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Tuesday, May 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
John 17

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

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Verse 1

Joh 17:1

John 17:1

These things spake Jesus; and lifting up his eyes to heaven, he said,—When Jesus had concluded the discourse contained in chapters 14 to 16, at the close of the passover supper at which he had instituted the Lord’s Supper, he offered the prayer recorded in this chapter. He was then expecting the return of Judas with his band to arrest and deliver him into the hands of the chief priests and scribes.

Father, the hour is come;—[The hour for which all the other hours had existed, the hour for the consummation of the great work of redemption. All of the coming day is comprehended in this “hour.”]

glorify thy Son, that the Son may glorify thee:—This peti­tion was made in view of the trials through which he was to pass. He asked the Father to give him strength to be able to bear it all. In this way God would glorify him, that in his faithfulness he might glorify God before the world. [The hour of suffering and death has come, but Jesus looks through this to what is beyond. He has not come to this hour for the mere purpose of suffering, but that the suffering may bring glory to himself and his Father. The resurrection, the ascension, the coronation—these are what he prays for because through these the glorification of him and the Father, together with eternal life to the race, comes.]

Verses 1-5

Joh 17:1-5

Jesus Prays for Himself - John 17:1-5

Open It

1. *How do people try to bring recognition to themselves?

2. What sort of relationship do you have with your parents?

3. How would you describe "eternal life" to someone?

Explore It

4. What did Jesus do when He had finished speaking to His disciples? (John 17:1)

5. What did Jesus announce to the Father? (John 17:1)

6. *Why did Jesus want the Father to glorify the Son? (John 17:1)

7. *For what purpose did God grant Jesus authority over all people? (John 17:2)

8. Whom were those given eternal life to know? (John 17:3)

9. What is eternal life? (John 17:3)

10. What had Jesus done by completing the work the Father had given him? (John 17:4)

11. *How did Jesus bring God glory on earth? (John 17:4)

12. How did Jesus ask to be glorified? (John 17:5)

13. With what glory did Jesus ask the Father to glorify Him? (John 17:5)

Get It

14. When do we turn to God in prayer?

15. About what sort of things do we usually pray?

16. *What example with regard to prayer did Jesus give us?

17. How can we experience the eternal life of which Jesus spoke?

18. What does it mean to know God?

19. *How can we bring glory to God?

Apply It

20. What do you need to do to prepare for the joy of eternal life?

21. *What can you do today to bring God glory?

Verse 2

Joh 17:2

John 17:2

even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh,—God had given into his hands the rule and destiny of all flesh. He came to redeem all by his death. “But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man.” (Hebrews 2:9). [All human beings is meant. The authority came by the appointment of the Father because of his purpose to redeem man by sacrifice. As he knew that the purpose held, and that he would carry it out, he speaks as though it were already accomplished, though the authority was not fully asserted till after the resurrection. (Matthew 28:18-20).]

that to all whom thou hast given him,—[The significance of this phrase, and the number it embraces, can only be settled by ascertaining the full number of believers in Christ, using “believers” in the correct sense as meaning those who have definitely committed themselves to him. A select number is not here meant by this.]

he should give eternal life.—[The design of the creation of the world is the glorification of God and Christ in the blessed­ness of men—such, likewise, is the design of the redemption. The Father is to be glorified by the diffusion of salvation in Christ, the dissemination of eternal life.] God had given him all who would believe in him and be led by him. So he gives eternal life to all who obey him.

Verse 3

Joh 17:3

John 17:3

And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ.—To know God as the ruler and maker of the universe and his Son Jesus Christ as the Redeemer and Savior of the world is to obtain eternal life. To know them in the sense of obeying him.

Verse 4

Joh 17:4

John 17:4

I glorified thee on the earth,—In doing the work of his Father he had glorified him. [Jesus stands upon an eleva­tion from which he looks back over his whole earth life as well as that of the few hours remaining. He sees in it only the glorification of the Father. He does not see in his life at this supreme moment either any evil committed or any good omitted. The duty of every hour had been fulfilled.]

having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do.—God had sent Jesus into the world to manifest God’s love, and this work he had finished. [He has laid down the principles of his church. He is about to shed the blood which shall cement together, and upon these principles the living stones of that institution.]

