- vv.1-5: The Son’s desire that the Father be glorified in the glorified Son, as man.
- vv.6-21: The Son’s desire that, while in the world, His saints would glorify Himself.
- vv.22-26: The Son’s desire that, in a coming day, His saints be glorified with Him.
Reporting a Completed Work on Earth: Ready for Glorification (17:1-8)
The term "eternal life" is commonly translated “everlasting life” or “life eternal”. The term is used in two different ways in scripture. In the Old Testament (e.g. Psa. 133:3; Dan. 12:2), and in the synoptic gospels (e.g. Mark 10:30), eternal life refers to the Millennial kingdom. But in the other New Testament books, and especially John's writings, "eternal life" refers to a life we can possess now. The word “eternal” does not define the duration of the life, but it defines the character of the life; "the things which are not seen are eternal" (2 Cor. 4:18). It couldn’t be the idea of "living forever" because eternal life pertains to believers, and even the unsaved live forever in eternal fire. What is implied in "eternal life" is a lifestyle characterized by love, holiness, peace, and joy. Above all, eternal life is characterized by communion with the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit; "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3). Eternal life is the highest character of life that one can ever know, because it is the same life that the Father and Son enjoy together (1 John 1:3), and which had existed from eternity to eternity (John 1:2). In 1 John we find that Christ Himself personally is that eternal life! He is the perfect expression of that life; the Word of Life. In His ineffable grace, God purposed in His eternal counsels that the fellowship of the Father and the Son would be shared with the sons of men! Read John 14:18-20. We are brought into this fellowship through the gift of eternal life. It is the greatest blessing that God can bestow on man, as it is the very same life of Christ! This eternal life, which He shares with others, is "in His Son" (1 John 5:11) meaning you can't have it apart from Him, and that "he that hath the Son hath life" (1 John 5:12).3Read more…
Prayer for His Disciples on Earth (17:9-19)
The world is a vast system set up by men, energized by Satan, in which men may live in independence of God.10 The world provides manufactured resources to fill the void that exists in every human heart. Where did the world come from? What is the world characterized by? Where is it going? These are important questions to ask and have answered from the Word of God.Read more…
The verb "to sanctify" means 'to declare or set apart as holy, or for a holy purpose'. As an example, we read that "God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it" (Gen. 2:3), not because it was previously defiled by sin, but because the Sabbath was to be set apart from the other six days. But when sin is present, sanctification involves separation from it. God is holy (Rev. 4:8), and all that is in association with God or in proximity to Him must be holy too; "Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully" (Psa. 24:3-4). There are several different aspects of sanctification in scripture; sometimes called positional (or, once-for-all), practical (or, on-going), and provisional (or, outward). Read more...The aspect here is practical sanctification, which is ongoing through a believer’s life; therefore it is sometimes called “progressive” sanctification. In these verses we find that the Lord has two modes that He uses to sanctify us practically. In v.17, He uses the washing of the Word of God, for the conscience. God uses His Word to continually remind the believer of what he is in Christ, and to illuminate his moral state (Eph. 5:26-27). We have an example of this continual “washing” in ch.13, with foot washing. If we want to be set apart for God, we must be found reading the Word of God.
Prayer for All Believers (17:20-26)
- For another example of this duality, see John 5:26, where the Son already had life in Himself (John 1:4), but as a man on earth He was granted it by the Father. Incredible humility!
- Some teach that the Son was given authority over all flesh in resurrection, on account of the purchase of all things which took place at the cross, viewed as an accomplished fact here. I am not sure about this, but I tend to think the authority was given to Him in incarnation, although He does not use it for giving eternal life until glorification.
- A deeper blessing it is impossible for God to bestow or for man to receive; for it is exactly what characterised the Lord Himself, Who is the eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested unto us. Only Christ could be said to be that life; we as believers are not, but we have it in Him; and as by faith alone it is received, so in faith it is exercised, sustained, and strengthened. - Kelly, W. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
- The language here is more of sustained relationship than in John 13:31-32, where it is a question of glorifying God, before Whom sin comes into unsparing judgment. Here it is glorifying His Father, and so there is no special contemplation of that final dealing where all that God is and feels came out against evil imputatively laid on the head of the Son of man. Here the entire path of Christ on earth in giving Himself up to obey and please His Father is summed up. – Kelly, W. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
- …if Jesus was the object of the Father’s affection, for that reason also the Father should keep them. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- How utterly blasphemous is the attribution of this blessed name ‘Holy Father’, to the Roman Catholic popes!
