes, since this thought does not fit into this logical connection, and the address πάτερ δίκαιε , according to the analogy of John 17:11 , leads us to recognise the introductory sentence of a prayer. According to Bengel and Ebrard, καὶ … καί , et … et , correspond to one another, which, however, does not allow either of the antithetic character of the conceptions, or of the manifest reference of the second καί to ἐγὼ δέ . Following Heumann, De Wette, Lücke, Tholuck make καί correspond to the following δέ , so that two relations occurring at the same time , but of opposite , kinds, [204] would be indicated: “whilst the world knew Thee not, yet I knew Thee.” Not to be justified on grammatical grounds; for τέ … δέ (Kühner, II. p. 418; Hartung, Partikell . I. p. 92 f.; Klotz, ad Devar . p. 741 f.), but never καί … δέ , is thus employed, and the passages of that kind adduced by Lücke from Plato, Menex . p. 235 E (where καὶ ἄλλους means also others), and Eryx . p. 393 E (where καὶ ἐλάχιστα is only even the least), are not in point; in other passages (as Soph. Ant . 428) καί is the simply connective and , without reference to the subsequent δέ . The καί in the present passage is rather the and serving to link on an antithetic relation ( and notwithstanding ), and is of very frequent occurrence, particularly in John, see on John 7:28 . Had Jesus said: πάτερ , δίκαιος εἶ , καὶ ὁ κόσμος , κ . τ . λ ., then καί would have been free from any difficulty. Nevertheless, the connection and its expression is the same. Christ is, in the address πάτερ δίκαιε , absorbed in the thought of the justice of God now invoked by Him, the thought, therefore, of this self-revelation of God, which was so easily to be recognised (Romans 1:18 ff.), in spite of which the world, in its blinded security, has not known Him (comp. Romans 1:28 ), and gives expression to this latter thought in painfully excited emotion (Chrysostom: δυσχεραίνων ), immediately connecting it by καί with the address. After πάτ . δίκαιε we may suppose a pause, a break in the thought: Righteous Father (yea, such Thou art!) and (and yet) the world knew Thee not! [205] Luthardt also, with Brückner’s concurrence, takes ΚΑΊ as and yet , but so that it stands in opposition to the revelation of God through Christ previously (see John 17:22 ) stated. Too indefinite, and leaving without reason the characteristic πάτερ δίκαιε out of reference.

ἜΓΝΩ ] namely, from Thy proofs in my words and deeds; ἜΓΝΩΝ , on the other hand (Nonnus: ΣΎΜΦΥΤΟς ἜΓΝΩΝ ), refers to the immediate knowledge which the Son had in His earthly life of the Father moving in Him, and revealing Himself through Him. Comp. John 8:54-55 . Not without reason does Jesus introduce His ἘΓῺ ΔΈ ΣΕ ἜΓΝΩΝ between the ΚΌΣΜΟς and the disciples, because He wills that the disciples should be where He is (John 17:24 ), which, however, presupposes a relative relation of equality between Him and them, as over against the world.

ΟὟΤΟΙ ] Glancing at the disciples.

ὍΤΙ ΣΎ ΜΕ ἈΠΈΣΤ ]. The specific element, the central point of the knowledge of God, of which the discourse treats; ΔΕΊΚΝΥΣΙΝ ἘΝΤΑῦΘΑ , ΜΗΔΈΝΑ ΕἸΔΟΤΑ ΘΕῸΝ , ἈΛΛʼ ΜΌΝΟΝ ΤΟῪς ΥἹῸΝ ἘΠΕΓΝΩΚΌΤΑς Chrysostom. Comp. John 17:8 ; John 17:23 ; John 16:27 , et al .

John 17:26 . Whereby this ἔγνωσαν has been effected (comp. John 17:7 ), and will be completely effected ( ΓΝΩΡΊΣΩ , through the Paraclete: ΚΑῚ ΚΑΊ , both … and also ), that (purpose of the γνωρίσω ) the love with which Thou hast loved me (comp. John 17:24 ) may be in them, i.e . may rule in their hearts, [206] and therewith for Christ, communicating Himself through the Spirit, is the supporter of the divine life in believers (John 14:20 ff.; Romans 8:10 ; Galatians 2:20 ; Ephesians 3:17 ),

I in them . On ἀγάπην ἀγαπᾶν , see on Ephesians 2:4 . So rich in promise and elevating with the simply grand “ and I in them ,” resounds the word of prayer, and in the whole ministry and experience of the apostles was it fulfilled. As nothing could separate them from the love of God in Christ (Romans 8:39 ), Christ thus remained in them through the Spirit, and they have conquered far and wide through Him who loved them.