Verse 5

Joh 17:5

John 17:5

nd now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.—Jesus was in heaven with God before the world was. To show the way for man’s return to God he gave up that glory, came to earth, took upon himself the nature of man, became subject to mortality and death to save man. The end of this work on earth now approaches and he prays that he might be delivered from these earthly trials and be restored to his original position of honor in heaven. [Jesus here goes back of history, back of creation itself, and speaks of the glory which he then had with the Father. This can be understood only in the light of the opening verses of the first chapter of John, where not only pre-existence, but deific and eternal pre-existence is predicated of him.]

Verse 6

Joh 17:6

John 17:6

I manifested thy name unto the men whom thou gavest me out of the world:—Among those who were given to him by the Father were the twelve apostles or chosen witnesses. [It is by revealing himself as Son that Jesus has revealed God to them as the Father.]

thine they were, and thou gavest them to me;—[Probably this refers to a spiritual relationship to and knowledge of God on the part of these men, brought about by the preaching of John the Baptist, which marked them out as belonging to God. (John 1:35-39). They were true “Israel” in whom was “no guile.”]

and they have kept thy word.—Jesus had given to them the word of God, and they had kept it. Judas is excepted as fail­ing to keep the word of God. (John 17:12). [Notwithstanding all the temptations to unfaithfulness which have assailed them during these years (Luke 22:28) and before which others have fallen, they have kept in their heart the teaching of Jesus.]

Verses 6-19

Joh 17:6-19

Jesus Prays for His Disciples - John 17:6-19

Open It

1. What do you like and dislike about living in this country?

2. What do you think is most challenging for a Christian living in today’s society?

3. *In what way might you say the world is a dangerous place for a Christian to live?

Explore It

4. What did Jesus tell the Father He had done? (John 17:6)

5. What did Jesus say His disciples knew? (John 17:7-8)

6. *Why did Jesus pray for His disciples? (John 17:9)

7. What did Jesus ask His Father to do for His disciples? (John 17:11)

8. What did Jesus pray His disciples would become? (John 17:11)

9. Who did Jesus say was lost? (John 17:12)

10. Why did Jesus say these things while He was still in the world? (John 17:13)

11. *Why did the world hate Jesus’ disciples? (John 17:14)

12. What was Jesus’ prayer concerning His disciples? (John 17:15)

13. *What relationship did Jesus’ disciples have with the world? (John 17:16)

14. How would Jesus’ disciples be set aside for God’s use? (John 17:17)

15. Where did Jesus send His disciples? (John 17:18)

16. Why did Jesus set Himself apart for God’s use? (John 17:19)

Get It

17. *As believers, what is our relationship to the world?

18. What does your life-style indicate about your relationship to the world?

19. *Why is it so easy for us to become closely involved in the world?

20. Why do you think believers are still in the world?

21. When and from what has God protected you?

22. Where would you say you were in the process of being set apart for God’s use?

23. How does God’s truth sanctify us or make us holy?

Apply It

24. *What change in your life-style do you need to make to distinguish your identity from that of the world?

25. What can you do today to set yourself apart to God’s use?

Verse 7

Joh 17:7

John 17:7

Now they know that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are from thee:—These, through the teachings of Jesus, had come to know that what Jesus taught was from God the Father. Jesus taught only as God gave him to teach.

Verse 8

Joh 17:8

John 17:8

for the words which thou gavest me I have given unto them; and they received them, and knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me.—Jesus gave the words of God to the disciples and through these they came to know that Jesus came from God and that God sent him.

Verse 9

Joh 17:9

John 17:9

I pray for them: I pray not for the world,—[At this time. Jesus does not mean to say that the world is excluded from his sympathy, for the reason he was dying was to save the world.]

but for those whom thou hast given me; for they are thine:—Jesus first prays for those who had believed on him and so were given to him of God. [Jesus intimates that they oc­cupy a relationship to God, also, which he will doubtless recognize as giving them special claims to his blessings. They have not ceased to be thine by becoming mine.]

