Bible Study: John Chapter 17

The seventeenth chapter of the book of John is truly one of the most amazing sections of scripture in the whole Bible!

When two human beings communicate in total agreement, something almost "magical" happens between them.  But when the Son of God the Creator of everything that exists communicates with His Father, the "spiritual energy" that is produced defies all description and superlatives.

Of this chapter, the author of the "People's New Testament" commentary writes: "This prayer, so solemn and so tender, would never have been recorded had it not been intended for our study and profit, but I approach it with a feeling that it is almost too sacred for the usual verbal and textual criticism."

In this chapter, Jesus prays and, in His prayer, repeatedly mentions the following general subjects:

a)     The glorification of God the Father and of Himself,

b)    The human beings God the Father gives to Jesus,

c)     God the Father sent Jesus to earth as a human being and gave Him these seven things:

-        His words,

-        His power,

-        His glory,

-        His work,

-        His chosen followers,

-        Eternal life to give to His chosen followers,

-        His knowledge.

d)    The difference and separation between His followers and the people of "the world," 

e)     The unity of the Father, Son and their followers,

f)      Various fulfilments,

g)     Protection for His disciples,

h)     The "knowing" and "knowledge" of God the Father, Jesus Christ, the disciples and the world,

i)       God the Father loves all His children as much as He loves His Son Jesus.  

But these subjects and concepts are not broken out and discussed in an academic manner: i.e., Individually and separately.  Rather, Jesus introduces a subject; then He appears to drop it.  A few verses later He brings it up again, folded in (in an appropriate and beautifully poetic way) with some newly mentioned concept.

Let us begin our study . . .  

John 17:1: When Jesus had spoken these words, He lifted up His eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee,

A.   What words had Jesus just spoken?  He had just given a farewell message to His disciples. He had told them that He would have to leave them for a while, that He would be back with them again for a short time, that He would have to leave them again, and that He would send the Holy Spirit to them.

B.    He then began a prayer.  It does not seem to have been a private prayer.  It appears that Jesus spoke the words of this prayer in the presence of His disciples.

C.   What hour had come?  The hour had come when:

a)     His major physical trials were about to begin,

b)    The further glorification of Himself and His Father were to begin.

Verse 2: Since thou hast given Him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given Him.

A.   The glorification spoken of in verse 1 was possible because God the Father had given to His Son Jesus:

a.      Power over all flesh,

b.     Power to give eternal life to all the humans God the Father had called, chosen and given to Jesus.

B.    Jesus introduces a new sub-topic here: the men and women God the Father had given to Jesus.  

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

A.   Jesus says here that eternal life consists of knowing:

a.      God the Father: the only true God,

b.     Jesus Christ: whom God the Father sent to earth.

B.    We must take Jesus at His word here.  But to what extent must we know God the Father and Jesus Christ in order to have eternal life?  Surely a merely casual knowledge is inadequate.  Surely it must be the deeper knowledge built through a lifetime of contact with them (through prayer, study, service and obedience).

C.   Jesus builds on the concept of "knowledge" and "knowing" as His prayer continues (See verses 7-8 & 23 & 25-26).  

Verse 4: I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do;

A.   Jesus returns to the subject of glorification the glorification of God the Father.

B.    During His physical life up to that time, Jesus had glorified the Father by accomplishing the work the Father had given Him.  Jesus' "works" served to glorify God the Father!

May Jesus' brothers and sisters take this as an example for us:

a)     To "do works"?

b)    Not to reject works as unnecessary?

c)     To strive to accomplish the work God has given us?

Verse 5: And now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made.

A. Still on the subject of glorification but this time the glorification of Jesus by God the Father.

B. Was Jesus here setting His mind on the time beyond the physical trials He was about to face?

C. Jesus asked His Father to glorify Him "now", but also in the presence of His Father!

Within a few short hours from the time of this prayer, God the Father would find it necessary to completely separate Himself from His Son, because of the sin which Jesus must carry.  Jesus would not actually return to His Father's presence until approximately four and a half days later some time in the daytime portion of Sunday (Abib/Nisan 18).  Jesus was praying on Tuesday evening after the Passover service (the beginning/evening portion of Abib/Nisan 14).  However, there are implications here that Jesus' glorification would come from the presence of God the Father, also that the presence of God the Father would come from Jesus' acceptance and endurance of the trial which He was about to go through.

