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John 17

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary

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John 17:0


The Prayer of JesusJesus Prays for HimselfJesus' High Priestly PrayerJesus Prays for His DisciplesThe Prayer of Jesus
John 17:1-5John 17:1-5John 17:1-5John 17:1-5John 17:1-23
Jesus Prays for His Disciples
John 17:6-19John 17:6-19John 17:6-19John 17:6-8
Jesus Prays for All Believers John 17:9-19
John 17:20-26John 17:20-26John 17:20-24John 17:20-23
John 17:24-26John 17:24-26
John 17:25-26



This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects. Compare your subject divisions with the five modern translations. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.


A. Historical Setting

1. This chapter is Jesus' High Priestly prayer for

a. Himself (John 17:1-5)

b. His disciples (John 17:6-19)

c. future followers (John 17:20-26)

It was given in an atmosphere of confidence, not resignation (cf. John 16:33).

2. This is the longest recorded prayer of Jesus.

3. This chapter is difficult to divide into subjects because the same motifs are mentioned over and over again, which is characteristic of John's writings. This is like a tapestry of recurrent patterns. The key words are "glory," "give," "know," "sent," "name," "the world," and "one."

4. There is no mention of the Holy Spirit in this chapter. This is unusual because of His prominence in chapters14-16.

B. Characteristics of Disciples in Verses John 17:6-19

1. They are elect

2. They are obedient

3. They know God and Christ

4. They accept truth

5. They are prayed for by Jesus

6. They stay in the world

7. They are kept by His power

8. They are one as the Father and Jesus are one

9. They have His joy

10. They are not of this world

11. They are consecrated by truth

12. They are sent as He was sent

13. They are loved as the Father loved Jesus

C. The term "glory" in John

1. There are over 25 Hebrew words translated by the Greek term doxa in the Septuagint (LXX). The major OT term is kabod, which meant "different," "weight," "heaviness," "worthiness," "reputation," "honor," or "brightness/splendor."

2. The Greek term doxa comes from the verb "to think" in the sense of reputation.

3. There are many different connotations of this word in John

a. divine glory (cf. John 17:5, John 17:24; John 1:14; John 12:41; John 12:16)

b. the revelation of the Father by Jesus' signs, teachings, and Passion Week works (cf. John 17:4, John 17:10, John 17:22; John 1:14; John 2:11; John 7:18; John 11:4, John 11:40)

c. specifically the cross (cf. John 17:1, John 17:4; John 7:39; John 12:23; John 13:31-32)

There is obviously some fluidity between these usages. The central truth is that the invisible God is revealed in a human (i.e., Jesus Christ) by His words and acts.


This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. Why is this prayer so theologically important?

2. Was Judas a believer who fell from grace?

3. What is the purpose of our unity?

4. Why is the pre-existence of Jesus important?

5. Define in this context the key terms:

a. "glorified"

b. "give"

c. "know"

d. "sent"

e. "name"

f. "world"

Verses 1-5

NASB (UPDATED TEXT: John 17:1-5 1Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You, 2even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life. 3This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was."

John 17:1 "Jesus spoke these things" This must refer to the upper room discourses of chapters 13-16.

"lifting up His eyes to heaven" This was the common Jewish posture for prayer: hands, head, and open eyes lifted toward heaven as if in conversation with God (cf. John 11:41; Mark 7:34; Luke 18:13; Psalms 123:1). Jesus prayed often. This can clearly be documented from the Gospel of Luke 3:21; Luke 5:16; Luke 6:12; Luke 9:18, Luke 9:28; Luke 11:1; Luke 22:41-45; Luke 23:34.

"Father" Jesus commonly addressed Deity by this term (cf. John 11:41; John 12:27, John 12:28; Matthew 11:25-27; Luke 22:42; Luke 23:34). Jesus spoke Aramaic. Jesus' Aramaic term was Abba, which is what a child used for his father at home, "Daddy" (cf. Mark 14:36). This must have shocked and offended Jesus' non-disciples!

"the hour has come" This shows that Jesus knew the purpose and timing of His ministry (cf. John 2:4; John 7:6, John 7:8, John 7:30; John 8:20; John 12:23; John 13:1). He was not overtaken by unknown circumstances.

"glorify Your Son" This is an aorist active imperative. Jesus always refers to His death in similar terms in John (cf. John 17:4; John 7:39; John 12:23; John 13:31-32). This term also relates to Jesus' pre-existent deity (cf. John 1:14 and John 17:5, John 17:24). Jesus' actions glorified the Father. There was a reciprocity! See note at John 1:14 and Contextual Insights, C.