Verse 10

Joh 17:10

John 17:10

and all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine:—The oneness of Jesus and the Father is again empha­sized and the truth Jesus had taught these disciples had kept them.

and I am glorified in them.—He was glorified in their holy lives and in the work they would do in his name.

Verse 11

Joh 17:11

John 17:11

And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee.—Jesus would leave the world and go to God, but he would leave these chosen witnesses in the world.

Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me,—He had kept them while he was with them in the world; but as he leaves them he prays God to keep them in his own name, that they may be one as God and Jesus are one. To keep them in the name of God was to keep them as his serv­ants doing his work and looking to God for help and strength. [The disciples would not have his visible presence to encour­age, strengthen, and bless and he intercedes for them. We cannot overestimate the sympathy that breathes in every word of this prayer. His heart’s desire was that the apostles be kept in the spiritual sphere into which they had entered by accepting him as their Teacher and believing the truths he had presented.]

that they may be one, even as we are.—[The only security for the unity of the disciples of Christ is in answering fidelity to his word. Abiding thus in his word, in his name which is the symbol of his truth, they will be as closely united in sympathy and work as the Father and the Son. All depar­tures from unity have been departures from the word.]

Verse 12

Joh 17:12

John 17:12

While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.—When he was in the world he acted in the name of the Father. By the power and for the service of God he kept his disciples, and only the son of perdition was lost, as the scriptures foretold. [Judas had the same care bestowed on him that was bestowed on the others, and was lost because he would not be saved. What scripture is referred to here is somewhat doubtful. Some say Psalms 109:8; others Psalms 41:9.]

Verse 13

Joh 17:13

John 17:13

But now I come to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy made full in themselves.—Before leaving the world to go to God he spoke these things to his disciples yet in the world, that they might possess the joy in this world that filled Jesus, "who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising shame, and hath sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). The sufferings and shame of the cross could not dis­possess him of his joy. [Jesus was leaving these words in the world as a legacy to the apostles that they might have the same certainty of the protection and love of the Father that he had.]

Verse 14

Joh 17:14

John 17:14

I have given them thy word;—[Looking back over, and summing up, the teaching of the past years, which was the word of God.]

and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.—The words of God received into the heart, cherished and obeyed, would separate them from the world as he was separated from the world, and would cause the world to hate them as it hated Christ; but it would secure to them the joy that he possessed, of which nothing could deprive them. [The world as opposed to God, or caring nothing for him, are trampling his divine will under foot, or making his word of no effect by their traditions. Necessarily, those whose thoughts were centered upon God would be the antipodes of these and would excite their an­tipathy.]

Verse 15

Joh 17:15

John 17:15

I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world,—[For the reason that then one of the great objects of his would be defeated. They have a mission to be fulfilled; they are to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. The world is to be blessed through them, but not by their departure.]

but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one.—To keep them from being led into the sins of the world and so from its sorrows.

Verse 16

Joh 17:16

John 17:16

They are not of the world,—His disciples, guided by his words, were not of this world, but by this were made par­takers of his nature and sharers of his spiritual kingdom. [Not of the world because they have different hopes and aims from the world. They are living in a sphere of holiness into which Christ through his teaching has brought them with himself.]

even as I am not of the world.—[Like their Master, they are to be separate from sinners, and undefiled, but to remain in the world that they may carry forward the saving work established by Jesus.]

Verse 17

Joh 17:17

John 17:17

Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth.—To sanc­tify to a sacred and holy use or purpose. The prayer was separate them and set them apart (from the world) to God through the truth. Lest men should misapprehend what he regards as truth, he adds, “Thy word is truth.” No one can be separated from the world, or sanctified to God by the truth, save as he makes that truth the rule of his life and is led away from all other paths into the path marked out by this.

Verse 18

Joh 17:18

John 17:18

As thou didst send me into the world, even so sent I them into the world.—The disciples taught and sent by Jesus stood related to him as he stood related to the Father who sent him. [Jesus has raised them up into his own sphere of divine thought and feeling, and from this sent them forth as messengers to the world, even as he himself had been sent from a higher sphere to the low-lying grounds of the world. They are to take up and carry on his mission. They have, therefore, the highest claims upon our reverence.]

