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Bible Commentaries

Ironside's Notes on Selected Books
John 17

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-5

John 17:1-5

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: as thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

We are told in the epistle to the Hebrews that God “is able … to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them” (7:25).

Have you ever wondered how our blessed Lord speaks to the Father when He makes intercession as our High Priest? What does He have to say? This question is largely answered in this seventeenth chapter. We have here what has well been called the high-priestly prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We have seen that the gospel of John is divided into two parts. The first twelve chapters give the presentation of our Lord to the world. From the thirteenth on, we have His manifestation to His own. Even the chapter that speaks of His crucifixion is presented from the standpoint of the burnt offering-that aspect of His work which is entered into only by those already in living relationship with God. In chapter 13 He appears as our Advocate, keeping His people fit and clean as they travel through this world. In chapter 14 He is the Coming One, the object of His people’s hope. In chapter 15 He is the living Vine, and we are the branches. So that the Christian is one whose roots are in heaven, but the branches fall down to the earth, and from the branches, fruit is produced. In chapter 16 our blessed Lord is specifically the Giver of the Holy Spirit. In chapter 17 He is presented as our great High Priest with God. It is as though we have been allowed to enter actually within the now rent veil and listen to the pleadings of the Son with the Father, to listen to the intercession of our great High Priest as He speaks to God on our behalf.

This chapter is rightly called the Lord’s Prayer. We generally use that term for the beautiful prayer that He taught His disciples when they came to Him and said, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1). He replied, “When ye pray,… pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen” (Matthew 6:7-13; see also Luke 11:2-4).

But that is not really the Lord’s prayer. It is a prayer given by the Lord, but He Himself never prayed that prayer. In the very nature of things He could not do so. It is one of the evidences of His sinlessness that He never prayed with anyone. He prayedy»r people but not with them. He could not say, “Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,” for He had no debts. He could not say, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” for He had no trespasses. This is not His prayer, but an outline putting before His disciples the petitions they might well bring to God and indicating the lines of approach to God.

The Lord’s prayer, recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John, gives us His own blessed utterances. Have you ever wondered what He said when He was out on the hillside all night in prayer while His disciples slept? You can get an idea of the petitions He brought to the Father from this prayer. Remember, our blessed Lord was as truly Man as if He had never been God, and as truly God as if He had never become Man. He was the only absolutely sinless One, yet He took the place of dependence as a humble suppliant in prayer.

In this seventeenth chapter we have Him praying largely for His own: “These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee” (v. 1).

Toward that hour He had been looking, not only ever since the beginning of the world but before the world began, when He said in eternity past, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart” (Psalms 40:7-8). He was willing to come into the world, to go to the cross, to settle the question of redemption. Now the cross is before Him. In a few hours more He will be hanging on that tree in the sinner’s place, bearing the sinner’s judgment, and yet He looks on to it in perfect confidence, for He knows that He cannot be holden of death. He is looking on to resurrection. When the Greeks came saying, “We would see Jesus” (John 12:21), He said, “Father, glorify thy name. Then came a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again” (v. 28). God was glorified in resurrection in the triumph over the tomb at Lazarus’s grave. God is about to be glorified in the resurrection of His Son. When the sin question is settled to the divine satisfaction, the glory of God demands the resurrection of the One who settled that question.

We have here the glory of our Lord presented in two very distinct ways-His essential glory and His acquired glory. When He says in the first verse, “Glorify thy Son, that thy Son may also glorify thee,” we have His acquired glory. In verse 5 He says, “O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” He speaks here of His essential glory. He was one with the Father from all eternity. Yet in infinite grace He laid aside the outward signs of glory and came into this world and trod the path as a stranger and a pilgrim. Now He is going back whence He came, and all that has been hidden will be fully manifested-His essential glory as one with the Father.

In verse 1 we have those glories He acquired by coming into the world, and doing His work down here. He never could have been a Savior if He had not gone through suffering. The glory of Saviorhood came only through the cross. In Hebrews we read He was made “perfect through sufferings” (2:10) not as to character, for He was always perfect in character, but He could not be the Captain of our salvation except through the suffering of the cross.

Then we have His glory as Head of the church. He was ever the Head of creation. In Colossians we read that He brought everything into existence, but it is in resurrection that He is the Firstborn from among the dead, and that He becomes the Head of the church. The risen Man in glory is the Head of the church.

Then there is His glory as the coming King who will reign over Israel and over all peoples to the ends of the earth. This depends on His obedience to the Father’s will down here. He must tread the path from the manger to the cross, and in view of this He is to be proclaimed Jehovah’s King over all the earth.

We shall share with Him in all of His acquired glory, but not in His essential glory. We shall never become part of Deity. He remains alone, therefore, the only One in all the universe who is both God and Man. But we shall share the fruits of His saving work. We are saved, and what He did on the cross has made us members of that body of which He is the Head. We shall reign with Him. We share His acquired glory, but we worship and adore in the presence of His essential glory.

He is still speaking as a Man when He says, “Glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee.” If our Lord had not come from the tomb, then the whole divine program would have been ruined, would never have been carried out.

In verse 2 we read, “As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.”

This is in accordance with His declaration made in the last chapter of Matthew, “All [authority] is given unto me” (28:18). God has committed all authority unto the risen Christ. “As thou hast given him [authority] over all flesh.”

