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Eve of Pentacost
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Bible Commentaries
John 17

Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of JohnHarvey's Notes on John

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Verse 1

John 17:1

The entire seventeenth chapter is a prayer by Jesus to His Father on behalf of believers (see notes on John 17:9).

Notice three things:

· Note that the Lord lifted His eyes and looked toward Heaven (Psalms 25:15, Psalms 121:1, Psalms 123:1-2, Psalms 141:8, Isaiah 38:14) as He began the prayer. There were other times Jesus had done the same thing (Matthew 14:19, Mark 6:41, Mark 7:34, Luke 9:16, John 11:41).

· Note also the simple statement, “the hour is come.” Although Jesus had said similar things to those around Him (John 12:23, John 16:32), this is a recognition directly between Father and Son that the time has arrived to fulfill their purpose.

· Thirdly, Jesus prayed for resurrection and exaltation back into His Heavenly habitation (John 17:5). The risen Jesus would be to the glory of God, the Father (Philippians 2:9-11).

Verse 2

John 17:2

God, the Father, sent His Son and gave Him all knowledge, power and authority (Matthew 11:27, Matthew 28:18, Luke 10:22, John 3:35, John 5:22-27, John 13:3, John 16:15, 1 Corinthians 15:27, Ephesians 1:20-22, Philippians 2:9-11, Colossians 1:16-19, Hebrews 2:8, Revelation 17:14, Revelation 19:16) to act as His representative on the Earth (Psalms 2:6-9, Isaiah 9:6-7, Daniel 7:14, Matthew 17:5, Mark 12:6, Luke 1:32-33, John 17:8, John 17:18, Hebrews 1:2, Hebrews 2:3) and complete the work (see notes on John 17:4).

The purpose (John 3:17, John 6:39-40, John 10:29) for the mission (Matthew 18:11, Luke 9:56, Luke 19:10, 1 John 4:14) was to make eternal life (that is, spiritual life, see notes on John 5:24) possible to all whom believe (John 3:15-16).

Verse 3

John 17:3

Although God is incomprehensible to us who are in our mortal bodies, we believers seek to learn more about the one that gave us eternal life and His ways. We once were lost. We were alienated from God (Ephesians 2:12-14, Ephesians 4:17-18, Colossians 1:21) and ignorant of Him, but now we are determined to know Him (Philippians 3:10-11). We learn more about God as we grow closer to Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6-7, Ephesians 1:17-19, Ephesians 3:17-19).

Jesus called Himself “Jesus Christ.” By doing so, He identified Himself as, and openly admitted that He is, the Messiah, the Anointed One (see notes on John 4:26). Jesus also acknowledged He was the Son of God (see notes on John 5:18, John 8:54).

Verse 4

John 17:4

Jesus had not yet gone to the cross, nor had He yet said, “It is finished” (John 19:30), but He said, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Throughout the prayer, Jesus spoke about “the work” and what He had accomplished (John 17:6, John 17:8, John 17:12, John 17:14, John 17:18, John 17:22, John 17:26).

Verse 5

John 17:5

Jesus prayed that the Father would restore Him to the glory He enjoyed before coming to Earth as a man (also see notes on John 17:1). He is about to be further humiliated, but He is looking beyond the upcoming shame to the joy of reunification with the Father in Heaven (Hebrews 12:2) and His followers (John 17:11, John 17:13, John 17:20-22, John 17:24).

Verse 6

John 17:6

Jesus had consistently maintained that everything, including Himself, belongs to the Father (Matthew 11:27, Luke 10:22, John 3:35). The Father is love (1 John 4:8, 1 John 4:16), and love gives (John 1:16, John 3:16, Romans 6:23, Romans 8:32, 2 Corinthians 9:15, James 1:17). His love for us is evident, because He manifested Himself to even us through the person of Jesus (John 1:14, John 1:18, John 14:7-9, John 15:24, John 17:26, 2 Corinthians 4:6, Philippians 2:6, Colossians 1:15, Hebrews 1:3, 1 John 5:20).

Verse 7

John 17:7

See notes on John 17:6, John 17:8.

Verse 8

John 17:8

Jesus had made it clear before that He only did and said as He had been directed by the Father (see notes on John 14:10, John 14:24). To the apostles’ credit, they had received the words (Mark 4:20, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, James 1:21). The words from God had become faith (Romans 10:14-17,) enough (Romans 12:3) to believe (John 16:30, Acts 15:7, 1 Corinthians 1:18-21, Colossians 1:5-6, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, James 1:18, 1 Peter 1:23).

