John 17

Listen to John 17

The High Priestly Prayer

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, 1he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, "Father, 2the hour has come; 3glorify your Son that the Son may 4glorify you,
2 since 5you have given him authority over all flesh, 6to give eternal life to all 7whom you have given him.
3 8And this is eternal life, 9that they know you 10the only 11true God, and 12Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
4 I 13glorified you on earth, 14having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.
5 And now, Father, 15glorify me in your own presence with the glory 16that I had with you 17before the world existed.
6 18"I have manifested your name to the people 19whom you gave me out of the world. 20Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
7 Now they know that everything 21that you have given me is from you.
8 For I have given them 22the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that 23I came from you; and 24they have believed that you sent me.
9 I am praying for them. 25I am not praying for the world but for those 26whom you have given me, for 27they are yours.
10 28All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and 29I am glorified in them.
11 And I am no longer in the world, but 30they are in the world, and 31I am coming to you. 32Holy Father, 33keep them in your name, 34which you have given me, 35that they may be one, 36even as we are one.
12 37While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have 38guarded them, and 39not one of them has been lost except 40the son of destruction, 41that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
13 But now 42I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have 43my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 44I have given them your word, and 45the world has hated them 46because they are not of the world, 47just as I am not of the world.
15 I 48do not ask that you 49take them out of the world, but that you 50keep them from 51the evil one.[a]
16 52They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
17 53Sanctify them[b] in the truth; 54your word is truth.
18 55As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
19 And 56for their sake 57I consecrate myself,[c] that they also 58may be sanctified[d] in truth.
20 "I do not 59ask for these only, but also for those 60who will believe in me through their word,
21 61that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that 62they also may be in 63us, so that the world 64may believe that you have sent me.
22 65The glory that you have given me 66I have given to them, 67that they may be one even as we are one,
23 68I in them and you in me, 69that they may become perfectly one, 70so that the world may know that you sent me and 71loved them even as 72you loved me.
24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be 73with me 74where I am, 75to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me 76before the foundation of the world.
25 77O righteous Father, even though 78the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.
26 79I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love 80with which you have loved me may be in them, and 81I in them."

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John 17 Commentary

Chapter 17

Christ's prayer for himself. (1-5) His prayer for his disciples. (6-10) His prayer. (11-26)

Verses 1-5 Our Lord prayed as a man, and as the Mediator of his people; yet he spoke with majesty and authority, as one with and equal to the Father. Eternal life could not be given to believers, unless Christ, their Surety, both glorified the Father, and was glorified of him. This is the sinner's way to eternal life, and when this knowledge shall be made perfect, holiness and happiness will be fully enjoyed. The holiness and happiness of the redeemed, are especially that glory of Christ, and of his Father, which was the joy set before him, for which he endured the cross and despised the shame; this glory was the end of the sorrow of his soul, and in obtaining it he was fully satisfied. Thus we are taught that our glorifying God is needed as an evidence of our interest in Christ, through whom eternal life is God's free gift.

6-10. Christ prays for those that are his. Thou gavest them me, as sheep to the shepherd, to be kept; as a patient to the physician, to be cured; as children to a tutor, to be taught: thus he will deliver up his charge. It is a great satisfaction to us, in our reliance upon Christ, that he, all he is and has, and all he said and did, all he is doing and will do, are of God. Christ offered this prayer for his people alone as believers; not for the world at large. Yet no one who desires to come to the Father, and is conscious that he is unworthy to come in his own name, need be discouraged by the Saviour's declaration, for he is both able and willing to save to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him. Earnest convictions and desires, are hopeful tokens of a work already wrought in a man; they begin to evidence that he has been chosen unto salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. They are thine; wilt thou not provide for thine own? Wilt thou not secure them? Observe the foundation on which this plea is grounded, All mine are thine, and thine are mine. This speaks the Father and Son to be one. All mine are thine. The Son owns none for his, that are not devoted to the service of the Father.

Verses 11-16 Christ does not pray that they might be rich and great in the world, but that they might be kept from sin, strengthened for their duty, and brought safe to heaven. The prosperity of the soul is the best prosperity. He pleaded with his holy Father, that he would keep them by his power and for his glory, that they might be united in affection and labours, even according to the union of the Father and the Son. He did not pray that his disciples should be removed out of the world, that they might escape the rage of men, for they had a great work to do for the glory of God, and the benefit of mankind. But he prayed that the Father would keep them from the evil, from being corrupted by the world, the remains of sin in their hearts, and from the power and craft of Satan. So that they might pass through the world as through an enemy's country, as he had done. They are not left here to pursue the same objects as the men around them, but to glorify God, and to serve their generation. The Spirit of God in true Christians is opposed to the spirit of the world.

Verses 17-19 Christ next prayed for the disciples, that they might not only be kept from evil, but made good. It is the prayer of Jesus for all that are his, that they may be made holy. Even disciples must pray for sanctifying grace. The means of giving this grace is, "through thy truth, thy word is truth." Sanctify them, set them apart for thyself and thy service. Own them in the office; let thy hand go with them. Jesus entirely devoted himself to his undertaking, and all the parts of it, especially the offering up himself without spot unto God, by the eternal Spirit. The real holiness of all true Christians is the fruit of Christ's death, by which the gift of the Holy Ghost was purchased; he gave himself for his church, to sanctify it. If our views have not this effect on us, they are not Divine truth, or we do not receive them by a living and a working faith, but as mere notions.