For "Son" see Special Topic at 1 John 3:8.

There is manuscript variant related to "Son."

1. Son with the article occurs in MSS P60, א, B, C*, W

2. Son with the genitive pronoun occurs in MSS A, D, C2

The UBS4 gives form #1 a "B" rating (almost certain).

John 17:2 "authority over all flesh" This is an awesome statement by a peasant carpenter (cf. John 5:27; Matthew 11:27; Matthew 28:18; Luke 10:22). The term "authority" (exousia) is the same one used in John 1:12; John 5:27; John 19:10, John 19:11. It can be translated "legal right," "authority," or "power."

The phrase "all flesh" is singular (a Hebrew idiom referring to mankind, cf. Genesis 6:12; Psalms 65:2; Psalms 145:21; Isaiah 40:5; Isaiah 66:23; Joel 2:28).

"to all whom You have given Him" The term "all whom" is neuter and singular (cf. John 7:24), which focuses on disciples, the body of Christ, not individuals! The verb is perfect active indicative which speaks of an enduring gift! This phrase affirms foreknowledge and election (cf. John 17:6, John 17:9, John 17:12; John 6:37, John 6:39; Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:3-14). In the OT election was for service, while in the NT it is for spiritual, secure, and eternal salvation. Believers are also called to service. Election is not the only divine act, but must be covenantally linked to human responsibility. It is not focused on death, but on life! Believers are chosen for "holiness" (cf. Ephesians 1:4), not a for a privileged standing. This phrase should not be understood as the Father giving some humans to Jesus and not others.


"He may give eternal life" Eternal life is a gift from God through Christ (cf. John 5:21, John 5:26; John 6:40, John 6:47; John 10:28; 1 John 2:25; 1 John 5:11). It means "God's life," "new age life," or "resurrection life." It is not primarily quantity, but quality (cf. John 10:10).

John 17:3 "This is eternal life" This is a definition of "eternal life" inserted by John. This verse shows the two major truths of Christianity: (1) monotheism (cf. Deuteronomy 6:4-6) and (2) Jesus as the Davidic Messiah (cf. 2 Samuel 7:0). This "eternal life" is not something reserved for the future but available now in Jesus Christ.

"that they may know You" This is a present active subjunctive. This does not refer only to cognitive knowledge about God, although there is truth to be affirmed, but is used in the Semitic sense of personal relationship. However, the truth is that Jesus is the Messiah, the full and complete revelation of the one true God (cf. John 1:12, John 1:14; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3), and that individuals must believe, receive, repent, obey, and persevere in Him.

"the only true God" The OT was unique in its assertion of the existence of one and only one God (cf. Exodus 8:10; Exodus 9:14; Deuteronomy 4:35, Deuteronomy 4:39; Deuteronomy 6:4; Deuteronomy 33:26; 1 Samuel 2:2; 2 Samuel 7:22; 1 Kings 8:23; Isaiah 37:20; Isaiah 44:6, Isaiah 44:8; Isaiah 45:6-7, Isaiah 45:14, Isaiah 45:18, Isaiah 45:21, Isaiah 45:22; Isaiah 46:9; John 5:44; 1 Corinthians 8:4, 1 Corinthians 8:6; 1 Timothy 1:17; 1 Timothy 2:5; Jude 1:25). In fairness it must be said that the OT presentation of God's uniqueness and oneness is set against the backdrop of the Ancient Near Eastern's worldview of many spiritual beings. There is only one God, but other spiritual beings (cf. Exodus 15:11; Deuteronomy 3:24; Psalms 86:8; Psalms 89:6).



"and Jesus Christ whom You have sent" This may be an editorial comment by John. This emphasis on Jesus as "sent" from the Father is a recurrent vertical dualism in John (cf. John 3:17, John 3:34; John 5:36, John 5:38; John 6:29, John 6:38, John 6:57; John 7:29; John 8:42; John 10:36; John 11:42; John 17:3, John 17:8, John 17:18, John 17:21, John 17:23, John 17:25; John 20:21). The rabbis used the term apostellô to refer to one sent as an official representative. See Special Topic: Send (Apostellô) at John 5:24.

John 17:4 "I have glorified You on the earth" (See note at John 13:32). The term "glory" can be used in the sense of (1) "give glory to" or (2) "to reveal the glory of." Verse John 17:6 implies #2. One of Jesus' main tasks was to reveal the Father (cf. John 1:14, John 1:18).