Verse 9

John 17:9

God loves the world (John 3:16), and Jesus on Earth was God in a mortal body (Colossians 2:8-9) in and among the world (John 1:14). This prayer (see notes on John 17:1), however, was for those believers left behind after Jesus went back to the Father in Heaven.

Verse 10

John 17:10

The Father and the Son are one (John 17:22), and they share (John 17:6) in one another’s glory (John 17:5).

Verse 11

John 17:11

Jesus was preparing mentally for His arrest, trial, torture and crucifixion. In His heart, however, He had already moved beyond the pain and humiliation to the reunification with the Father (Hebrews 12:2). Frosting on the cake would be that none of the eleven remaining apostles become lost like Judas (John 17:12), and they would all join together with God in Heaven.

Jesus prayed that we be one as He and the Father are one (see notes on John 17:21). Did He mean He wants us all to inhabit one body? No. Does that mean He wanted us to be able to exhibit different incarnations like God does? No. The three (Matthew 3:16, Matthew 28:19, 2 Corinthians 13:14, 1 John 5:7) personages of the Godhead (Acts 17:29, Romans 1:20, Colossians 2:9) are one (Deuteronomy 6:4, John 10:30, 1 Corinthians 8:4-6, 1 Timothy 2:5, 1 Timothy 3:16), not just in their glory and power and authority, but they are united in purpose as well. They agree with each other to accomplish the will of God, all three being God, which was laid out before the foundations of the world (Matthew 13:35, Matthew 25:34, John 17:24, Ephesians 1:4, Hebrews 4:3, Hebrews 9:26, 1 Peter 1:20, Revelation 13:8, Revelation 17:8).

Verse 12

John 17:12

Judas was the only one of The Twelve (see notes on John 20:24) lost, and his fall was prophesied about in Psalms 41:9, Psalms 55:12-15, and Psalms 109:6-19. The fulfillment of prophesies concerning Judas’ betrayal was referred to in Acts 1:16-20.

Verse 13

John 17:13

Jesus was praying in preparation for His final hours (see notes on John 17:1). John, and likely some of the others, was allowed to hear the prayer, because John included it in his Gospel. Jesus allowed them to hear the prayer, so they would later recall what He had said and be joyful (John 15:11). However, Jesus was joyful over their hearing it too (John 3:29).

Verse 14

John 17:14

We believers in Christ adhere to what Jesus said (John 17:8). Since the world hates Jesus, they hate those that follow Him (John 15:18-21, 1 John 3:11-13). This explains why you have been persecuted. If you have not been persecuted, you must not be truly following Him (see notes on John 15:20).

Verse 15

John 17:15

Even though we are hated simply for following the Lord and doing what is right (see notes on John 17:14), we are needed in the world as lights in the darkness (Matthew 5:14-16, Ephesians 5:8, Philippians 2:15).

Although we are in the world, we must not allow the evil of this world to get inside of us. A boat is made to be in the water. Its purpose is to get from one location to another. The boat must stay afloat cutting a course through the waters towards a destination. Therefore, a ship must be in the water to be effective as a vessel. It travels on the water. It is rocked back and forth by the water’s waves. It is in, and surrounded by, conditions and elements that could sink it and thus ruin its effectiveness. In order to be useful, it must be effective, but not affected.

If the environment around it is allowed to get inside the vessel, it will sink. A sunken vessel is useless. Likewise, we are in the world and are called to be effective in it, but not become affected by it (Romans 12:2, Galatians 1:4). We are to be in the world and not allow the world to get in us.

Verse 16

John 17:16

See notes on John 17:14-15.

Verse 17

John 17:17

To sanctify is to acknowledge something or someone as set apart from that which is not godly (1 Thessalonians 5:23). In other words, to sanctify a thing is to consider and declare that it is dedicated to God and not suited for evil works (Exodus 28:41, Exodus 40:13). Jesus prayed that our ways might be set apart from the evil ways of the world.

