Bible Commentary

John 17

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of John 17)

Verse 2

[2] As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

As thou hast given him power over all flesh — This answers to glorify thy Son. That he may give eternal life, etc.-This answers to that thy Son may glorify thee.

To all whom thou hast given him — To all believers. This is a clear proof that Christ designed his sacrifice should avail for all: yea, that all flesh, every man, should partake of everlasting life. For as the Father had given him power over all flesh, so he gave himself a ransom for all.

Verse 3

[3] And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

To know — By loving, holy faith, thee the only true God - The only cause and end of all things; not excluding the Son and the Holy Ghost, no more than the Father is excluded from being Lord, 1 Corinthians 8:6; but the false gods of the heathens; and Jesus Christ - As their prophet, priest, and king: this is life eternal - It is both the way to, and the essence of, everlasting happiness.

Verse 4

[4] I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

I have finished the work — Thus have I glorified thee, laying the foundation of thy kingdom on earth.

Verse 5

[5] And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.

The glory which I had — He does not say received - He always had it, till he emptied himself of it in the days of his flesh.

Verse 6

[6] I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.

I have manifested thy name — All thy attributes; and in particular thy paternal relation to believers; to the men whom thou hast given me - The apostles, and so John 17:12.

They were thine — By creation, and by descent from Abraham.

And thou hast given them me — By giving them faith in what I have spoken. So John 17:9.

Verse 7

[7] Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.

Now they know that all things — Which I have done and spoken, are of thee - And consequently right and true.

Verse 8

[8] For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.

They have received them — By faith.

Verse 9

[9] I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

I pray not for the world — Not in these petitions, which are adapted to the state of believers only. (He prays for the world at John 17:21,23, that they may believe - That they may know God hath sent him.) This no more proves that our Lord did not pray for the world, both before and afterward, than his praying for the apostles alone, John 17:6-19, proves that he did not pray for them also which shall believe through their word, John 17:20.

Verse 10

[10] And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

All things that are mine are thine, and that are thine are mine — These are very high and strong expressions, too grand for any mere creature to use; as implying that all things whatsoever, inclusive of the Divine nature, perfections, and operations, are the common property of the Father and the Son. And this is the original ground of that peculiar property, which both the Father and the Son have in the persons who were given to Christ as Mediator; according to what is said in the close of the verse, of his being glorified by them; namely, believing in him, and so acknowledging his glory.

Verse 11

[11] And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

Keep them through thy name — Thy power, mercy, wisdom, that they may be one - with us and with each other; one body, separate from the world: as we are - By resemblance to us, though not equality.

Verse 12

[12] While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

Those whom thou hast given me I have guarded, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition — So one even of them whom God had given him is lost. So far was even that decree from being unchangeable! That the Scripture might be fulfilled - That is, whereby the Scripture was fulfilled. The son of perdition signifies one that deservedly perishes; as a son of death, 2 Samuel 12:5; children of hell, Matthew 23:15, and children of wrath, Ephesians 2:3, signify persons justly obnoxious to death, hell, wrath. Psalms 109:8.

Verse 13

[13] And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

In the world — That is, before I leave the world.

My joy — The joy I feel at going to the Father.

Verse 15

[15] I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

That thou wouldest take them out of the world — Not yet: but that thou wouldest keep them from the evil one - Who reigns therein.

Verse 17

[17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Sanctify — Consecrate them by the anointing of thy Spirit to their office, and perfect them in holiness, by means of thy word.

Verse 19

[19] And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.

I sanctify myself — I devote myself as a victim, to be sacrificed.

Verse 20

[20] Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

For them who will believe — In all ages.

Verse 21

[21] That they all may be 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.

As thou art in me — This also is to be understood in a way of similitude, and not of sameness or equality.

That the world may believe — Here Christ prays for the world. Observe the sum of his whole prayer, 1. Receive me into thy own and my glory; 2. Let my apostles share therein; 3. And all other believers: 4. And let all the world believe.

Verse 22

[22] And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

The glory which thou hast given me, I have given them — The glory of the only begotten shines in all the sons of God. How great is the majesty of Christians.

Verse 24

[24] Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.

Here he returns to the apostles.

I will — He asks, as having a right to be heard, and prays, not as a servant, but a Son: that they may behold my glory - Herein Is the happiness of heaven, 1 John 3:2.

Verse 25

[25] O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.

Righteous Father — The admission of believers to God through Christ, flows even from the justice of God.

Verse 26

[26] And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

I have declared to them thy name — Thy new, best name of love; that the love wherewith thou hast loved me - That thou and thy love, and I and my love, may be in them - That they may love me with that love.

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