D. Jesus asked His Father to return Him to the glorious state, which He and His Father had shared together since before the creation of the world.

E. This verse is one of the proofs that Jesus' life did not originate at the time of His human birth.

Verse 6: I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word.

A.   The implication here is that part of Jesus' glorification of His Father was through His manifestation (i.e. His making plain, clear and understandable) His Father's name to those whom He (God the Father) called.

B.    Jesus returns to, and expands upon, the subject He originated in verse 2: The men (and women!) God the Father had given to Him (Jesus).

C.   Jesus says that:

a)    His Father called these men out of the world,

b)    They had belonged to God the Father.  But this was apparently a transitional step towards a "shared ownership" with Jesus (see verse 9),

c)     The Father gave them to Jesus,

d)    These men had kept the word of God the Father!  (Evidently, this point was important to Jesus and to His Father!)  

Verse 7: Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee;

A.   Jesus had repeatedly drummed into His disciples' minds the important fact that all the words He spoke, all His knowledge, and all the power He possessed as a human being had been given to Him by God the Father.

B.    This is not a new concept in Jesus' prayer.  Other things that God the Father had given to Jesus are mentioned previously in verses 2, 4 and 6.

C.   The repetition had worked.  The disciples now knew and understood this important fact.

D.   They knew it because Jesus had manifested it (made it clear) to them.  He had given them "the plain truth".

Verse 8: For I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me.

A.   Jesus had passed on His Father's words to His disciples.

B.    The disciples received those words.

C.   From those words, the disciples had a sure knowledge that:

a)     Jesus came from God the Father,

b)    God the Father sent Jesus to earth.  

Verse 9: I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine;

A.   Jesus here makes the general statement that He is praying for His disciples: the humans whom God the Father had given Him.

B.    Later in this same prayer, in verse 20, Jesus adds that He is also praying for future members of His true Church.

C.   Jesus says that He is not praying for the world that is, the rest of the people in the world who are not at this time given to Jesus Christ by His Father.  This statement shows that true Christians do have a special status with God! (See also I Peter 2:9).  It does not mean that true Christians are inherently any better than the people of "the world" are.  It just means that we are blessed to have been called and chosen for Jesus Christ's service now.  God will give the people of the world their opportunity later.

D.   Jesus mentions "the world" no less than eighteen times in this prayer each instance in the context of separation between Himself and His disciples on the one side and the world on the other.

E.    Even though God the Father had given these people to Jesus, they still belong to the Father!  This is something like a shared ownership, but it comes about because Jesus and His Father are one (in a way that we humans cannot yet fully understand).

F.    This is similar to the Biblical concept of redemption in which:

a)     A firstborn male was dedicated to God,

b)    The firstborn could be redeemed or bought back from God's service for a price.

c)     Although redeemed, the firstborn was still looked upon as belonging to God.

Verse 10: All mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.

A.   Jesus repeats that all of His followers, those whom the Father had given Him, still belong to God the Father.  They share "dual ownership" of all true Christians.

B.    Jesus says that He is glorified "in" His followers.  He said in verse 2 that His (Jesus') glorification was made possible by His Father giving Him:

a.      Power over all flesh,

b.     Power to give eternal life to all those whom His Father had chosen.  

Verse 11: And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee.  Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

A.   Jesus says here that He was no longer in the world.

Although at this time He was still physically on earth, His earthly sojourn and example was as good as over.

B.    But He had to leave His beloved disciples behind... in the world.

C.   Jesus seems to be rejoicing that He would soon be returning to His Father but, at the same time, lamenting that He had to leave His disciples behind in the world.

D.   Jesus asked His "Holy Father" to keep His disciples in His (the Father's) name.

What did He mean by this?