Verses 20-23 Our Lord especially prayed, that all believers might be as one body under one head, animated by one soul, by their union with Christ and the Father in him, through the Holy Spirit dwelling in them. The more they dispute about lesser things, the more they throw doubts upon Christianity. Let us endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, praying that all believers may be more and more united in one mind and one judgment. Thus shall we convince the world of the truth and excellence of our religion, and find more sweet communion with God and his saints.

Verses 24-26 Christ, as one with the Father, claimed on behalf of all that had been given to him, and should in due time believe on him, that they should be brought to heaven; and that there the whole company of the redeemed might behold his glory as their beloved Friend and Brother, and therein find happiness. He had declared and would further declare the name or character of God, by his doctrine and his Spirit, that, being one with him, the love of the Father to him might abide with them also. Thus, being joined to Him by one Spirit, they might be filled with all the fulness of God, and enjoy a blessedness of which we can form no right idea in our present state.

Cross References 81

  • 1. John 11:41
  • 2. [John 7:30]; See John 12:23
  • 3. See John 7:39
  • 4. ver. 4
  • 5. See Matthew 28:18; Revelation 2:26, 27
  • 6. John 10:28; 1 John 2:25
  • 7. ver. 6, 9, 24; John 6:37, 39; John 10:29; John 18:9; Hebrews 2:13
  • 8. [1 John 5:20]
  • 9. Hosea 2:20; Hosea 6:3; 2 Peter 1:2, 3
  • 10. John 5:44
  • 11. 1 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 John 5:20; [Jeremiah 10:10]
  • 12. See John 3:17
  • 13. ver. 1; See John 13:31
  • 14. [John 19:30; Luke 22:37]
  • 15. John 13:32
  • 16. John 1:1, 2; [Revelation 3:21]
  • 17. ver. 24; Proverbs 8:23; See John 8:58
  • 18. ver. 26; Psalms 22:22
  • 19. See ver. 2
  • 20. ver. 9
  • 21. [See ver. 6 above]
  • 22. ver. 14; John 15:15; [John 8:26; John 12:49]
  • 23. John 8:42; John 16:27
  • 24. ver. 21, 25; John 11:42; John 16:30
  • 25. [ver. 20, 21]
  • 26. See ver. 2
  • 27. ver. 6
  • 28. John 16:15
  • 29. 2 Thessalonians 1:10
  • 30. John 13:1
  • 31. See John 14:12
  • 32. [ver. 25]
  • 33. ver. 12, 15; Jude 1
  • 34. [Exodus 23:21; Philippians 2:9; Revelation 19:12]
  • 35. ver. 21, 22; [John 10:16; Romans 12:5; Galatians 3:28; Ephesians 1:10; Ephesians 4:4]
  • 36. John 10:30
  • 37. See John 14:25
  • 38. 2 Thessalonians 3:3; Jude 24
  • 39. John 18:9; [John 6:39; John 10:28]
  • 40. 2 Thessalonians 2:3
  • 41. Psalms 109:8; Acts 1:16-20; [John 13:18]
  • 42. See John 14:12
  • 43. See John 15:11
  • 44. ver. 3
  • 45. See John 15:19
  • 46. ver. 16
  • 47. John 8:23
  • 48. ver. 9
  • 49. [1 Corinthians 5:10]
  • 50. ver. 11
  • 51. See Matthew 13:19
  • 52. ver. 14
  • 53. [1 Thessalonians 5:23; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 1 Peter 1:22]; See John 15:3
  • 54. 2 Samuel 7:28; Psalms 119:160
  • 55. John 20:21; [John 4:38; Matthew 10:5]
  • 56. [Titus 2:14]
  • 57. John 10:36
  • 58. [1 Corinthians 1:2, 30; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 2:11; Hebrews 10:10]
  • 59. ver. 9
  • 60. [John 4:39; Romans 10:14; 1 Corinthians 3:5]
  • 61. See ver. 11; [1 Corinthians 6:17]
  • 62. 1 John 1:3; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 5:20
  • 63. John 14:23
  • 64. See ver. 8
  • 65. ver. 24; [John 1:14; Luke 9:26]
  • 66. Romans 8:30
  • 67. [See ver. 21 above]
  • 68. ver. 26; John 14:20; Romans 8:10; 2 Corinthians 13:5
  • 69. 1 John 2:5; [Colossians 3:14; 1 John 4:12, 17]
  • 70. ver. 21; John 14:31
  • 71. John 16:27
  • 72. ver. 24, 26; See John 5:20
  • 73. 2 Timothy 2:11, 12
  • 74. See John 12:26
  • 75. John 1:14; 2 Corinthians 3:18; [1 John 3:2]
  • 76. Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:20; See ver. 5
  • 77. Jeremiah 12:1; [ver. 11; Revelation 16:5]; See 1 John 1:9
  • 78. See John 8:55; John 10:15
  • 79. ver. 6; John 15:15
  • 80. ver. 23; John 15:9
  • 81. See ver. 23

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Or from evil
  • [b]. Greek Set them apart (for holy service to God)
  • [c]. Or I sanctify myself; or I set myself apart (for holy service to God)
  • [d]. Greek may be set apart (for holy service to God)

John 17 Commentaries