John 17#Joh 17:1| CXXII. THE LORD'S PRAYER. (Jerusalem. Thursday night.) #Joh 17:1-26| And lifting up his eyes to heaven. The action marked the turning of his thoughts from the disciples to the Father. Father, the hour is come. See TFG "#Joh 2:4|" and see TFG "Joh 7:6". Glorify thy Son, that the son may glorify thee. The Son here prays for his glorification, namely: resurrection, ascension, coronation, etc., that through these he may be perfected as a Saviour and be enabled to give that eternal life unto millions, the bestowal of which will redound unto the glory of the Father. Moreover, the glorification of Christ revealed his divine nature, and the Father was glorified by its thus becoming apparent that he had bestowed upon the world so priceless a gift. (TFG 679) #Joh 17:2| Even as thou gavest him authority over all flesh, that to all whom thou hast given him, he should give eternal life. The gift of authority was bestowed after the resurrection (#Mt 28:18|). All humanity was given into his hands that he might give life to that part of it which yielded itself to him in true discipleship. (TFG 679) #Joh 17:3| And this is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ. God is revealed in Jesus Christ: Jesus had just prayed for his glorification that the Father may be fully revealed in him. The revelation of God is the first step toward the attainment of eternal life. The inner reception of that revelation by a daily conformity to it is the second step. As we actually live God's life we come to know him; but we cannot attempt to live his life without a revelation. (TFG 679) #Joh 17:4,5| I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do. As the hour for finishing his work had arrived, Jesus speaks of it as already finished. (TFG 680) #Joh 17:5| And now, Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. As he had finished that for which he had emptied himself of his glory and entered the world, he asks that now, on his departure from the world, he may be reinstated and permitted to assume again that which he had laid aside. Paul's words are commentary on these two verses (#Php 2:5-11|). Thus Jesus ends the first division of his prayer which is a petition for himself, for the glory of the Father, and the good of the world. The second division which follows is a fourfold plea for the disciples which he then had, followed by petitions in their behalf. (TFG 680) #Joh 17:6| Thine they were, and thou gavest them to me. As a first plea or reason why the Father should bless the disciples of the Son, the Son urges that they are his property by gift of the Father. The Father is possessor of all humanity as the Creator; the Son by gift from the Father possesses the believing portion of humanity as its redeemer. (TFG 680) #Joh 17:8| For the words which thou gavest me I have given unto them; and they received them, and knew of a truth that I came forth from thee, and they believed that thou didst send me. As a second reason for blessing the disciples Jesus pleads their reception and retention of the truth which the Father had sent him to reveal, and the resulting knowledge and faith. The truth revealed by Jesus was so palpably divine that the disciples could know that its bearer came from heaven. But whether that bearer came of his own volition or as a commissioned messenger of the Father they could not know. But where knowledge was impossible, they trusted to Jesus and believed. (TFG 680) #Joh 17:10| And all things that are mine are thine, and thine are mine: and I am glorified in them. As a third plea he urges the joint possession which the Father held with him in the disciples, and the further fact that the Son was glorified in the disciples. (TFG 680-681) #Joh 17:11| And I am no more in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. As a last plea he urges the necessity of the Father's care over the disciples since the Son will be no longer in the world to care for them. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are. Our Lord's first petition grows out of his last plea. His departure would tend to scatter the disciples; they had been united by faith in the name of Christ, that is, by the divine power given of God and revealed in Christ (#Ex 23:21 Isa 9:6 Jer 23:6|), and Jesus asks that they may be still so kept, and that their unity may be as perfect as that subsisting between the Father and the Son. (TFG 681) #Joh 17:12| While I was with them, I kept them in thy name which thou hast given me: and I guarded them, and not one of them perished. Jesus emphasizes the fervency of his petition by urging his own conduct as to that which he asks. He asks the Father to care for those for whom he had himself been so painstakingly careful that not one had been lost, save him whom it was impossible to save, and whose loss the Scripture had predicted--a loss in no way chargeable against the loving fidelity of the Good Shepherd. But the son of perdition. Literally, "son of perishing." That the scripture might be fulfilled. #Ps 41:9|. (TFG 681) #Joh 17:13| That they may have my joy made full in themselves. Being about ready to depart from the world, Jesus had taught and prayed for his disciples that they might be brought into a oneness with the Father similar to that which he himself enjoyed, and the consequent joy which filled his own life might in some measure fill theirs also. (TFG 681) #Joh 17:14| I have given them thy word; and the world hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. An additional reason for the Father's care is here presented. The reception of the Father's word had brought upon them the hatred of the world, thereby increasing their need of a heavenly blessing, as a counter-balance to the curse of the world. Jesus as advocate gives potency to his petitions as to the sufferings of his disciples by suggesting that he has himself shared them (#Heb 2:10-18|). (TFG 681-682) #Joh 17:15| I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one. The care which he asks in protection in, and not removal from, the