To keep something or somebody "in" something is usually for the purposes of protection and safekeeping. We keep our valuables in a safe or in a bank's safety deposit box.  Verse 12 verifies this: Jesus talks of guarding the disciples to prevent them from becoming "lost".

Perhaps Jesus was asking His Father to protect His followers from the influence and dangers of Satan and "the world" by gathering and enveloping them inside a group identified by His Father's name (hence the title "Church of God").

E.    Notice that Jesus doesn't ask His Father that His disciples should be kept in His own (Jesus') name!

F.    Notice also that Jesus said that His Father had given this name to Him.

G.   What name do both Jesus and His Father share?  The name, "God".

H.   Now we come to a very important phrase: "that they may be one, even as we are one".

The unity of God is something that seems to be a concept that the limited mind of man is unable to fully understand.

G.   But, by praying for the same, Jesus states here that it is possible for Christians to share the same kind of unity that God the Father and Jesus Christ share.  But the time frame of the fulness of such unity is not clear; at least, not in this verse alone.

The conjunction "that" used in this verse implies that such unity amongst humans is only possible if God the Father keeps them "in" the name ("God") which He and Jesus share.

H.   This concept is repeated in verses 21 to 23.

Verse 12: While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.

A.   Jesus continues the thought from the previous verse in which He had asked His Father to keep His disciples in His (the Father's) name in the future.

Here He is saying that He (Jesus) had been able to keep them in His (the Father's) name since His Father had called them.

B.    Again, Jesus makes a point of stating that the name that He had was given to Him by His Father.  He attributes everything to his Father, and nothing to Himself.

C.   Jesus here reveals what He meant (in the previous verse) by the keeping of the disciples in His name: He means that He has been guarding them from being "lost".

The analogy appears to be that of sheep.  Jesus, the Shepherd, has kept them in the sheepfold of His Father's name and watched over them. This prevented them from getting lost (and thus open to a sure and deadly attack by that roaring lion, Satan).

D.   There is one of these sheep who was the exception. This, of course, was Judas Iscariot.  Jesus calls him "the son of perdition" here.  Perdition (Greek apoleia) means damnation, destruction, waste, death, perishing, perniciousness, ruin, and misery.

Judas was allowed to stray from the sheepfold into the jaws of the roaring lion, Satan.  God permitted Judas to stray from the sheepfold of Jesus' name. God could have prevented it, but it was necessary for the fulfilment of prophecy and for the glorification of God the Father and Jesus Christ.

E.    Some interesting questions arise from this:

a)     Was the life and salvation of Judas sacrificed by God?

b)    Did God give Judas over to Satan?

c)     Without Jesus' protection, did Judas even have a chance against Satan?

d)    Or was Judas a willing participant?

Perhaps, in many ways, Judas was used by God in the same way as Pharaoh and the people of Egypt were: to fulfil God's plan.  But, we must remember that in both cases, although they were left to and inspired by Satan, these people did have free moral agency.

Verse 13: But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

A.   Jesus' phrase "now I am coming to you" is repeated from verse 11, and appears to serve as a contrast to His phrase in the previous verse (12): "while I was with them".

Perhaps this phrase better belongs to the idea of the previous verse.

Again, there is a mixture of joy and anguish here.  Yes, Jesus is going back to be with His Father.  But in doing so, He must physically separate Himself from His beloved disciples.

B.    When Jesus says, "and these things I speak in the world", He seems to be implying that He wishes to get this message to His disciples before He leaves them.

C.   The end result of Jesus speaking these words in the physical presence of the disciples (rather than when reunited with His Father in heaven) is so that Jesus' joy may be fulfilled in them.  But what does this mean?  What was Jesus' joy?  And how would it be fulfilled?

