John 17:1-8

Henry Mahan

(V. 1) These words spake Jesus' refers to all the preceding words of comfort, instruction and direction that he had spoken to his disciples in the three preceding chapters. Our Lord lifted his eyes to heaven,, which indicates the soul and heart being lifted towards the Father. While God is everywhere and fills heaven and earth, yet in heaven he most manifests his glory. Such a gesture is not necessary, though, for a Matthew 26:39 our Lord fell on his face and prayed. And the publican did not lift his eyes towards heaven, yet he was heard. 'The hour is come' – to suffer and die, to depart out of this world, to redeem the people given to him by the Father, in the manner determined by the Father, that he might be both just and justifier (Rom. 3:25-26; Gal. 4:4-5). 'Glorify thy son.' As God, he needed no added glory; but as man and Mediator, he prays that the Father will support, sustain and uphold him through all that he must endure for our sanctification and redemption, that the Son may glorify the Father's virtues of love, righteousness, mercy and truth (Ps. 85:10). The obedience and death of Christ effectually redeem all believers (Isa. 53:4-6), glorify the love and grace of the Son (Rev. 5:9-10) and magnify the riches of the Father's grace (Eph. 2:4-7).

(Vs. 2) Our Lord Jesus, as King of kings and Lord of lords, had all power, authority and government over everybody and everything (Matt. 28:28; Col. 1:16-18). The Father has given him an elect people out of all nations; and in order to gather those people, Christ must have absolute authority over everybody, without exception. Eternal life is a free gift that the Son gives to such as the Father has given him in the eternal covenant (John 6:37-39); 10:26-29; Acts 13:48). In order to save some, the one who saves must have authority over all (Phil. 2:9-11).

(Vs. 3) Eternal live is not a profession of religion, nor a reformation of manners, nor a knowledge of facts about God; but it is an experience of regeneration and revelation of God in the heart (Gal. 1:15-16; 4:19; Col. 1:27). Eternal life is spiritual life, divine life and the life of God in us (I John 5:20). To know the only true God is not merely abstract knowledge (James 2:19); but it is to believe him, receive him and love him as he reveals himself in Christ. The Father cannot be known savingly except in and by the Son (Matt. 11:27; John 14:6).

(Vs. 4) To glorify God is to love him perfectly, to obey him perfectly and to live in absolute submission to his perfect will. 'I have glorified thee on the earth.' This only Christ could say! (John 4:34; 8:29; Heb. 10:7). The work the Father gave him to do was to fulfil all righteousness (Rom. 3:21-22; 5:19; 10:4), to defeat and destroy all enemies such as sin, Satan and death (John 12:31), and to redeem and save the elect (I Peter 1:18-19). He could say, 'I have finished the work,' because it was so near and so certain that he would finish it (John 19:30).

(Vs. 5)We have here two important things:

He prays to be returned in this office and to this glory even as he was before. He is received, exalted and seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high; and we are received with and in him (vv. 21-22; Eph. 2:6; Heb. 2:11-13).

(Vs. 6) 'I have manifested thy name,' or 'revealed thyself, the perfections of thy nature, they redemptive will, thy gospel of mercy and grace and thy wisdom, power and glory' (I Cor. 1:24; II Cor. 4:6). This he manifested to those whom the Father gave him out of the world. They were chosen by the Father and given to the Son, whom he appointed as their Surety, Head and Mediator. The Lord is thinking of all the elect, but here particularly of these disciples who were with him. By the grace of God they received Christ and his Word (John 1:10-13).

(Vs. 7) This is something our Lord emphasized strongly – that the words he spoke were the Father's words, that the works he did were the Father's works, that he came to do the Father's will. He did not take it upon himself to be our High Priest (Heb. 5:5). When the Father raised him from the dead and exalted him, he gave assurance to all that Jesus Christ is his anointed, ordained and designated Redeemer (Acts 17:30-31). Let all know that all things such as all power, all spiritual gifts and all things pertaining to the kingdom are of the Father and are by his appointment, his decree and according to his will (Heb. 10:5-14).

(Vs. 8) Christ gave to us the words of the Father called in Scripture the doctrine of God, the word of truth, the testimony of God, the ministry of reconciliation and the gospel of God; and, with these disciples, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we gladly receive his words. We receive them gladly, with reverence and meekness, with love and gratitude, and know certainly that Jesus of Nazareth came from the Father as Mediator to seek and to save the lost, to redeem the chosen ones and to perform all that is necessary to their salvation. He is the true Messiah and no impostor.

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.