"having accomplished the work" The Greek root, telos, implies "to complete fully" (cf. John 4:34; John 5:36; John 19:30). The work was threefold.

1. revelation of the Father (cf. John 1:14, John 1:18)

2. redemption of fallen mankind (cf. Mark 10:45; 2 Corinthians 5:21)

3. an example of true humanity (cf. John 13:31; 1 Peter 2:21)

4. also, Jesus' work of intercession continues (cf. 1 John 2:1; Hebrews 7:25; Hebrews 9:24).

John 17:5 "glorify. . .glory" This verse emphasizes the pre-existence of Christ (cf. John 1:1, John 1:15; John 6:62; John 8:58; John 16:28; John 17:11, John 17:13, John 17:24; 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:6-11; Colossians 1:17; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 10:5-8). Jesus had revealed "glory" to the disciples by His signs and miracles (cf. John 1:14; John 2:11; John 11:4, John 11:40; John 12:28). Now the ultimate "glory" would be His death, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven's glory (cf. John 17:24; Philippians 2:5-6). The verb is an aorist active imperative used as a request to the Father. See full note on "glory" at John 1:14.

Verses 6-19

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: John 17:6-19 6"I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7Now they have come to know that everything You have given Me is from You; 8for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me. 9I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; 10and all things that are Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. 13But now I come to You; and these things I speak in the world so that they may have My joy made full in themselves. 14I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth."

John 17:6 "I have manifested Your name" Hebrew names were meant to reflect character (cf. John 17:11, John 17:12, John 17:25-26; Psalms 9:10). This phrase also theologically asserts that to see Jesus is to see God (cf. John 1:18; John 12:45; John 14:8-11; Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3).

The "name" plays an important theological role in the upper room dialogues (cf. John 14:13, John 14:14, John 14:26; John 15:16, John 15:21; John 16:23, John 16:24, John 16:26; John 17:6, John 17:11, John 17:12, John 17:26). In chapter 17 two unique titles are used of God.

1. Holy Father, John 17:11

2. Righteous Father, John 17:25

"the men whom You gave Me" Theologically this speaks of election (cf. John 17:2, John 17:9, John 17:24; John 6:37, John 6:39). No one can come unless

1. God gives

2. the Spirit draws (John 6:44, John 6:65)

3. they receive (John 1:12); believe (John 3:16)

"they have kept Your word" Obedience is crucial (cf. John 8:51, John 8:55; John 14:23; John 15:10, John 15:20). This is used in a similar sense to OT "blameless" (cf. Noah, Genesis 6:9; Abraham, Genesis 17:1; Israel, Deuteronomy 18:13; Job, Job 1:1). It does not imply perfect obedience or sinlessness, but a desire to hear and do all that is revealed; so far it refers to the disciples' faith in Jesus, abiding in Jesus, and loving one another as Jesus loved them.

John 17:7 "they have come to know" This is a perfect active indicative followed by "that" (hoti), which refers to the content of a message. For John's use of "hoti" see Special Topic at John 2:23, #4.

"that everything You have given Me is from You" Jesus spoke what was revealed to Him by the Father (cf. John 17:8; John 7:16; John 12:48-49).

John 17:8 "they received them" They received Jesus' message about God. There is no direct object stated. In John 1:12 the direct object of accept/receive referred to Jesus Himself; here, it is the message about God that Jesus brought (cf. John 17:4). This highlights the twin aspects of the gospel as (1) a person and (2) a message.

"they received. . .they believed" These are aorist active indicatives. These truths refer to Jesus' divine origin and message (cf. John 5:19; John 6:68-69; John 12:48-49; John 16:30; John 17:18, John 17:21, John 17:23, John 17:25).

John 17:9 "I ask on their behalf" Jesus is our Mediator (cf. 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 12:24) and Advocate (cf. 1 John 2:1). The Father is also involved in these tasks (cf. John 16:26-27), as is the Spirit (cf. Romans 8:26-27). All three Persons of the Trinity are involved in all aspects of redemption.

"the world" Kosmos is used eighteen times in this chapter. Jesus cares for (1) the planet (cf. John 17:5, John 17:24) and (2) believers' relationship to its fallenness (cf. John 1:10; John 17:6, John 17:9, John 17:11, John 17:13, John 17:14, John 17:15, John 17:16, John 17:17, John 17:18, John 17:21, John 17:23). In John's writings this term uniquely means "human society organized and functioning apart from God." Sometimes it implies (1) the planet; (2) all life on the planet; or (3) or life apart from God. See Special Topic at John 14:17.