Fancy anyone professing to believe that this is a reliable record of the utterances of our Lord Jesus Christ on that last night, questioning His Deity. Just imagine any man saying, “Thou hast given Me authority over all flesh, that I should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Me.” This statement involves His own recognition of His Deity, because it is as the divine One that He gives eternal life.

Notice, too, that expression, “As many as thou hast given him.” Seven times that expression or a similar one is used in this chapter. What does this suggest? It clearly indicates that He thinks of all His redeemed as the Father’s love gift to His Son. That is one reason I have no difficulty about the question of the eternal security of the believer. Every believer has been given to the Lord Jesus Christ, and I read, “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance” (Romans 11:29). He never changes His mind. As children, we sometimes gave things to others and then wanted them back after a while. W/hen God gave the church to Jesus long before the world began, He gave every individual who would believe on His Son to Christ for all eternity. “That He should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.” We shall notice that expression from time to time. The blessed Lord gives eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him. How many does He give to the Lord Jesus Christ? All who will come to Him. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

I have known some troubled souls who have been brought up under a hyper-Calvinism who were distressed about this. One young lady came to me weeping and said, “It says, ‘All that the Father hath given me shall come.’ If the Father has not given me to Jesus, I cannot come to Him. I do not know if I am one of those given by the Father to the Son.”

I inquired, “Do you want to come?”

She replied, “With all my heart.”

I told her, “All you need to do is to come. When you come you can say, ‘I am one of those whom the Father has given to the Son.’ The fact that anyone wants to come tells its own story. It is the beginning of a work of grace in the soul. You would not want to come if He were not working within you. You would be entirely indifferent.”

Now verse 3: “And this is eternal life, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” This is not a definition of eternal life. I do not know how to give a definition of eternal life that would be satisfactory. I do not know how to give a definition of natural life. I know what it is to be alive, but I cannot define life. Neither can I define divine life or eternal life. Verse 3 gives us the manifestation of eternal life and shows that for which it gives ability. “That they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” That is, we cannot know God the Father and God the Son apart from having eternal life. The natural man understands not the things of God, but God gives eternal life when we believe on His Son that we might know God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. That life introduces us into a blessed sphere of relationship where we enjoy communion with the Father and with the Son. No man can enjoy fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ until he possesses eternal life.

In verse 4 the blessed Lord presents two things that may well speak to our hearts. He goes back over His sojourn here on the earth, and says, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” He had not one regret. If anyone doubts the Deity of our Lord, let him think of Christ’s record. He lived down here and never had one regret, never said one word He had to apologize for, never did one thing He later wished He hadn’t done, never made one mistake, never stumbled once on all the rocky pathway from the manger of Bethlehem to the cross of Calvary. How different from ourselves!

Bushnell calls attention to the fact that in Christ you have piety without one dash of repentance. Think of it. How did your life of piety begin? I am speaking to Christians. Did it not begin with tears of contrition and repentance as you bowed in the presence of the blessed Lord? He was one who never had any failures to confess, never wept over His sins, for He had none, though He did weep over the sins of others. Looking back over His life He said, “I have glorified thee on the earth.” In everything He said and did, He had the Father’s glory in view. “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work thou gavest me to do.” What blessed title He had to say, “Glorify thou me, for I have glorified thee.” He spent His entire sojourn on the earth seeking the Father’s glory.

Notice the second thing: “I have finished the work thou gavest me to do.” The order here is most instructive. He has left us an example that we should follow in His steps. In 1 John 2:6 we read, “He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” I can never walk perfectly as He walked. I am full of failure. But I can at least follow in His steps and seek to walk as He walked, characterized by the same spirit of devotion to God and of separation from all evil. Let me first have before my soul the glory of God and, second, the work committed to me. There is something more important than working. As soon as a man is converted we say, “Put him to work. Give him something to do.” Some people do things they are not prepared for, and work becomes legality. They do not know the blessedness and fullness of grace. There is something that comes before working, that is, the glory of God. It is more important that God be glorified than that I accomplish certain things in the line of service.

I can well understand a dear invalid whom I went to see some years ago. A gentleman who gave much time to visiting among the poor and sick said to me, “I want you to go with me to see one of my favorites.” I went with him. We came to a tenement house set back from the street. We climbed the stairs to a little room. There was a dear mother and her daughter, a young woman of perhaps thirty-two. She was sitting in a child’s highchair. She had been afflicted with infantile paralysis many years before. For twenty-two years that had been her throne, that little highchair. She sat near the window with a little desk before her. She wrote letters to people in affliction and trial all over the world.

I began to express my sympathy. She looked at me with the sweetest smile, and said, “I believe God gets more glory out of my being here in this chair than He would if I could run around. I am content to be here to glorify God.” Then she began to talk of service. I found she was doing a wonderful service sending out letters to other sick ones. She could say, “I know all about what it means to be shut in. I know what it means to be unable to walk, unable to carry out my most cherished ambitions. But I know, too, how wonderfully the blessed Lord can come in and fill the soul, and so I commend Him to you.” She glorified God on the earth and did the work He gave her to do. This is ever the order, but we often reverse it and put work first. The Lord says, “I have glorified thee,” first; then, “I have finished the work.”