Verse 19

Joh 17:19

John 17:19

And for their sakes I sanctify myself,—For the sake of them he sanctified himself to death and shed his blood to seal the truth. [This covers the entire consecration of Jesus to his mission, including all he was to do and suffer on the next day. He sacrificed everything, even his own life, to the ful­fillment of his mission.]

that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.—That these disciples might be led by that truth, devoted to it, and sanctified by it. The only way of sanctification is through the truth of God. The only union possible is in the truth as God has delivered it. He who turns from the truth of God—sets aside any of that truth for the sake of union with others—not only sets at naught the authority of God, but he places himself upon ground upon which union is impossible. Union is not only undesirable, but impossible, save as men are sanctified by the word of God. A union in any other way save as we are sanctified by and in the truth would be a union out of and against God. If this were possible, it would only be the presage of swift and widespread destruction from God.

Verse 20

Joh 17:20

John 17:20

Neither for these only do I pray,—The apostles were the chosen witnesses to testify the things done and taught by Christ. They were guided by the Holy Spirit in this work. Their testimonies or words were the foundation of faith in Christ.

but for them also that believe on me through their word;—When he had prayed for the witnesses, he extends the prayer in behalf of those who would believe on him through their words. All faith in Jesus in the years since his death came through the words of the apostles.

Verses 20-26

Joh 17:20-26

Jesus Prays for All Believers - John 17:20-26

Open It

1. *When have you longed for unity in your family, church, or community?

2. With what things or traditions do you identify?

3. Why are religious beliefs divisive?

Explore It

4. For whom did Jesus pray? (John 17:20)

5. *Why did Jesus want all believers to be one? (John 17:21)

6. What had Jesus given the disciples? (John 17:22)

7. How did Jesus want believers to be unified? (John 17:22)

8. *What did Jesus want the world to know? (John 17:23)

9. Why had the Father given glory to Jesus? (John 17:24)

10. What did Jesus want for those the Father had given Him? (John 17:24)

11. When did the Father love the Son? (John 17:24)

12. What did Jesus say that the world did and did not know? (John 17:25)

13. *Why was Jesus going to continue to make the Father known? (John 17:26)

Get It

14. In what way are all Christians one?

15. *How are Christians today divided? Why?

16. Why is unity so difficult for Christians to achieve?

17. What does the world today know about the Father?

18. *How is the Father’s relationship with the Son an example for us to follow in our relationships with other Christians?

19. What relationship do you have with the Father and the Son?

Apply It

20. *What can you do to promote unity among fellow Christians?

21. How can you be a testimony of God’s love to the world?

22. What is one thing you can do this week to strengthen your bond with other Christians?

Verse 21

Joh 17:21

John 17:21

that they may all be one;—The oneness of the children of God as God and Jesus are one was a question near the heart of the Son of God.

even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in, thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me.—One reason of this earnest desire for this oneness was that through this oneness the world might be brought to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and be saved. The belief and salvation of the world depends upon the children of God being one. They can be one only by adhering faith­fully to the word of God. Through all the ages to come man can believe in God through Christ in the words of the apos­tles. [The Father and Son have no separate will, kingdom or interest. Such a union is here demanded of the disciples of Christ. It is impossible to convert and save the world to Christ as long as they who claim to be his followers are divided into various denominations, each having a different doctrine, property and interest, separate churches, colleges, papers, and missions. Denominationalism is utterly opposed to this prayer, and every apologist for it is disloyal to the spirit of the prayer and working against the salvation of the world. Nor is it fulfilled in any church where there are factions, where all are not “perfected together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” If Christ abides in the heart, the one life will draw all who have Christ formed within them into one family. This union is needful and the world will never believe in the Christ until it is accomplished. Sectarian divisions is the most fruitful source of skepticism that can be found. The union of Christendom would soon convert the world; but this union must be on the word of God.]