John 17:10 "and all things that are Mine are Yours and Yours are Mine" This reveals the unity of the Trinity (cf. John 17:11, John 17:21-23; John 16:15). For Trinity see Special Topic at John 14:26.

"I have been glorified in them" This is a perfect passive indicative. A disciple's life is to give honor to Jesus as He gave honor to the Father. What an awesome responsibility!

John 17:11 "I am no longer in the world" This refers to (1) the immediate future (ascension) when Jesus will return to the Father (cf. Acts 1:9-10) or (2) the public ministry of Jesus.

"Holy Father" This term "Holy" is used of the Father only here in the NT (Also used in the title, "Holy One," 1 Peter 1:15) as it is in the OT. This adjective (hagios) is also often attributed to the Spirit (cf. John 1:33; John 14:26; John 20:22). The same Greek root is used of the disciples in John 17:17 (hagiasmos) and Jesus in John 17:19 (hagiazô).

The basic etymology of the root is "to separate for God's service" (cf. John 17:17, John 17:19). It is used of persons, places, and things given exclusively for God's use. It describes God's transcendent character (the Holy One of Israel) and a differentness from physical, earthly, fallen things. Jesus was holy; as His followers become more like Him they, too, reflect "holiness." The root of the term "saint" is from the Greek term "holy." Believers are holy because they are in Christ, but they are to become holy as they live for Him, like Him, and unto Him.


"keep them in Your name" Jesus is praying (aorist active imperative) for the empowering protection and personal presence that YHWH has given Him (perfect active indicative) to be provided His disciples (cf. John 17:12). This will enable them to minister in a fallen world as He ministered in a fallen world (cf. John 17:18). This is one of the benefits of the unity (cf. John 17:21) between

1. the Father

2. the Son

3. the disciples

"that they may be one even as We are" This is a present subjunctive. It refers to the relational unity of the Triune God (cf. John 17:21, John 17:22, John 17:23; John 10:30; John 14:10). This is also an awesome request and responsibility for Christians! This call for unity is lacking in our day (cf. Ephesians 4:1-6). Unity, not uniformity, is the way to reunite God's splintered church.

John 17:12 "I was keeping. . .I guarded" The first verb is imperfect tense and the second aorist tense. These verbs are synonymous. The thrust of the passage is Jesus' continuous protection (cf. 1 Peter 1:3-9).

In his Word Studies in the New Testament, Vol. 1, M. R. Vincent makes a distinction between these two terms. He says the first (tçreô) meant to preserve and the second (phulassô) meant to guard (p. 496).

"not one of them perished" This shows Jesus' power of protection (cf. John 6:37, John 6:39; John 10:28-29).

This term (apollumi) is difficult to translate because it is used in two different senses. In his book Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, Vol. 1, Gerhard Kittel says of this word, "In general we may say that 2 and 4 underlie statements relating to this world as in the Synoptics, whereas 1 and 3 underlie those relating to the next world, as in Paul and John" p. 394. The definitions he gives are:

1. "to destroy or kill"

2. "to lose or suffer loss from"

3. "to perish"

4. "to be lost"

This term has often been used to assert the doctrine of annihilation, that is, that unsaved people cease to exist after judgment. This seems to violate Daniel 12:2. It also misses the distinction between the connotations used in the Synoptic Gospels versus John and Paul, who use it metaphorically of spiritual lostness, not physical destruction. See Special Topic at John 10:10.

"but the son of perdition" This obviously refers to Judas Iscariot. This same phrase is used in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 of the "Man of Sin" (end-time Antichrist). This is a Hebraic idiom meaning "the one who is destined to be lost." It is a wordplay on the term "lost" used earlier in the verse: "no one is lost except the one destined to be lost."


"that the Scripture would be fulfilled" This refers to Psalms 41:9, quoted in John 13:18; John 6:70-71.

John 17:13 "But now I come to You" This could refer to

1. Jesus' prayer (John 17:0)

2. Jesus' ascension (John 17:11; Acts 1:0)

"these things I speak in the world" This phrase may link back to

John 1:11:42, Jesus speaks aloud so others can hear

John 2:15:11, Jesus' words are directly related to the disciples "joy"

"that they may have My joy made full in themselves" This is a present active subjunctive and perfect passive participle. What a wonderful promise (cf. John 15:11; John 16:24). John uses this very phrase again (cf. 1 John 1:4; 2 John 1:12).