[204] Hence also the reading: εἰ καὶ ὁ κ . σ . οὐκ ἔγνω , ἀλλʼ ἐγὼ , κ . τ . λ ., which is found not merely in Hippolytus, but also in the Constitt. Revelation 8:1; Revelation 8:1 . 1.

[205] This interpretation is followed also by Hengstenberg. But Ewald places καὶ ὁ κόσμος to γνωρίσω , ver. 26, in a parenthesis, and then takes ἵνα ἡ ἀγάπη , κ . τ . λ ., still as the contents of θέλε , ver. 24. How broken thus becomes the calm, clear flow of the prayer! According to Baeumlein, the parallel clauses would properly be καὶ ἐγὼ σὲ ἔγνων καὶ οὕτοι ἔγνωσαν ; but there is interpolated before the first clause an opposite clause, which properly should have μέν , so that then the main thought follows with δέ . Alike arbitrary, but yet more contorted, is the arrangement of Godet.

[206] Comp. Romans 5:5 . Bengel aptly remarks: “ ut cor ipsorum theatrum sit et palaestra hujus amoris ,” namely, διὰ πνεύματος ἁγίου , Rom. l.c. According to Hengstenberg (comp. also Weiss, p. 80), Jesus merely intends to say: “that Thou mayest love them with the love with which Thou hast loved me.” But this does not suit the expression ἐν αὐτοῖς ᾖ , neither in itself nor in the parallel relation to κἀγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς . An inward efficacious presence must be thereby intended.


The originality of the high-priestly prayer stands upon the same footing with that of the longer discourses of Jesus generally in the Evangelist John. The substance of the contents is original, but the reproduction and vivid remodelling, such as could not come forth from the Johannean individuality, with which the recollection had grown up, otherwise than with quite a Johannean stamp. Along with this, however, in reference to contents and form, considering the peculiarly profound impression which the prayer of this solemn moment must necessarily have made upon the spirit and memory of that very disciple, a superior degree of fidelity of recollection and power of reddition must be assumed. How often may these last solemn words have stirred the soul of John! To this corresponds also the self-consciousness, as childlike as it is simple and clear in its elevation, the victorious rest and peace of this prayer, which is the noblest and purest pearl of devotion in the whole of the N. T. “For so plainly and simply it sounds, so deep, rich, and wide it is, that none can fathom it,” Luther. Spener never ventured to preach upon it, because he felt that its true understanding exceeded the ordinary measure of faith; but he caused it to be read to him three times on the evening before his death, see his Lebensbeschr . by Canstein, p. 145 ff. The contrary view, that it is a later idealizing fiction of a dogmatic and metaphysical kind (Bretschneider, Strauss, Weisse, Baur, Scholten), is indeed a necessary link in the chain of controversy on the originality of the Johannean history generally, but all the more untenable, the more unattainable, the depth, tenderness, intensity, and loftiness, as is here sustained from beginning to end, must have been for a later inventor. But to deny the inward truth and splendour of the prayer (see especially Weisse, II. p. 294), is a matter evincing a critically corrupt taste and judgment. The conflict of soul in Gethsemane , so soon after this prayer which speaks of overcoming the world and of peace, is indeed, considering the pure humanity of Jesus (which was not forced into stoical indifference), psychologically too conceivable, not, indeed, as a voluntarily assumed representation of all the horrors of death from the sin of the world (Hengstenberg), but rather from the change of feelings and dispositions in the contemplation of death, and of such a death, to be made to pass as an historical contradiction to chap. 17 See on Matt., note after Matthew 26:46 . John himself relates nothing of the crisis of the conflict of soul; but this is connected with his peculiarity in the selection of the evangelical material in general, and he might be determined in this matter particularly by the account already given of the similar fact, John 12:23 ff., which he only adduces, whilst that conflict of soul was already a common property of Scriptural tradition (comp. also Hebrews 5:7 ), which he as little needed to repeat as the institution of the Lord’s Supper and many other things. That that conflict of soul had not for John the importance and historic reality which it had for the Synoptics, is considering the free selection which he has made out of the rich material of his recollection, a hasty conclusion (in answer to Baur, in the Theol. Jahrb . 1854, p. 224). The historic reality of the Gospel facts, if nothing essential is otherwise opposed to them, is not affected by the silence of John.

Bibliographical Information
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on John 17". Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hmc/john-17.html. 1832.
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