The word of God is the truth that sanctifies us (John 15:3, Ephesians 5:26; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:22, 1 Peter 1:23). His words are gifts to us. We hear His word and faith is measured out to us (Romans 10:17). Through faith, we are able to believe (2 Timothy 3:15). Through belief, we are able to be saved from the judgment we deserve (John 3:15-16). Once we are saved, God begins to mold us into what He wants us to become. We are to be different than unbelievers. The difference should be noticeable.

We are admonished in James 1:21 to “… lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness.” To “lay apart” is to let go of what Jesus was talking about in John 15:2 and John 15:6. Part of the process of our spiritual growth involves pruning undesirable aspects of our thoughts, words and behaviors out of us. Jesus told us that the Father would do the pruning, and James told us to let go of the thing the Father cuts off of us. We need to view what the Father wants out of our lives as an unwanted branch that is hindering our growth. That’s a branch that needs pruning. It needs cut off, and we need to let go of anything in our lives that isn’t bearing fruit.

What is the fruit I am speaking of? Our lives should exhibit the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and not our old sinful ways. How do we get rid of our wicked behaviors, bad attitudes, and nasty thoughts? How do we stop acting like the world and continue acting like Jesus has taught us to act? Empowered by the Holy Spirit, we must renew our minds, in order to be transformed (Romans 12:2). A renewed mind contributes to new behaviors (Psalms 23:7), and others will be able to see the change that has happened in us. They will be able to perceive that we are set apart from everybody else.

We have been saved spiritually. We need to work out our salvation (Philippians 2:12). Our spirits are saved. It is the soul that needs help. The soul is a container for our emotions, our ego, our memories and our thought life (see notes on John 5:42). The soul is one part, but we are three part beings; spirit, body and soul (1 Thessalonians 5:23). After being spiritually born again, the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak (Matthew 26:41), and our souls need saved (James 1:21). Our spirit has been changed, but our soulish part is a mess.

What can help us? The word! The word is effective (Hebrews 4:12), and it goes to work within us to sanctify us (1 Thessalonians 2:13).We need to receive and welcome the word. The word of God is a great gift to us, but what good is any gift, if we don’t receive it? And, what good is any gift that we receive, if we never welcome it and we never use it (Matthew 16:26)?

Verse 18

John 17:18

Jesus was sent on a mission from the Father (1 John 4:14, and see notes on John 8:26, John 13:1, John 16:28, John 17:2), and we are sent on a mission from Christ (Matthew 28:19, Mark 13:10, Mark 16:15, Luke 24:46-48, John 15:16, John 20:21, and see notes on John 4:38).

Verse 19

John 17:19

The word sanctifies us (see notes on John 17:17). Jesus can sanctify Himself, because He is the word in the flesh (John 1:1-14). Moreover, since the truth sanctifies (John 17:17), and Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), Jesus can sanctify Himself.

Verse 20

John 17:20

See notes on John 17:9.

Verse 21

John 17:21

Through this verse in Jesus’ prayer (see notes on John 17:1), Jesus reveals to us the relationship between Him and the Father. They are one (see notes on John 10:30). The Father is in Jesus, and Jesus is in the Father.

We believers are to be “in Christ” (Romans 8:1-2, Romans 8:39, 1 Corinthians 1:30, 1 Corinthians 15:22, 1 Corinthians 1:21, 2 Corinthians 2:14, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Galatians 6:15, Ephesians 1:10, Ephesians 2:6, Ephesians 2:10-13, Ephesians 3:6, Colossians 1:28, 2 Timothy 2:10, 2 Timothy 3:12-15, 1 Peter 5:14), and Christ is in us (Luke 17:21, John 6:56, John 14:17, John 14:23, John 15:4, John 17:23-26, Romans 8:10, Galatians 2:20, Galatians 4:19, Ephesians 3:17, Colossians 1:27, Colossians 3:11, 1 John 4:4, Revelation 3:20).

If we are in Christ, and Christ is in the Father (Colossians 3:3) and the Father is in Christ (John 14:10-11, John 14:20, John 17:23, 2 Corinthians 5:19, Galatians 3:17, Ephesians 1:20), then we are in the Father and Son and one in purpose with the Father and the Son (see notes on John 17:11, 2 Corinthians 2:16, Philippians 2:5, 2 Timothy 1:9). Likewise, believers are one with another (Romans 12:4-5, Romans 15:5-6, 1 Corinthians 3:8, 1 Corinthians 10:17, 1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 12:20, Galatians 3:28, Ephesians 4:25, Philippians 2:2, 1 Peter 3:8).