Observe from this point on how our Lord speaks as though the cross were already in the past. You see He has said, “I have finished the work thou gavest me to do.” In His own mind that evidently took in the entire work of making atonement. He takes on beyond the cross and up to the glory. We are listening to the High Priest within the veil in the Holiest of All, interceding in behalf of His own. It is a resurrection priesthood. After the completion of the work of making atonement, He takes His place as our High Priest in glory. And so He anticipates the cross in these words, “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” In other words, “I have accomplished that for which I came to the earth, for which I laid aside my robes of glory. Now I am going back to receive them again.”

When He was here on earth He did not lay aside His Deity. He remained what He had ever been, the Eternal Son, but He took a human body, a human spirit, and a human soul into union with His divine nature. He remained what He had ever been, though now with all a Man’s nature added, thus fitting Him to be the Daysman who could lay His hand upon both God and man.

Some who reject the full truth of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet hesitate about giving up altogether His divine Sonship, have invented a theory that is commonly called Kenoticism. It is based on Philippians 2:7, “[He] made himself of no reputation,” literally, “emptied Himself” (ekonosin). Men who otherwise seem to be good men, who seem to believe in the divine Sonship of our Lord, can through this theory fit in with a lot of teaching of the day. They say when the Lord Jesus came down to earth He emptied Himself of His divine attributes, and though they confess His preexistence and His divine Sonship, yet they say while He was here on the earth He was just like any other Galilean peasant.

They call Him a peasant, though He was really a mechanic. They admit He lived a pure and beautiful life. But they insist that He had laid aside His divine omniscience and accepted all human limitations. So when He said, “God in the beginning made them male and female,” He did not know any better. He had no schooling beyond His village and believed what the rabbis said. When He spoke of Jonah, He was speaking just as any other uninstructed Galilean would. He made mistakes because He had emptied Himself. What these men overlook is that while He walked this earth the Holy Spirit said of Him, “‘He knew what was in man’ (John 2:25). He knew all things.” He was God manifest in the flesh. Now when the work is finished, He goes back to take the glory He had left, not to be reabsorbed into Deity, but to go back into glory as One with the Father.

We have an illustration in history that may help us understand this. Peter the Great, when Czar of Russia, wanted to build a navy. But the Russian people were not a maritime people. As the result of wars he got a seaport for Russia on the Baltic Sea. He said, “I will build a navy.” But his people knew nothing about ships. What did Peter do? He laid aside his royal robes and crown, and invested Katherine, his czarina, with the regent’s authority over the Russian dominion. He dressed as a common working man and made his way to Holland and England. There he veiled his identity and worked as an apprentice to a ship’s carpenter and learned how to build ships. Then he went back to Russia, laid aside his workman’s garb, and arrayed himself once more in his royal robes. He was the same person when he was in Holland and in England as he was in Russia. He had simply emptied himself of the outward dignity of his royal estate. So our Lord, when He came to this earth, laid aside His glory, and came as God clad in robes of flesh. He glorified God, finished the work, and then said, “O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was” (v. 5).

And so He returned to the Father’s presence, whence He had come, and now abides in the heavenly sanctuary as our High Priest, ever living to intercede for us.


Verses 6-10

John 17:6-10

I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

As He continues His prayer to the Father, Jesus has in mind particularly the company of His disciples, those who have continued with Him in His trials, who believed in His message and are now to be left behind to work for Him upon the earth.

First, we have the manifestation of the Father’s name. “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world” (v. 6). That wonderfully sweet and precious name Father came as a new revelation. The Fatherhood of God is not revealed in the same way in the Old Testament. He was a Father to Israel. When Malachi wrote, “Have we not all one father; hath not one God created us?” (Malachi 2:10), he referred not to God, in the first instance, but to Abraham. Advocates of the modern theory of the universal Fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man often cite this passage as a proof text. But it is altogether beside the mark.

It remained for the blessed Lord to reveal the Father’s name, to show that God is the Father of each individual believer in His blessed Son. In olden days He made Himself known as Elohim, “the Creator”; Jehovah, “the God in covenant relation with men”; El-Shaddai, “the all-sufficient One, able to meet every need of His people”; and as God most high, “supreme Ruler of the universe.” But we have to come to the pages of the New Testament to get the revelation of the Father’s name from the lips and life of the Lord Jesus Christ.

You remember that word in John 1:14: “The Word [became] flesh, and [tabernacled] among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” As we become intimately acquainted with Him, we realize we are walking and talking with the Man who was the only begotten, living in unbroken fellowship with the Father. It is thus He made known the Father’s name. Do you want to know the Father’s heart? Get better acquainted with the Lord Jesus. “Show us the Father,” said Philip (14:8). Jesus answered, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip?” (v. 9). It is not that He confounded the persons of the Trinity. He Himself distinguished them carefully when He commanded His disciples to baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost” (Matthew 28:19). In the baptismal formula the persons are distinguished without denying the unity of the Godhead. But in Him we see the Father’s heart, the Father’s mind, and the Father’s character. He is Himself the exact expression of the divine character.

So He says, “I have manifested thy name [but not to everybody] unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world” (John 17:6a). What men are these? “No man can come to me, except the Father… draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day” (6:44). “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (v. 37). If I have come to Him, I am one of those whom the Father gave to the Son long before the world began.

I heard Sam Hadley say once in a great meeting in Oakland, California, after listening to a number of testimonies, “Many of you have been telling how you found Jesus. I have no such story to tell. I never found Him, for I was not looking for Him, but He found me and drew me to Himself from a life of sin and shame.” And he quoted the lines of the old hymn:

Jesus sought me when a stranger,

Wandering from the fold of God;

He to rescue me from danger,

Interposed His precious blood.

