John 17:9-15

Henry Mahan

(Vs. 9) Our Lord prays to the Father as man and mediator on earth. His intercession in heaven is not called prayer but intercession. His prayers are always heard, for He never prayed contrary to the will of the Father nor contrary to the glory of the Father. He prays here for His apostles and for all who believe on Him, which shows His care, concern, and love for them. "I pray NOT for the world" of unbelievers, who live in sin and will die in sin. As He prayed not for those who would never believe, so He died not for them. For whom Christ is the propitiation, He is the advocate and mediator; and for whom He died, He makes intercession. He prayed for those that the Father had given Him in the covenant of grace (John 6:37-45) to be saved, kept, and received up to eternal glory. "For they are Thine," not merely by creation but by eternal election and special grace (II Thess. 2:13: Eph. 1:3-7; II Tim. 2:19).

(Vs. 10) "All mine are thine and thine are mine." This is understood only when we understand that the Father and the Son are ONE in essence, in ownership, and in purpose (John 10:30; John 5:17-23). I am glorified or made glorious IN their redemption (Eph. 2:7; Rev. 5:9-13) and BY them who worship Me, love Me, and attribute the whole of their salvation to Me. He will be glorified now and throughout eternity. Paul speaks in Eph. 1 of the work of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in the redemption of the elect; and after each division he adds, "to the praise of His glory" (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14). Whom the Father chose, the Son redeemed and the Holy Spirit calls. "All My people are Thy people, and Thy people are My people."

(Vs. 11) The Saviour would soon die and depart out of this world in which He had walked for over thirty years. It is an unfriendly, hostile, difficult world of sin and unbelief (Isa. 53:1-3; John 15:18-19; I John 5:19). While the Lord Jesus would go to the Father, enter within the veil as our forerunner (Heb. 6:19-20), and sit down on the right hand of the Majesty on High (Heb. 1:3), His disciples would remain in the world to preach the gospel and be exposed to evil, temptation, and hardships. His prayer is that the Father would protect and guard them, hedge them about, keep them faithful to the gospel, and in unity with Him and one another, that these believers may be one in love, in purpose, in message, and someday ONE in a greater way than we can now imagine (John 17:23-24).

(Vs. 12) The Lord Jesus is the SURETY of His people (Heb. 7:22) and the good shepherd of all the sheep (John 10:14-16), and not one of those apostles nor one of those given Him by the Father can ever be lost (John 6:37-39). He kept and will keep them from the evil one and eternal ruin (I Peter 1:3-5). But Judas, son of perdition, by his own choice and by his own willful apostasy, is lost and fulfilled all that was written of him. Judas was never one of the elect of God nor one given to Christ but was a reprobate from the beginning (John 6:64, 70-71; Psalm 109:7-8). Wicked men do what their evil hearts devise, but in all things they fulfill the purpose of our sovereign Lord (Acts 4:27-28; Luke 22:22; Psalm 76:10).

(Vs. 13) About six weeks from this time the Saviour would leave the apostles and ascend to the Father, and the disciples would be without His bodily presence. He has spoken these things (all that He imparted to them in Chapters 13-16) and put forth this prayer that the joy of His people might not be diminished by His going from them, but that they might rejoice in His redemptive work, His exaltation, His intercession, and His return (John 15:11).

(Vs. 14) The sense here is more than just preaching the word to these disciples, for He had given the word to many in this fashion. But He had opened their hearts to understand, receive, and embrace the Word of God in faith and love, so that the Word dwelt in them, was ingrafted in them, and changed them into the likeness of the Word. The Word in their hearts made them to be of another spirit from the carnal worldling and religionist; therefore, they were hated by these people. Believers are born, live, and die in this world as all other men; but in spirit, attitude, conduct, conversation, and walk they are not of and like the world, even as their Lord (Rom. 8:4-10).

(Vs. 15) Although they were not of the world and would be hated, persecuted, and killed by His enemies in the world, the Saviour does not ask the Father to take them out of the world; for they had a work to do–a gospel to preach (John 20:21; Matt. 28:18-20). It is for His glory, the salvation of His elect (II Tim. 2:9-10), and the comfort and edification of His church that we remain in this world. They will be taken to glory in His own time. However, He prays that they might all be kept from "the evil one." The believer does not pray for death, nor for deliverance from the common ills of mankind, nor even from persecution for the sake of the gospel, but to be delivered from sin, from the power and testing of Satan, and certainly from apostasy (I John 5:18). Back of all evil influence stands Satan, so that it is especially against him that we need protection (Luke 22:31-32).

Henry Mahan
Ashland, Ky.