John 17:14 "I have given them Your word" The term "word" here is logos. The Greek synonym rhçma is used in verse John 17:8. This is an affirmation of divine revelation through Jesus' person, teachings, and example. Jesus gives the Word and is the Word. The word is both personal and cognitive content. We welcome the Person of the gospel and believe the message of the gospel!

"the world has hated them" Rejection by the world is a sign of acceptance by Christ (cf. John 15:18-20; 1 John 3:13).

"because they are not of the world" Believers are in the world, but not of the world (cf. John 17:16; 1 John 2:15-17).

"as I am not of the world" "The world" refers to this fallen age of human and angelic rebellion (cf. John 8:23). This is another example of John's vertical dualism.

John 17:15 "I do not ask You to take them out of the world" Christians have a mission in the world (cf. John 17:18; Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). It is not time for them to go home!

NASB, NKJV"the evil one" NRSV"the evil one" TEV, NJB"the Evil One"

This term is either neuter or masculine. This literary unit mentions the personal force of evil often (cf. John 12:31; John 13:27; John 14:30; John 16:11), therefore, this verse, like Matthew 5:37; Matthew 6:13; Matthew 13:19, Matthew 13:38, should be "the evil one" (cf. 2 Thessalonians 3:3; 1 John 2:13-14; 1 John 3:12; 1 John 5:18-19). See Special Topic at John 12:31.

John 17:17 "Sanctify" This is an aorist active imperative from the root "holy" (hagios). This can mean

1. Believers are called to Christlikeness (cf. John 17:19; Romans 8:28-29; 2 Corinthians 3:18; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 1:4; Ephesians 4:13; 1 Thessalonians 3:13; 1 Thessalonians 4:3, 1 Thessalonians 4:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; 1 Peter 1:15). This can only happen through knowledge of the truth, which is both living word (Jesus cf. John 1:1-14) and written word (Bible, cf. John 15:3).

2. "Sanctify," in its OT sense, basically means "to set apart for God's service. Verse John 17:18 clarifies the purpose for them being "sanctified."

It is not a question of whether #1 or #2 is true. They both are true. Jesus' life showed the necessity of both (cf. John 17:19).

It is quite possible that John has the disciples "sanctified" for God's service as an analogy of the OT priests set apart for God's service. They served as mediators of the OT sacrifices, but the disciples' served as the revealers of the NT perfect, once-for-all sacrifice, Christ (see the book of Hebrews, which compares the OT and NT).

"in the truth; Your word is truth" Truth refers to Jesus' message about God (cf. John 8:31-32). Jesus is called both the message (Logos, cf. John 1:1, John 1:14) and truth (cf. John 14:6) of God. The Spirit is often referred to as the Spirit of Truth (cf. John 14:17; John 15:26; John 16:13). Notice that believers are also sanctified by truth (cf. John 17:19, perfect passive participle) and by the Spirit (cf. 1 Peter 1:2). For a fuller discussion on the Greek root "true, truth" see Special Topics on Truth at John 17:5 and 17:3.

It is possible that "Your word is truth" may be an allusion or quote from the LXX of Psalms 119:142, "Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and they law is truth." It is surely possible that Jesus was seen as

1. the new Moses (Deuteronomy 18:15)

2. His disciples as new priests (use of verb "sanctify")

3. His life as the true revelation of the one true God

4. the unity of the Triune God and disciples as the fulfilled purpose of creation (i.e., Genesis 1:26-27)

5. Jesus as the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15

John 17:18 "As You sent Me into the world" Jesus' life of obedience and service, even to the point of death (2 Corinthians 5:14-15; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 3:16), sets the pattern for His followers (cf. John 17:19). He will send them into the lost world on mission just as He was sent in John 20:21. They must engage the world, not cloister from it. See Special Topic: Send (Apostellô) at John 5:24.

John 17:19 "I sanctify Myself" This must refer in this context to Calvary! Jesus set Himself to do the Father's will (i.e., Mark 10:45).

"that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth" This is a hina clause (purpose clause) with a periphrastic perfect passive participle, which implies that the results have already occurred and continue in force. There, however, is an element of contingency based on

1. Christ's upcoming work on the cross, resurrection, and ascension

2. their continuing repentant faith response to Jesus and His teachings

See Special Topics on Truth at John 17:5 and 17:3.

