John 17

John 17:6

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave Me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.

(a) I have manifested Your name. Jesus came to reveal God as our heavenly Father.

The name of God that Jesus revealed was “Father.” Jesus referred to God as Father more than 150 times in the Gospels. When he prayed, “Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:28), he was saying, “May you be known as Father.” See entry for John 17:26.

(b) They have kept Your word. The disciples received the words of Jesus (John 17:8) and held onto them in faith. In short, they believed he was who he said he was. See entry for John 17:8.

John 17:8

for the words which You gave Me I have given to them; and they received them and truly understood that I came forth from You, and they believed that You sent Me.

(a) They received them. To receive the words or message of Jesus is to receive Jesus himself. It is believing that he is who he said he was, namely, the One sent by the Father (John 6:29).

In the New Testament, there are more than 200 imperative statements linked with faith. Some of these statements exhort us to: receive Jesus (John 1:11-12, 5:43), receive the message of Jesus (John 17:8), obey or heed the message or good news of Jesus (John 17:6) and turn to God in repentance (Acts 26:20).

Other scriptures encourage us to accept the word (Mark 4:20), confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9), call on the name of the Lord (Act 2:21), eat the bread of life (John 6:50-51), be reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:20), submit to God’s righteousness (Rom. 10:3), and be born again (John 3:3, 7).

But the one imperative that appears far more than any other, is the instruction to believe. We are to believe in Jesus (see entry for John 3:16).

(b) You sent me. On numerous occasions, Jesus told his disciples that he was not from earth but had been sent from heaven. See entry for John 6:38.

John 17:11

“I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are.

(a) Holy Father. God is holy and his name is holy (Luke 1:49). And just as God the Father is holy, so are the children of God (see entry for Acts 26:18).

(b) That they may be one. Jesus prayed for his disciples “that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11). Then he prayed for those who would come after them, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (John 17:21). Jesus’ prayer is answered whenever someone turns to the Lord in faith and is sealed in him by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13).

John 17:12

“While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled.

The son of perdition is an idiom that means doomed to destruction. Jesus knew from the beginning that Judas never belonged to him and that he would eventually betray him (John 6:70-71).

John 17:15

“I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.

I do not ask You to take them out of the world. In a misguided pursuit of holiness, religious people have sought to withdraw from the world. This is never God’s way. Jesus didn’t pray that we would be taken out of the world but that we would be sanctified in it (John 17:17). “I also have sent them into the world” (John 17:18).

John 17:17

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.

Sanctify them. Jesus is praying to the Holy Father (John 17:11). We are the holy children of a Holy Father. We are not made holy through our works, for sanctification is wholly of God (1 Th. 5:23). See entry for Holiness.

John 17:19

“For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.

(a) For their sakes. In all history only one person ever succeeded in sanctifying himself, and he did it on your behalf. Jesus was numbered among the transgressors so that you might be numbered among the holy (Heb. 10:10, 14).

(b) May be sanctified. To be sanctified is to be made holy or whole and in Christ you are completely complete (Col. 2:10). See entry for Holiness.

(c) Sanctified in truth. To be sanctified in truth is to be sanctified in Jesus. Jesus is the Holy One (Mark 8:38), and “if the root is holy, so are the branches” (Rom. 11:16). Christians are holy branches connected to the Holy Vine. We are saved and sanctified through faith in Jesus (Acts 26:18).

John 17:21

that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me.

That they may all be one. Jesus prayed for his disciples “that they may be one as we are one” (John 17:11). Then he prayed for those who would come after them, “that all of them may be one.” Jesus’ prayer is answered whenever someone turns to the Lord in faith and is sealed in him by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13).

See entry for Union.

John 17:23

I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.

As You have loved Me. God loves you the same way he loves Jesus. When he looks at you, his heart is filled with tender affection. His words to you are the same words he spoke over Jesus: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well-pleased” (Matt. 3:17).

Although God is the Almighty Creator, the Maker of heaven and earth, he has chosen to reveal himself to us as a good Father who rescues us from sin and provides for our daily needs (Matt. 6:31-32, 1 John 4:9-10).

John 17:25

“O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me;

Righteous Father. The Jews knew God as a righteous judge (Ps. 7:11), but Jesus revealed him as a righteous Father. He is the Father who reproduces his righteousness in his righteous offspring. Because your Father is righteous, you are righteous too. You are not righteous because you act righteous; you are righteous because the Holy Spirit makes you so. See entry for Righteousness.

John 17:26

and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

(a) I have made Your name known. Jesus came to reveal a God who loves us like a father.

The name of God that Jesus makes known is Father (see previous verse). When Jesus prayed, “Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:28), he was saying, “May you be known as Father.”

What sort of Father does Jesus reveal? God is a loving Father (John 10:17, 14:21, 23, 16:27, 15:9, 17:23, 26), a caring Father (Matt. 6:8, 30, 32, Luke 12:30), a merciful Father (Luke 6:36), a grace-giving Father (John 1:14), a forgiving Father (Matt. 6:14, 18:27, Luke 7:47, 15:22, 23:34), a giving Father (Matt. 7:11, Luke 11:13, 12:32), a listening Father (Matt. 6:8), a responsive Father (Matt. 7:11, 18:19, Luke 11:13, John 15:16, 16:23, 26), a faithful Father (John 16:32), a holy and righteous Father (John 17:11, 25), a praiseworthy Father (Matt. 5:16), and a perfect Father (Matt. 5:48).

(b) The love with which You loved Me. The original word for love means to be well pleased or fond of or contented with. It describes the unconditional love God the Father has for his Son (John 3:35, 15:9), for the whole world (John 3:16), and for his children (Eph. 2:4, 1 John 3:1). God is indiscriminate with his love. Even if you are the worst sinner in the world, he loves you with the same sort of love he has for Jesus (see entry for John 17:23).

(c) May be in them. Everything begins with a revelation of the Father’s love.

It’s the unfailing love of God that inspires us to trust him (see entry for 1 John 4:16). Since the love of God is revealed in Jesus Christ (John 17:26), both faith and love are found in Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 1:14, 2 Tim. 1:13). “Faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (see entry for Rom. 10:17).

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