You have heard the story of the little boy who was asked by a Christian worker if he had found Jesus. Looking up in wonder, he said, “Please, sir, I did not know that He was lost. But I was, and He found me.” And so may every redeemed one say.

How precious to the heart of the Son of God must be the Father’s gift of His redeemed. He says, “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word” (17:6b). He will be able to say that of every one of us when He brings us home at last, in spite of all our blunders, our failures, and our sins. As possessors of the divine nature, there is in every Christian a desire to do the will of God and to keep His Word. One who lacks this has never been regenerated.

In verse 7 He says, “Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.” He takes the place of the distributor of the Father’s bounty, like Joseph and David. Both of these young men were sent by their fathers to minister to their brethren, and yet both of them were grievously misunderstood and rejected. But the Lord looks with joyous complacency upon those who receive the blessing He brought, knowing surely that He came out from God, and so they believed that God had sent Him.

For them He prays. It is not for the unsaved that our Lord is carrying on His High-Priestly intercession in heaven, but for those who have been given to Him out of the world. On the cross He prayed for sinners; in heaven, He prays for saints. How sweet the words, “All mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them” (v. 10). What perfect security and what blessed communion! In spite of all our failures, He will be glorified in all His own. For He will make even these failures a means of teaching us our weakness and helplessness, and our need of relying upon His unfailing love and power.

Literally, the word rendered “pray” here means “to make request.” Some day Jesus will make request concerning the world, and it will be given to Him as it is written in the Second Psalm: “Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the world for thy possession” (v. 8). Then He will take His great power and reign, when “the kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ” (Revelation 11:15). Now He is taking out from among the nations a people for His name, and it is on behalf of these that He makes request to the Father.

These are bound up in the bundle of life with the Father and the Son. He says, “All mine are thine, and thine are mine.” Could anything be more precious? It is another way of saying what He had declared previously in John 10, when as the Good Shepherd He said of His sheep, “Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand” (vv. 28-29). Every believer is held securely in the hands of the Father and the Son. We may well sing,

I’m safe in such confiding,

For nothing changes there.

If He had not said it Himself, we would never have dared assert that He is glorified in all His own. There has been such gross failure in many of us. We have followed afar off, so many times. Our careless ways and thoughtless words have brought dishonor upon His name many times.

But as He looks upon us, cleansed by His blood and born of His Spirit, He says of all who are saved, “I am glorified in them.” There is that in the life and experience of every Christian which is pleasant to Him and brings glory to His name. It is hard for our poor legal hearts to abide in a sense of what grace really means. In a general way we confess that we are saved by grace, justified freely by His grace, and that the same grace that saved shall carry us on to the end. But practically we are ever ready to seek to build up some claim of personal merit. The blessed fact remains that we are maintained by grace all along the way, and so there will be in each one of us that in which He will be glorified. It is His own work in us by the power of the Spirit that makes this a reality. His very intercession is to that end. He saves evermore because “he ever liveth to make intercession for [us]” (Hebrews 7:25).


Verses 11-16

John 17:11-16

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

n this section our Lord continues His intercession on behalf of His immediate disciples. They had walked with Him for three-and-a-half wonderful years. They had listened to the gracious words proceeding out of His mouth and had been thrilled by His mighty works. Confidently they had looked forward to the proclamation of His kingly authority and the setting up of a new dynasty in Judea. Now they dimly apprehended that He was about to leave them and go back to the glory from which He came, and they were bewildered and troubled. He Himself knew, as none but He could know, what the world would mean to them after He had gone, and what its attitude would be to them as they went forth carrying the message of the gospel, so He tenderly committed them to the keeping power of the Father. “Now I am no more in the world,” He says, “but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are” (v. 11).

Remember that all the way through this prayer He is anticipating the work of the cross. He speaks as though that were already in the past, and He looks at everything from the standpoint of His resurrection and ascension. It is as though He had already taken His place in the holiest as the great interceding High Priest. How blessedly He enters into the experience of His people. As on an earlier occasion, He looked down upon them from the mountaintop while they were toiling in rowing across the stormy sea, so now He sees them exposed to trials and temptations of every kind, but He “ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).

There is a wonderful sense in which the saints are viewed even now in the heavenlies. We are told in Ephesians 2 that He “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (v. 6). Christ is our Representative and God sees us in Him. Eventually we shall be with Him as an actual experience. But now we are like the children of Israel treading the sands of the wilderness. We need divine help to sustain us in a land of drought and desolation. There is nothing here that can minister to our needs. We are like David, who said, “All my springs are in thee” (Psalms 87:7). We must draw from the Lord Himself that which will build us up in the spiritual life, and He pleads with the Father on our behalf that we may be sustained as we tread our pilgrim way.

Moreover, He is concerned that we be kept in the realization of our unity one with another. “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” It is sometimes said that this prayer of our Lord’s has not been answered, because Christians are so scattered and divided. This, however, is not true. The unity of which He here speaks is the unity of life-family unity-and all believers are one in this sense. But it is a blessed thing to manifest this practically. It is as you and I realize our relationship to the Father that we are kept in the manifestation of this unity. Then there will be unity in testimony. We see how this prayer was answered from that standpoint in the early days of the church when the apostles went forth witnessing to Christ the Lord, confirming the Word by signs. Thus with great power the apostles witnessed to the death, burial, and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. It was unified testimony based upon a common life in Him.