- Jesus indicates the name according to which the Father was to keep them: “Holy Father,” to keep them with the affection of a Father, and according to the holiness of His nature. – Darby, J.N. The Gospel of John, Notes and Comments, Vol. 6.
- There are three unities in John 17: (1) apostolic—“ one as we,” one thought and purpose; (2) “one in us,” like 1 John 1:1-4 — the true fellowship of saints — is the unity of the Spirit viewed practically; (3), entirely future — unity in glory — “perfect in one.” – J.N. Darby. Notes of a Reading with J.N.D. on the Unity of the Spirit.
- They are not of the world, as Christ is not of the world. It is a fact, and not merely an obligation, though the firmest ground of obligation. They are not of the world, not merely they ought not to be; whilst if they are not, it is grievous inconsistency even to seem to be of the world. It is to be false to our relationship. – Kelly, W. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
- For the world in the sense here conveyed is that vast system which man has built up away from God in independence and self-reliance, and to the exclusion, not of His nominal honour, but of any real submission to His righteousness, His will, word, or glory. This fully came out in the rejection and cross of His Son. - Kelly, W. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
- This unity is not the same as the unity of the body of Christ, although the same Spirit that produces the unity of v.21 also unites the members of the body. Here is in the oneness of a family that enjoys a common life.
- “…That they also may be one in us” — not “as we,” but “in us,” in the Father and the Son. It is communion in virtue of the Father made known in the Son, and of the Son the object of the Father’s love and delight, into which we are brought by the Holy Ghost. With the Father we share the Son; with the Son we share the Father. Into this blessedness the saints were now for the first time to be introduced, and in such sort that they should all be one, even as the Father in the Son, and the Son in the Father, so they also one in the Father and the Son. – Kelly, W. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
- For them He asked a unity analogous to that which existed between the Father and the Son in the work of redemption; the same thoughts, the same counsels, the same truth. The Son accomplished the Father’s thoughts in the unity of the same nature. – Darby, J.N. On the Gospel of John.
- It is always the Father revealed in the Son that is the basis of their union. Now this revelation gave them a heavenly object, one only and the same object that absorbed the heart’s affections, and thus destroyed the influence of the earthly objects that would have tended to divide them, such as their social or national position, and even what was still more difficult, their religious position. They were Christians, sons of the Father, associated with Christ; their fatherland was heaven. Pilgrims and strangers down here, they declared plainly that they sought their native country. Now, in this, they were necessarily one; one in their origin, one in their object, and that with Christ Himself, the Son of the Father. He that sanctified and they who were sanctified were all of one. (See Heb. 2:11.) – Darby, J.N. On the Gospel of John.
- Thus washed, sanctified, justified, children of God consciously, the Holy Ghost given, they find others in the communion of the same blessing. They are all one, as the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father, and brought out as they were of the strongest prejudices into a mutuality of enjoyed blessedness, into oneness in the Father and the Son. What could more powerfully bear witness to the world that the Father sent the Son? – Kelly, W. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
- …while the saints are to be one even as the Father and the Son are one, it will be Christ the Son in them and the Father in Him. And this as exactly agrees with Rev. 21 as the former answers to 1 John 1:3. – Kelly, W. Exposition of the Gospel of John.
- Trench, J.A. How Blest a Home. Little Flock Hymnbook #127
- Thus, in speaking as Man in the midst of His own, He speaks of the glory into which He was going to enter, as being given Him of God. Nevertheless He presents it here objectively as His personal glory. … He demanded that they should see His glory, the glory that He had as loved of the Father before the world existed. – Darby, J.N. On the Gospel of John.
- We see Him in the eternal fruit of that love as Man. We shall be in it with Him for ever, to enjoy His being in it — that our Jesus, our Beloved, is in it, and is what He is. – Darby, J.N. Synopsis of the Books of the Bible.
- …That the Father Himself should decide in righteousness between Him and the world. The answer very soon followed, when Jesus sat down on the Father’s throne. – Darby, J.N. On the Gospel of John.
- Even in human conversations, when we are asking another for a favor, we might get to the end and then suggest certain motivations, or underscore what it at stake.