world. It is best both for the Christian and for the world that he should remain in it. The world is blessed by the Christian's presence (#Mt 4:14-16|), and abiding in the world affords the Christian an opportunity of conquest and reward (#Ro 8:37 Re 2:26 3:21|). (TFG 682) #Joh 17:17| Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth. To sanctify means to set apart to a holy use. As Jesus himself had been set apart as God's messenger to the world, so he had set apart the apostles as his messengers to it. This setting apart was not a formal, empty act, but was accomplished by God's imparting or developing a fitness in the one sanctified to perform the duties for which he was set apart. Fitness in this case would be imparted by imbuing the apostles with the Spirit of truth. (TFG 682) #Joh 17:19| And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth. Jesus had set himself apart (#Heb 9:14|), that the apostles might follow his example--#2Co 5:14-17| (and also the church--#Php 2:5 Ro 12:1,2|), that thereby the world might be saved. Our Lord's prayer as to the apostles (#Joh 17:1-19|) is, therefore, a threefold petition, namely: that they may be kept in unity, kept from the world and the devil, and that they may be set apart and equipped for the gospel service. (TFG 682) #Joh 17:20| Neither for these only do I pray, but for them also that believe on me through their word. We come now to the third division of the prayer wherein he asks for blessings upon future believers. (TFG 682) #Joh 17:21| That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us: that the world may believe that thou didst send me. Here again the first petition is for unity, and again the unity subsisting between the Father and the Son is designated as the kind desired. That future disciples may understand the nature of this unity Jesus sets it forth in an amplified statement, which reveals the fact that he does not ask for a unity similar to that subsisting between the Father and the Son, but for that very unity itself enlarged and extended so as to become a triple instead of a dual unity by the comprehension of the disciples within its compass. As a reason why the Father should bring about this unity (and a reason also why all Christians should work for it), our Lord states that its attainment will result in the conversion of the world to the Christian faith. (TFG 683) #Joh 17:22| And the glory which thou hast given me I have given unto them; that they may be one, even as we are one. Jesus here states that to bring about the unity which he here prays for he has bestowed upon the disciples the glory which the Father had bestowed upon him. The glory mentioned was that of being the Son of God (#Mt 3:17 Joh 1:14 Heb 1:5 3:6|), which glory Jesus imparts to his followers (#Joh 1:12 1Jo 3:1|). In other words, he made us his brethren that we might be united in one great household (#Ro 8:29 Eph 1:10 2:19 1Jo 3:9,10 4:8,16|). A true comprehension of the Fatherhood of God and our brotherhood in Christ must result in unity. (TFG 683) #Joh 17:23| I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one; that the world may know that thou didst send me, and lovedst them, even as thou lovedst me. He here states that the perfect unity of the church and the putting forth of its power in harmonious effort to convert the world will be equivalent to a demonstration of the truth of his divine mission. #Joh 17:21| asserts that the initial stages of unity will produce faith in the world, and this verse adds that the perfection of that unity will lead the world beyond faith into the realm of actual knowledge as to the divine mission of Christ. The context suggests that this unity will result in gracious manifestations of the Father's love. Possibly these manifestations may be of such a nature as to aid in bringing about the state of knowledge mentioned. (TFG 683-684) #Joh 17:24| That they may behold my glory. While Jesus prays that his disciples may enter the heavenly state, that state is not expressed as the end desired. He wishes them to be in that state that they may behold his glory. The glory of Christ is his Sonship, and the love which accompanies that relationship. To behold this is the height of spiritual exaltation. To know God is life eternal, and to behold God is joy ineffable. God is truly beheld subjectively. We must be like him to see him as he is (#1Jo 3:2|). The second petition of Jesus, therefore, in no way savors of a vainglorious desire that his disciples may behold him to lead them to admire him, but a wish that they may participate in the heavenly state, and know the Sonship of Jesus and all its attendant blessedness by, in some measure, participating in it. (TFG 684) #Joh 17:25,26| And these knew that thou didst sent me. In these closing sentences Jesus blends his present and his future disciples. To his present disciples he had made known the Father's name, and to the future ones he would make it known. (TFG 684) #Joh 17:26| And I made known unto them thy name, and will make it known. The knowledge which he had of the Father had been imparted to the disciples, and they had received it, and had thereby been in some measure fitted for the revelation of the glory for which he had just prayed. The world, on the contrary, had rejected Christ's revelation, and had refused to know God, and had thus become unworthy of the privilege here asked for the disciples. That the love wherewith thou lovedst me may be in them, and I in them. Jesus had revealed the Father while on earth that men might attain to the revelation of God in the hereafter, thus participating in the love which the Father has for the Son because the Son is spiritually in them. It is a significant fact that the two of the five petitions of this prayer are for Christian unity. It may be said generally of all the petitions that they ask the Father to complete that which the Son has already begin and completed to the limit of his present circumscribed power. (TFG 684-685)
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