Then in verse 12 He says, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” He had revealed the Father’s name to them, and nurtured them in the blessedness of their divine relationship and responsibility. While He was with them, He guided, advised, corrected, and chastened, if need be, in order to keep from turning from the right hand to the left. Now He had brought them all safely through, losing none that the Father had given Him.

We are not to understand that He had actually lost one, namely Judas, the son of perdition, for this is not what He says. In the original, “the son of perdition” is in the nominative case, therefore it is as though He said, “Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.” Judas had never been given to the Son by the Father. He walked in company with the rest, was even trusted as their treasurer, but long before his manifest defection the Lord had said, “Have not I chosen you twelve, but one of you is a devil?” (6:70).

You may be sure that whenever the Father gives any one to Jesus, He gives him for time and eternity. Such a person will never be lost. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6). People call this the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints, but I rather like to think of it as the perseverance of the Savior. He says, “Those that thou gavest me I have kept.” If I had to keep myself, I would be hopeless of getting through. I would be sure that something would happen some day which would cause me to lose my hold on Christ and be lost. But it is His hold upon me on which I rely. None can pluck the believer out of His hand. I receive great comfort from these words. When He gives His account to the Father, when the last believer of this dispensation is safely arrived in heaven, He will be able to say of the entire elect church, “Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost.”

You may think you know of exceptions to this, but it will be made manifest in that day that these apparent exceptions were like Judas himself, never really born of God. It is said of him that he was lost “that the Scripture might be fulfilled.” Does that mean that Judas could not have been saved had he honestly desired to be? No. But we need to distinguish between God s foreknowledge and His predestination. It was foreknown that Judas would betray the Lord Jesus Christ. It was foretold in the Word of God, but this does not mean that God had foreordained it. He permitted Judas to take his own way unhindered by divine grace, and Judas went wrong. God foreknew that he would do this, so the Scripture was fulfilled in his doom.

In verse 13 we read, “And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.” Our English word fulfilled is really two words turned around. To get the exact meaning, reverse the syllables, and you have “filled full.” And that is what our Lord has in mind. It is as though He said to the Father, “Now I am coming to Thee, and I am leaving them down in that world of trial, but I pray that their hearts may be filled full of joy. I want to share My joy with them. I would have them filled with that.” In what did He find His joy? In doing His Father’s will and communing with Him. As we trust and obey, this joy will fill our hearts to overflowing.

There is a great deal of difference between joy and happiness. Happiness comes from the old English word hap. A hap is a chance. If happenings are pleasant, a worldling is happy. If the happenings are unpleasant, this person is unhappy. But the Christian has a deep-toned joy as he walks in fellowship with God that no happiness can ever affect or change. This was what gave such power to the testimony of the early disciples. Men could beat them, put them in prison, fasten their feet in stocks, condemn them to death, but they went through it all with songs on their lips. This is not of the world. It is the manifest joy of the Lord.

Then He says, “I have given them thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world” (vv. 14-16). How slow we are sometimes to recognize the reality of our “strangership” down here. We know theoretically that we are not of the world, and yet how much like the world we are in our tastes, in our ambitions, and in our behavior. The trouble is we are not occupied enough with the land to which we are going. No one can really put this world beneath his feet until he has seen a better world above his head. We are called to separation from that system which has no place for Christ, and our sustenance, as we pass on to our heavenly goal, is the Word which He has given us.

Notice that our Lord Jesus never expressed opinions concerning anything. Strictly speaking, He had no mere ideas to give out. People talk of Jesus’ views, of Jesus’ ideas, of His conceptions of things. But this is all wrong. When He spoke, it was God speaking. He gave forth the Father’s Word, and that Word is far above all mere opinions or notions. Let us cling to it, let us hold it fast. As we walk in obedience to it, prove that we do not belong to the world, but that as a pilgrim people, we are pressing on to the rest that remains for the people of God.


Verses 17-21

John 17:17-21

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

There are two distinct lines of truth brought before us in these verses: first, our practical sanctification, and second, our unity of life and nature with all the people of God in the Father and the Son, a unity that forms the basis of Christian testimony to a lost world.

Note our Lord’s petition, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (v. 17). What does He mean by this? There are three distinct aspects of sanctification in the New Testament: sanctification by the Holy Spirit, sanctification by the blood of Christ, and sanctification by the Word of truth. The first refers to the work of the Holy Spirit within us, cleansing us from all impurity and setting us apart to God practically. The second has to do with our judicial cleansing, fitting us for entrance to the heavenly sanctuary, and the last has to do with our daily walk.

We must never confuse justification with sanctification. To justify is to clear from every charge of guilt. To sanctify is to set apart for a holy purpose. Because we were guilty sinners we needed to be justified. Because we were unclean and defiled by sin, we needed to be sanctified. Positionally, we are set apart to God in Christ, in all the value of His precious blood, the moment we trust the Savior. But practically, we are being sanctified day by day by the Spirit and the Word. In 1 Corinthians 6:11 we read, “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” In the previous verses, the apostle was speaking of a number of ungodly people, who, he said, “shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (v. 9). But Christians were once just as bad as they, but they have been washed, sanctified, and justified. The washing is the application of the water of the Word to our hearts and consciences, and that must be in the power of the Holy Spirit. This simply suggests two different aspects of one truth. The emphasis here is upon sanctification rather than justification. The Spirit had to do His work in me, awakening me, convicting of sin before I ever put my trust in the Lord Jesus Christ.