Verse 22

Joh 17:22

John 17:22

And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them;—The power and wisdom God had given the Son when he sent him into the world, he thus gives to his apos­tles that through this power they might show that God was with them as he had been with Jesus.

that they may be one, even as we are one;—God’s Spirit in Christ makes them one. This same Spirit ruling in the disciples will make them one with God and one with each other. All persons guided by the one Spirit will be one with each other.

Verse 23

Joh 17:23

John 17:23

I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me.—Jesus loved those he died to redeem. He loved them while they were yet sin­ners and rebels against God. That love was intensified and strengthened by their response to his love and sacrifice.

Verse 24

Joh 17:24

John 17:24

Father, I desire that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.—When they became the children of God, this love was intensified and he desired that they should be with him, see his glory in the world of glory bestowed upon him by his Father, and share that glory with him. The Father loved him before the world was, and gave him the glory that he now desired them to behold and share.

Verse 25

Joh 17:25

John 17:25

O righteous Father, the world knew thee not,—The world had been created by God; but it lost sight of him and turned from him. “And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness apprehended it not.” (John 1:5).

but I knew thee; and these knew that thou didst send me;—While the world did not know him, Jesus who had been with him did know him, and the disciples through his works and teaching had come to know that God had sent him and was with him.

Verse 26

Joh 17:26

John 17:26

and I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known;—By the name of God is meant more than by the simple term by which he is known; but person, character, and mission of God in his dealings with man. “And Jehovah descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and pro­claimed the name of Jehovah. And Jehovah passed by before him, and proclaimed, Jehovah, Jehovah, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abundant in loving-kindness and truth; keeping loving-kindness for thousands, forgiving in­iquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, upon the third and upon the fourth generation.” (Exodus 34:5-7). [I have made known unto them thy nature, attributes, counsels, will, and commandments, and I will continue the manifestation of the same unto the end. The saving knowledge of God was not attainable by natural abilities, but cometh to us by the special revelation of Christ.]

that the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them.—Jesus had declared the work, mission, char­acter, and office of the Creator and Ruler of the world; he would still do it in person till his final ascension; then he would do it through the Spirit that the Father would send in his name, that the apostle acting as he acted, living as he lived, might be the object of God’s love as he (Jesus) was loved by his Father. [It is not enough for the people of God that they are beloved of him, and that his love is towards them; but they must endeavor to have it in them.]

Questions on John Chapter Seventeen

E.M. Zerr

1. After these words to where did Jesus look?

2. To whom did he address his prayer?

3. What did he say had come?

4. Tell what he asked the Father to do.

5. Why had power been given Christ?

6. What brings life eternal?

7. What had Jesus done on the earth?

8. State what glory he now prayed for.

9. What had he manifested to men?

10. Tell who are the men referred to.

11. What had they kept?

12. State what these men were led to know.

13. What words had Jesus given them?

14. This produced what belief?

15. What was Jesus now doing for them?

16. For whom did he not pray?

17. To whom did the disciples belong?

18. In what did Jesus take glory?

19. What separation did he now refer to?

20. Tell what keeping he asked of God.

21. This was to what purpose?

22. How had they been kept up to now?

23. Which one has not been kept?

24. This fulfilled what?

25. Why called "son of perdition"?

26. To whom does Jesus now come?

27. Why come at this time and place?

28. What had Jesus given the apostles?

29. Tell what the world has done.

30. State the reason.

31. For what did Jesus not pray?

32. From what would he have them kept?

33. To what did they not now belong?

34. In this respect whom are they like?

35. What special favor did he ask for them?

36. Through what was this to be accomplished?

37. Who had been sent and where?

38. What had Jesus done for their sakes?

39. This was to accomplish what?

40. Who are "these" in John 17:20?

41. Who are "them" in this same verse?

42. By what would they be made believers?

43. State the subject of this prayer.

44. What example is referred to?

45. Tell the result to be obtained.

46. In whom may unity be had?

47. What had been given to aid them to unity?

48. What three should be perfect in one?

49. This would make the world know what?

50. What was Christ’s will concerning his followers?

51. For what reason did he wish this?

52. How long had God loved Christ?

53. Who had and who had not known the Father?

54. Why had Christ declared God’s name?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 17". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/john-17.html.
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