The Son’s High-Priestly Prayer to the Father
John 17. In this chapter we have the Son opening up His heart to His Father. Like nowhere else in scripture, we have the Son’s deepest desires made known…
- 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 His own, while in the world, would glorify the Father and the Son.
- vv.22-26: The Son’s desire that His own be with Him to behold the glory given by the Father to the Son; and that they be glorified with Him (v. 22).
Three unities in John 17: (None refer to unity in divine essence, although it is often portrayed that way)
- A Unity in Purpose (Past, v.11) – the oneness of the apostles in aim and purpose in the power of the holy Ghost
- A unity in Communion (Present, vv.20-21) – the oneness of fellowship for all those who share eternal life
- A Unity in Glory (Future, vv.22-23) – a visible display of glory that the saints will share in, which will make the world know that the Father sent the son!
1 These things Jesus spoke, and lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son may glorify thee;
2 as thou hast given him authority over all flesh, that as to all that thou hast given to him, he should give them life eternal. 3 And this is the eternal life, that they should know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
4 I have glorified “thee” on the earth, I have completed the work which thou gavest me that I should do it; 5 and now glorify “me”, “thou” Father, along with thyself, with the glory which I had along with thee before the world was. vv.4-5 Here we have the Son requesting that the Father glorify Him with the Son’s own personal glory, which He had before the world was. When He became flesh, that personal glory was veiled. He isn’t asking to be re-invested with that glory; because He never lost it, as He never ceased to be the Son. But what He willingly laid aside in becoming man, He now requests to be unveiled, and the attitude of it is perfect dependence! He does not demand this on the basis of His being the Son. He could have, because He had full right and title to that personal glory. But instead He offers up His accomplishing the work given Him by the Father as adequate basis to be given that glory again, now as a man. The Son is competent to rule on His own work. He who knew what was required to glorify the Father says, “I have completed the work”. A similar thought is found in the Victor’s cry on the cross; “It is finished!” (John 19:30).
6 I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world. They were thine, and thou gavest them me, and they have kept thy word. 7 Now they have known that all things that thou hast given me are of thee; 8 for the words which thou hast given me I have given them, and they have received them, and have known truly that I came out from thee, and have believed that thou sentest me.
9 I demand concerning them; I do not demand concerning the world, but concerning those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine, 10 (and all that is mine is thine, and all that is thine mine,) and I am glorified in them. vv.9-10 The Lord uses the word “demand” in His prayer in a way that we could never use it. He prays as on an equality with the Father.
11 And I am no longer in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name which thou hast given me, that they may be one as we. v.11 The unity of the apostles was unity by the power of the Holy Ghost. They were identical in mind and purpose, being entirely under the power of the Holy Ghost. The key is “as we”; as the Father and Son are one in purpose, one in mind, one in affection.
12 When I was with them I kept them in thy name; those thou hast given me I have guarded, and not one of them has perished, but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. 13 And now I come to thee. And these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in them. 14 I have given them thy word, and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 15 I do not demand that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them out of evil. 16 They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by the truth: thy word is truth.
Practical sanctification. In this chapter we find that the Lord has two modes that he uses to sanctify us practically:
- v.17 by using the water of the word of God… for the conscience
- vv.18-19 by setting himself apart in heaven as an obect for the heart.
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world; 19 and I sanctify myself for them, that they also may be sanctified by truth. 20 And I do not demand for these only, but also for those who believe on me through their word; v.20 The second unity refers to all those that believe through the apostolic testimony.
21 that they may be all 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. v.21 this unity is a unity of communion that the saints are to express as we have it in 1 John 1:1-4, a communion of sharing eternal life “in the Son”. that unity has not been displayed except at the beginning of the church’s history. “One in us”… having eternal life in the Son gives the capability of enjoying and expressing the communion that flows from the Son having revealed the Father, and the Father loving and delighting in the Son… “thou in me, I in thee”. This unity would evidence that the Father had sent the Son, and as a result, “the world may believe”. This has not happened, but this will yet be answered!
22 And the glory which thou hast given me I have given them, that they may be one, as we are one; v.22 The third unity is future, in glory, when we will be perfected into one. When Christ who is our life shall appear, we be manifested with Him in glory (Col. 3:4). The visible display of glory will make it known that the Father sent the Son, though rejected when He came. in this glory, the second unity (of communion), will be perfectly fulfilled in answer to the Son’s request!
23 I in them and thou in me, that they may be perfected into one and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and that thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me. 24 Father, as to those whom thou hast given me, I desire that where I am they also may be with me, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me, for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. v.24 This is not Christ’s essential glory, but an acquired glory, because the Father “gave it” to Him. Christ will shall His acquired glories with us!
25 Righteous Father, — and the world has not known thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26 And I have made known to them thy name, and will make it known; that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them.