I remember years ago going into a mission in San Francisco and listening to some striking testimonies. People told how marvelously God had saved them from lives of sin and debauchery. I was to give the final message. As I listened to them, this verse came to me, and I took it for my text: “Such were some of you.” When the meeting was over, one of the workers came to me and asked, “May I have a word with you?” I said, “Certainly.”

Then he told me, “You had your theology terribly mixed tonight.”

I replied, “Did I? Won’t you please straighten me out?”

“Yes,” he answered, “that is what I want to do. You put sanctification before justification. Now justification is the first blessing and sanctification is the second, but you reversed this.”

“You are mistaken,” I replied. “I did not put sanctification before justification.”

“You most certainly did,” was his emphatic answer.

“No,” I told him, “you are wrong. I did nothing of the kind. It was the apostle Paul that put sanctification before justification, and I simply quoted what he had written.”

He insisted that I had misquoted it. But when we looked into the Bible, he had to admit I was right. However, he was sure the translation was wrong. We consulted the Revised Version. The same order was there. Then he exclaimed in confusion, “Well, all I have to say is that Paul was not yet clear on holiness when he wrote that!”

But this is not the only Scripture where we have sanctification of the Spirit coming before justification. In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 we read: “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” It is the Spirit’s sanctification, you see, that leads to belief of the truth. And then again in 1 Peter 1-2 we have the same order. Through sanctification of the Spirit, we come in the obedience of faith to the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. It is by His blood we are justified from all our guilt, and by that same precious blood, we are sanctified, set apart to God in Christ, “who… is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30).1

Here in our Lord’s prayer, He asks the Father to “sanctify them through thy truth.” That is, the Word of God is to be applied to the lives of His people, and as they obey that Word they will be practically sanctified and cleansed from defilement. In Ephesians 5:25-26 we read: “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the word.” You see, the Word of God is likened unto water because of its cleansing efficacy. When I trusted Christ, I was cleansed by His precious blood once for all. This is a cleansing that never needs to be repeated, for the blood abides upon the mercy seat, and it ever cleanses us from every sin.

But the washing of water by the Word is something I need daily. It is illustrated by our Lord’s action in washing the feet of His disciples in John 13. Our feet become defiled with the things of this world, but the Word of God is applied and we are made clean. You will realize that in this sense we could never speak of ourselves as completely sanctified. Positionally we know it is true that “by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). Christ is my sanctification, and that is complete and eternal. But so far as my practice is concerned, I need the Word of God applied every day, and thus I am being sanctified.

Now observe our blessed Lord says to the Father, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (John 17:18-19). To sanctify is to set apart. He was the holy, spotless Son of God, but He set Himself apart to go to the cross, there to die for our sins, and then to take His place at God’s right hand in heaven. As we are occupied with Him, we become like Him. Our sanctification progresses as we are taken up with Christ through the Word.

Fix your eyes upon Jesus,

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,

In the light of His glory and grace.

Now notice in verse 20, His thoughts go down through the ages, reaching even to you and to me, and to all in every place who shall ever put their trust in Him. He says, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (v. 20). It is in this way that we come to believe, is it not? And so we are included in those for whom He prays. And what is it for which He makes request? Notice His words, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me” (v. 21). Here we have a second prayer for unity. It is the unity of fellowship on which, of course, our testimony to the world is based.

People say sometimes that this prayer of our Lord has not been answered, and they point to the many different sects and denominations among professed Christians. Of these we very well are ashamed. And yet, despite them all, wherever real Christians get together they enjoy fellowship in the precious things of Christ. It is when we allow ourselves to be occupied with minor questions which do not profit that our differences come in. We are all one in Christ. The fact that Satan, our great adversary, has set members of the same family to quarrelling with each other is sad indeed, and should cause us to bow our heads in humiliation and self-judgment before God. As our unity is manifested in a practical way our testimony has power with men. On the other hand nothing is so calculated to cause the unsaved to stumble as finding that Christians are unkind and quarrelsome in their dealings with each other.

How quickly we realize that we are one when the hour of trouble and persecution comes. A fine old Armenian Christian, who was greatly grieved by the divisions among Christians in America, said to me one time as the tears started in his eyes, “They need the Turks. If they were exposed to the awful persecutions we had to know in Armenia, they would learn to value one another more.”

A missionary wrote to me lately and spoke of meeting another missionary of an altogether different group of believers in a foreign land where he was laboring. He said, “Any kind of a Christian looks mighty good to me down here.”

May we realize more and more our unity and act in accordance with it, that thus the world may believe that God sent Jesus to be the Savior of men. Every time a worldling hears you making an unkind remark about another Christian, you are stultifying your own testimony. Of old, when believers were characterized by love of the brethren, Tertullian tells us that even the heathen exclaimed with admiration, “Behold how these Christians love one another.”

The following lines are most suggestive and form a fitting commentary on our Savior’s prayer, “That they all may be one.”

They’re Dear to God

Oh that when Christians meet and part,

These words were graved on every heart-

They’re dear to God!

However wilful and unwise,

We’ll look on them with loving eyes-

They’re dear to God!