We can find more details about what constitutes the joy of God (which, because Jesus was and is God, is the same thing as the joy of Jesus Christ) in the following verses:

         Nehemiah 8:10

         Psalms 16:11

         Isaiah 62:5 & 65:19

         Jeremiah 33:9 & 49:25

         Zephaniah 3:17

         Matthew 25:21

         Luke 1:44 & 15:7

         John 3:29 & 15:11

         Galatians 5:22

         1 Thessalonians 1:6

         Hebrews 12:2

To summarize these verses, Jesus' joy is:

a.      The strength of His people,

b.     To be with His Father,

c.     To be with His people,

d.     To be "married" to His people,

e.      His people: spiritual Israel and Jerusalem,

f.       The repentance of sinners (so that they become His people),

g.     A fruit of the Holy Spirit.

D.   How and when is Jesus' joy fulfilled?  Psalms 16:11 says that it is fulfilled by being in the presence of God.  Hebrews 12:2 says that the fulfilment of Jesus' joy was to occur after His suffering and death.

E.    The previous verse (John 17:12) spoke of the fulfilment of "the scripture"... i.e. The Old Testament prophecies which foretold all of the suffering Jesus would go through for the salvation of mankind.

This verse contrasts the fulfilment of the prophecies of Jesus' suffering by speaking of the fulfilment of His joy in and through His people.

If Jesus' joy is in us through His Holy Spirit, as it was in John the Baptist (see John 3:29), then we, like John, can share in the fulfilment of it.

Verse 14: I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

A.   Here we see again how Jesus folds in subjects that He has touched upon previously:

a.      Passing something (God's Word) on to the disciples which His Father had given Him,

b.     The difference and separation between Jesus' true followers and "the world",

c.     The unity between Jesus and His true followers... even in trial and suffering.

B.    It is obvious why the world would persecute groups who claim to be God's only true followers.  In this case, the previously persecuted became the persecutors; the Jews had claimed to be God's only true followers.  Jesus foretold the hatred and persecution that would be unleashed upon those who wish to continue in the doctrines of God's one true Church.  So when it comes, we should not be surprised.  In this way we can have unity with Jesus Christ and we share His sufferings.

Verse 15: I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one.

A.   Jesus continues talking about the world and His disciples.

B.    He had already stated that His disciples were "in" the world without being "of" the world.

C.   Now He says that, although He is leaving the world, He is not asking His Father to take them out of the world along with Him.  Jesus knew that it was a part of His Father's great plan for them to remain in the world.

D.   Jesus asks, if they must remain in the world in order to help fulfil God's plan, that God the Father would keep them separate and protected from the present ruler of this world, Satan the devil.  However, God still did permit persecution, suffering, and even martyrdom to be inflicted upon His people.

Verse 16: They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

A.   This statement is a direct repetition from verse 14.

B.    Mr. Armstrong taught us that God uses repetition in the Bible as a means of emphasis.  Here, Jesus is emphasizing the unity between Himself and His disciples in their separation from Satan's world.

Verse 17: Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.

A.   The verb "to sanctify" means "to make holy".  Jesus was asking His Father to make His disciples holy "in the truth".

B.    The following morning, Pontius Pilate was to ask Jesus, "What is truth?"
(John 18:38)  Jesus did not tell him.  The answer was not for his ears.  But here, for all who will hear and believe it, Jesus clearly proclaims what truth is: it is the Word of God.

C.   True Christians know the Word of God in two forms:

i.        The living Word of God: Jesus Christ,

ii.      The written Word of God: the holy scriptures.

D.   So then, God makes Christians holy through their pursuit of the truth through Jesus Christ and His manual and instruction book: the Holy Bible.

Verse 18: As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

A.   The prepositions "as" and "so" reveal that God the Father sent the disciples into the world in the same (or at least a similar) way as he sent Jesus Himself into the world.

B.    God the Father sent Jesus into the world from heaven and from His own (the Father's) presence.  Similarly, Jesus sent the disciples into the world from God's sheepfold (the fledgling Church of God) and from His own (Jesus') presence.

Verse 19: And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

A.   The word "hagiazo" which the RSV translates as "consecrate" here is the same word used in verse 17, there translated as "sanctify".  It is translated in different places as "sanctify", "hallow" and "be holy".