If we strive to stay one in purpose with God, we will behave godly (Leviticus 11:44-45, Leviticus 19:2, Leviticus 20:7, Leviticus 20:26, 2 Corinthians 7:1, Ephesians 4:22-24, Philippians 1:27, Colossians 1:9-10, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-4, 1 Peter 1:16), and the world will see the effect of Jesus discipleship in our lives (Matthew 5:16, 1 Corinthians 14:25, 2 Corinthians 13:11, Philemon 1:6, 1 Peter 2:12, 1 Peter 3:1, 1 Peter 3:16).

Of course, we will still make mistakes (1 Kings 8:46, 2 Chronicles 6:36, Job 15:14, Job 25:4, Psalms 130:3, Proverbs 20:9, Ecclesiastes 7:20, Isaiah 53:6, Isaiah 64:6, Galatians 3:22, James 3:2, 1 John 1:8-10). We will still fall short (Romans 3:23). When you stumble, get back up. Don’t use your past as justification for staying like you have always been. “Oh that’s just the way I am. I’ve always been a hot head.” That may have been true before you met Christ, but He gives to those that believe in Him the Spirit (see notes on John 20:22). The Spirit gives to us everything we need to change (Galatians 5:22-23). We may have been a certain way, but through Christ we no longer need to stay that way.

Verse 22

John 17:22

Jesus shares His glory (John 17:5) with us (1 Corinthians 3:23, 2 Corinthians 3:18). The Father then allows us into Himself (1 John 1:3), because we are glorified together with Christ (Romans 8:17, Ephesians 2:5). Without Christ, we cannot share in the glory of God (Isaiah 42:8, Isaiah 48:11). Being unified through grace (John 1:16) with the Godhead (see notes on John 17:11), we share also in their oneness (see notes on John 17:21).

In this verse Jesus prayed, given the above, that we may be one in purpose (Romans 12:5, Romans 15:6, 1 Corinthians 10:17, 1 Corinthians 12:12, 1 Corinthians 13:11, Philippians 1:27, Philippians 2:2, Philippians 3:8) as we are one with the Godhead and they are one (Deuteronomy 6:4, Job 23:13, John 10:30, 1 John 5:7).

Verse 23

John 17:23

See notes on John 17:22.

When those that are still lost see the lives of those changed by the power of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and the sanctification of the word (see notes on John 17:17) through the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:1-2), they see evidence of the love of God (John 3:16) in living flesh. Knowing then how we might affect others through the testimony of our own lives, and knowing the consequences of sin from which we have been saved, we are to work our salvation from the inside outward (Romans 2:7, 1 Corinthians 9:24-27, Galatians 6:7-9, Philippians 2:12, 2 Peter 1:5-10, 2 Peter 3:18) where the world might see the change and be motivated to seek salvation themselves (Matthew 5:16, John 15:8, 2 Corinthians 9:12-15, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12, 1 Peter 2:12, 1 Peter 4:14, Philippians 2:13-15).

Verse 24

John 17:24

Jesus added to what He had said in John 17:5 by asking the Father (see notes on John 17:1) for His desire that the disciples be allowed to live with Him in Eternity and become eye witnesses of His heavenly majesty.

Verse 25

John 17:25

God is righteous, and we are unrighteous (Romans 3:9-10, Romans 3:23). The unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9, 1 Corinthians 15:50, Galatians 5:19-21). The only hope we have that we shall be saved from the fate of the world is faith in His grace (Acts 15:11, Ephesians 2:5-8, Romans 5:17, Romans 5:21, 2 Timothy 1:9), by which we gain right-standing with God (see notes on John 7:18) through Christ (Romans 3:22, Romans 8:10, Romans 10:4, 1 Corinthians 1:30, Galatians 2:21, Philippians 1:11, Philippians 3:9, 2 Peter 1:1, Hebrews 6:12, Revelation 21:7).

Verse 26

John 17:26

Notice how Jesus spoke like His Father, as seen in John 12:28.

Jesus came in the name of the Father speaking of His love towards man (John 3:16). The love of the Father towards His son is an obvious assumption. What Jesus showed us is amazing to those that believe. That same love, the Father’s love for His only son, can be poured out upon us and into us through the Son (Romans 8:16-17).

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on John 17". "Harvey's Notes on the Gospel of John". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/shj/john-17.html.
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