Oh, wonder!-to the Eternal One,

Dear as His own beloved Son;

Dearer to Jesus than His blood,

Dear as the Spirit’s fixed abode-

They’re dear to God!

When tempted to give pain for pain,

How would this thought our words restrain,

They’re dear to God!

When truth compels us to contend,

What love with all our strife should blend!

They’re dear to God.

When they would shun the pilgrim’s lot

For this vain world, forget them not;

But win them back with love and prayer,

They never can be happy there,

If dear to God.

Shall we be there so near, so dear,

And be estranged and cold whilst here-

All dear to God?

By the same cares and toils opprest,

We lean upon one faithful Breast,

We hasten to the same repose;

How bear or do enough for those

So dear to God!

1 I have tried to go into all this very fully in my book, Holiness, the False and the True, and if you are troubled about the question of sanctification, I would urge you to get a copy and read it carefully. I cannot go into it now with the fullness that I would like, as it would lead us too far away from our subject.


Verses 22-26

John 17:22-26

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. Father, I will 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. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Some very wonderful truths are brought before us in these verses. In verse 22 our Lord speaks of sharing His acquired glories with His own. You remember we saw that there is a difference between the essential glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and His acquired glory. When He spoke in verse 5 of the “glory which I had with thee before the world was,” and back into which He was going, He was speaking of His essential glory that you and I will never share. He is God-God the Son, with God the Father, and God the Spirit. He is God, and we, of course, will never be exalted to Deity. We do not in any sense share that glory, but we are to behold that glory when we see Him. We shall see Him in all His glory as the Eternal Son.

There are other glories that He won by His cross, that accrued to Him because of the work He did when down here in this world of sin, and those glories we shall share. He speaks of the glory that He had won when He says, “The glory which thou gavest me” (17:22). He has given us a share in all that He won by His death on the cross. In view of that, He prays a third time for the unity of His people. In verse 11 He prays for a unity in testimony: “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” Thank God, through His grace they are kept in unity of testimony.

In verse 21 He has in view unity in fellowship, and this, of course, is based upon the unity of life, which is shared by all saints. For, after having prayed for those with Him at that time, He says, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word” (v. 20). There is a unity of life. We today have exactly the same divine life that He had, so that prayer has been answered. The people of God are one. It is perfectly true we do not always act as though we are one, but we are all members of His blessed family.

He desires us to so live in that unity that the world may believe. When people of the world see that we Christians love one another, they are impressed with the reality of our profession. When they see us quarreling, it gives them a reason to question the reality of our profession.

Now in the verse before us He says, “The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one [as the Divine Trinity are one]: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one [that they may be perfected into one]” (vv. 22-23a). What is this? It is displayed unity at the coming again of the Lord Jesus Christ. “That they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent me” (v. 23). During the present time, as we manifest our unity, the world believes. At His coming, it will no longer be possible to question the fact. The world will know this unity when all the saints are revealed in the same glory as the Lord Jesus Christ. “That the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” In that day the world will awaken to the realization of the fact that Christ is indeed the Sent One. It will then be too late for many of them who refused to believe to come into harmony with Him.

The second part of this verse is so marvelous that if it were not in the Word of God we would not believe it: “Thou hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Just suppose somebody stood up and declared this without scriptural authority. It would be too much to take in! “That the world may know that thou has sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.” Is that really true? Does God the Father love me as much as He loves Jesus Christ? Do you believe it, my sister? Does he love you, my brother, as much as He loves Jesus Christ? What an amazing truth this is! I can understand that because He loves His Son He will take me into favor and give me a measure of affection because I believe in His Son. But here I find there is no difference between the love the Father has for His own Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love He has for His children of faith in Jesus Christ.

So near, so very near to God,

Nearer I could not be;

For in the person of His Son,

I am as near as He.

So dear, so very dear to God,

Dearer I could not be;

The love wherewith He loved His Son,

Such is His love to me.

There is a verse in John’s first epistle that long puzzled me. It contains just nine monosyllables. We like to use big words with which to set forth our poor poverty-stricken thoughts. But when the Holy Spirit sets forth the most profound truth He often clothes it in the very simplest language. He wraps it up in little words, so easy and plain that all can take it in. In the latter part of 1 John 4:17 we read, “As he is, so are we in this world.” Look at that. Nine monosyllables, and some of them contain only two letters. “As He is.” I could not make that out. I wondered if that were the correct translation. Might it not mean, “As he is, so ought we to be in this world?” I read the context and looked it up in the original. No, that was not it. Could it be that this is to be carried into the future? Could it mean, “As he is, so will we be when we get through with this world”? No, that was not it. “As he is, so are we in this world.” But I am not pure in thought and word and deed as He is. I am not as considerate of the feelings of others as He. I do not love God as He does. I do not love the lost world as He does. There must be something wrong.

Then my attention was directed to the fact that John had just been talking of the day of judgment. I used to be afraid of the day of judgment. How terrible it would be after many years of service to come to the judgment, and find I had failed and might be lost after all! But I read, “Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world” (literal rendering). It began to open up to me. My relationship to the coming judgment is the same as His. Is He ever coming into judgment for sin? He has been judged already in my place. Is He to give an account for the sins laid on Him at Calvary’s cross? No. Then what about me? “As he is, so are we in this world.” “Perfect love casteth out all fear” (1 John 4:18). I had been looking for perfect love in myself, trying to pump it up; looking for perfect love, but never finding it. The Lord led me to look for perfect love in the blessed Lord Jesus Christ. I found it there, the love that brought Him to Calvary’s cross. Perfect love is there and only there. It casts out all fear. It was on my behalf He suffered.