Verses 20-24

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: John 17:20-24 20"I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word; 21that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. 24Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am, so that they may see My glory which You have given Me, for You loved Me before the foundation of the world."

John 17:20 "but for those also who believe in Me" This is a present tense functioning as a future tense. This refers to all subsequent believers and in John 10:16, even to Gentiles. See Special Topic at John 2:23.

"through their word" This is the term logos. Because of its use in John 17:14 and its synonym rhçma in John 17:8, this must refer to the disciples' passing on the revelatory message of Jesus.

John 17:21 "that they may all be one" This unity is nothing else than the unity of the Trinity (cf. John 17:11, John 17:22, John 17:23; Ephesians 4:1-6). This is one aspect of Jesus' teaching that His followers have not followed.

"so that the world may believe that You sent Me" This is a present active subjunctive. The purpose of unity is evangelism. Verse John 17:23 is almost the exact same structure and emphasis!

There is a tension in Jesus' prayer. He does not pray for the world (cf. John 17:9), yet He sends His followers into the world with His message which will cause their persecution because God loves the world (cf. John 17:21, John 17:23; John 3:16). God wants the whole world to believe (cf. 1 Timothy 2:4; Titus 2:11; 2 Peter 3:9). God loves all those made in His image and likeness. Jesus died for the sins of the entire world. See Special Topic: Send (Apostellô) at John 5:24.

John 17:22 "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them" These are both perfect active indicatives. Glory must refer to the revelatory message. They will bear His word to the world as Jesus bore the Father's word. This will result in them bearing His reproach also! A. T. Robertson in his Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. V, says "It is the glory of the Incarnate Word (cf. John 17:4 and 2:11) not the glory of the Eternal Word mentioned in John 17:24" (p. 280). See full note on "glory" at John 1:14.

John 17:23 "that they may be perfected in unity" This is hina clause with a periphrastic perfect passive, like John 17:19. In John 17:19, there is an element of contingency based on (1) Christ's upcoming work or (2) their continuing faith. The implication is that they have already been united by the agency of Jesus and that it will remain! The purpose of unity is evangelism.

"and loved them, even as You have loved Me" This is a promise (cf. John 16:27 and John 14:21, John 14:23), but it has a condition. God deals with humans by means of covenants ("if. . .then").

Love (agapeô) occurs eight times in John 1-12, but 31 times in John13-17. The upper room dialogues emphasized the revealed character of God the Father through the words and actions of the Son and soon after, the resurrection, and especially Pentecost, through the disciples. God is love (cf. 1 John 4:7-21).

John 17:24 "be with Me where I am" Jesus is returning to glory to prepare a place for His followers (cf. John 14:1-3). This world is not our home as it was not His either! It is His creation (Genesis 1-2) and it will be restored (Revelation 21-22).

"so that they may see My glory which You have given Me" Obviously the term "glory" in this verse cannot mean what it does in John 17:22. Here it seems to include the majesty of Jesus' pre-existent deity.

"before the foundation of the world" The Triune God was active in redemption even before creation. This phrase is used several times in the NT (cf. Matthew 25:34; Luke 11:50; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 4:3; Hebrews 9:26; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8).

Verses 25-26

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: John 17:25-26 25"O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

John 17:25 "righteous Father" This title only appears here in the NT. It is parallel to "Holy Father" in John 17:11. comes from a Hebrew word for "measuring reed." God is the standard of judgement! See Special Topic at 1 John 2:29.

"the world has not known You" The world, human society organized and functioning apart from God (John's unique usage), does not know God (cf. John 17:25) nor His Son (cf. John 1:10). It is evil and wicked (cf. John 3:19-20; John 7:7).

"yet I have known you" Jesus is the highest and purest source of information about God (cf. John 1:18; John 3:11).

John 17:26 "I have made Your name known to them" This is referring to Jesus' revelation of the Father's character and plan of redemption for mankind (cf. John 17:6, John 17:11, John 17:12; Acts 2:23; Acts 3:18; Acts 4:28). The term "known" is used five times in John 17:25-26.

"and will make it known" This either refers to (1) the continuing revelation of Jesus through the Spirit who clarifies His teachings or (2) the salvation (Passion Week) events about to occur. The context of the passage implies #1. Salvation involves a person and a message, a decision and a lifestyle, an initial faith and a continuing faith. It involves both the Greek connotation of "know" and the Hebrew connotation of "know."

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on John 17". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/john-17.html. 2021.
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