Death and judgment are behind me,

Grace and glory are before;

All the billows rolled o’er Jesus,

There they spent their utmost power.

He took my place; He bore my judgment. “There is… no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24). My fears are gone. “As he is, so are we in this world.” An English brother said:

John’s nine monosyllables all in a row,

Are my joy and my comfort while here below.

Suppose I am passing the courthouse and see the police taking in different ones. I ask, “What is going on here?” “Oh,” they say, “they are trying a lot of gangsters.” I say, “I think I’ll go in.” They tell me, “You had better stay out. You may get into trouble.” “What for?” I ask, “My case is not coming up.” I have boldness in the day of judgment. So it is here. I have boldness in the day of judgment because my case is not coming up. I have been judged in my Substitute. All my sins are settled for. I do not mean that I will not be judged for my works. That is a different occasion.

We stand now before God in relation to the judgment in the same place as His blessed Son stands. He has made us “accepted in the beloved” (Ephesians 1:6). We are accepted in Him. Don’t let any one cheat you out of the joy of that. The Father loves me as much as He loves the Lord Jesus Christ. Isn’t it wonderful to be a Christian? “That the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”

Now notice the next portion. “Father, I will [that is, ‘I desire’]” (John 17:24a). You know the Lord Jesus said, “I came… not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38). He never asserted His will. He says, “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 Iovedst me before the foundation of the world” (17:24). Do you think the Father will grant Him His desire? Do you think when the saints are gathered the Lord will be looking around and saying, “Some I thought the Father had given Me are missing?” No, they will all be there. “I will that they also, whom thou hast given me [seven times He uses that expression], be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou Iovedst me before the foundation of the world.” There is one glory we shall share, another glory we shall behold. We shall behold the glory of the only begotten Son, one who was loved of the Father before the world was created. “Thou Iovedst me before the foundation of the world.” This tells not only of the preexistence of the Lord Jesus Christ but also of the blessed fellowship of the persons of the Trinity.

Now the Lord closes His prayer thus: “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me” (v. 25). When He speaks of God in view of the world, He says, “Righteous Father.” When thinking of His own relationship, it is simply, “Father,” or “Holy Father.” What blasphemy it is to call any man on earth “Holy Father,” when the blessed Lord reserves that title for God the Father! Here He says, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee.” How true it is, “the natural man [understandeth] not the things… of God: … [but] they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The world imagines it knows God. The unsaved talk about God, but know not the One revealed by the Lord Jesus Christ.

I was reasoning with a man who called himself a Unitarian. I gave him Scripture to prove the preexistence and Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ. He did not accept the testimony of the Scripture. As he left me, he said, “Well, good-bye, brother. I cannot accept your faith, but we can shake hands because we both believe in God the Father, if we do not agree about Jesus.” I answered, “If you had offered your hand simply as a man, I could shake hands with you. I do not want to be discourteous, but I cannot shake hands with you on your statement that we have the same Father but disagree about the Lord Jesus Christ.”

The world does not know the Father. The world has many lords and gods, but only in the Lord Jesus Christ has the Father been revealed. “The world hath not known thee, but I have known thee.” He knew the heart of God, for He came from God and went back to God. He was one with the Father. Now this wonderful Lord is revealed by the Spirit to every one of us, His own. “These have known that thou has sent me.” Here on earth He took the place of the Sent One. He said, “I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me” (8:16). “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world” (17:18). We can go into a lost world with the consciousness of being sent by the Son to carry the gospel to lost men and women.

In verse 26 He says, “I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it.” In verse 6 He said, “I have manifested thy name.” Here He says, “I have declared unto them thy name.” That was a part of His mission, to make known the Father’s name. He manifested it in His life, for He was “the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth” (1:14). He manifested it by His doctrinal statement: “I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it.” What does He mean? He is just going to the cross to die, to seal His testimony by giving His life for the redemption of mankind.

In resurrection, what is the first thing He does? He appears to Mary, and says, “Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God” (20:17). He had declared the Father’s name here on the earth. He declares it again in resurrection. So we have a double testimony as to our relationship to God.

“I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.” How is that love in us, the love wherewith the Father loved the Son? Turn to Romans 5:1-5 and read, “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” The Spirit of God has come down from glory to witness to the acceptance of our blessed High Priest, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is entered into the holiest, and He it is who sheds abroad the Father’s love in our hearts. That love is not merely human, it is that which is divine. That is why the Scripture says, “Every one that loveth is born of God” (1 John 4:7). It does not mean, if you are an affectionate person you are born of God. We have such a low conception of love.

I remember hearing of a young man who came to his pastor as he was leaving for another field, and said, “Before you came here I did not care for God, man, or the Devil. Now I have learned to love them all.” That is the idea some people have of love! But divine love is holy love, the love of God to sinners, the love the Holy Spirit puts in the heart. It is this love that enabled Christ to triumph over all circumstances and to love lost men, no matter how they treated Him. May we all enter into it more fully for His name’s sake.

 


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Bibliography Information
Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on John 17:4". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/isn/john-17.html. 1914.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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