B.    So Jesus is saying here that He is holy (or makes Himself holy) so that His disciples too may be made holy.

C.   He adds that His disciples are made holy "in truth".  Jesus clearly taught us in verse 17 that truth is the Word of God.  Therefore Jesus' disciples are made holy through Jesus Christ and His written Word in the Holy Bible.

D.   This serves as a repetition (for emphasis) of what Jesus stated in verse 17.

Verse 20: I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word,

A. Here, Jesus extends His prayer to include all true Christians throughout the ages: "those who believe through their (the disciples') word.

B. Again, there is more to Christianity than merely believing.  Action is required.  Faith without works is dead (James 2:18-26).

Verse 21: That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.

A.   Here, Jesus again brings up the subject of the unity of the God family.  He had first mentioned it (in this prayer) in verse 11.

B.    Jesus is praying here for unity, not just amongst His eleven remaining faithful disciples, but (as extended in the previous verse) for all true Christians of all ages.

C.   This kind of unity is incredible:

a)     God the Father is in Jesus Christ,

b)    Jesus Christ is in God the Father,

c)     True Christians are in both of them!

I am able to wrap my mind around this concept by drawing or visualizing a series of four circles (meant to be three-dimensional) thus:

a)     A circle representing Christians in the very middle,

b)    A circle representing Jesus around the "Christian circle." (Christians are in Jesus Christ),

c)     A circle representing God the Father around "Jesus' circle" (Jesus Christ is in God the Father),

d)    Another circle representing Jesus around "God the Father's circle" (God the Father is in Jesus Christ).

D.   But verse 23 shows that this unity of God's family also appears to be somewhat dynamic. The relative position of the "circles" can change!

E.    Ezekiel's "wheels within wheels" come to mind. (See Ezekiel 1:15-21 & 3:13 & 10:2-19 & 11:22).

F.    The final phrase of this verse is very interesting: that the world may believe that you have sent me.

With the words "so that", Jesus is giving a reason. But the sentence is a long one.  It began in verse 20.  It seems, at first, a little difficult to know which of these statements the words "so that" refer to.  Do they refer to:

a)     Jesus praying for all Christians, not just His disciples of that day?

b)    The ability of all Christians to share the same unity with Jesus and His Father?

c)     Perhaps both?

The statement is repeated in verse 23, which says that the convincing of the world comes from the witness of the unity of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and Christians.

G.   Jesus seems to feel that it is important that the people of "the world" understand and believe that God the Father sent Him, and that the above facts would convince them. However, these things do not appear to have convinced the world in general so far.  A time frame for this convincing is not clearly mentioned.  Perhaps, in the end-times, during the Millennium, or after the Second Resurrection, the unity between God the Father, Jesus Christ and all true Christians will be made manifest to the world, and will convince them then.

H.   There is an interesting implication here: that the people of "the world" actually believe that God the Father exists!  If they don't believe that He exists (and the majority does not appear to, right now), why would they believe that He sent Jesus Christ?  This is another proof that merely believing in God the Father and Jesus Christ is not enough to be a true Christian rather than a part of "the world".  It further implies that the time setting for the world's belief is yet in the future (when there will be no excuse for disbelief in God).

Verse 22: The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one,

A. Here is yet something else that God the Father gave to Jesus Christ, and which Jesus in turn gives to his brothers and sisters: Glory.

B. Jesus prays about the glory (Greek doxa) shared by His Father and Himself also in verses 5 and 24.  Jesus prays about the associated topic of glorification (Greek doxazo) also in verses 1, 4, 5 and 10.

C. What is the reason for (and the result of) Jesus passing on this glory to His followers?  Jesus gives the answer in the second part of this verse: It is so that true Christians may enjoy the same unity that God the Father and Jesus Christ enjoy.  Jesus prays about this unity also in verses 11, 21 and 23.

D. Can Christians have a full measure of God's glory and unity in this life now?  Verses 1, 5, 13 and 18 indicate that, when He was in human form, even Jesus was unable to have the complete fulness of glory and unity He had enjoyed with His Father from the beginning of time.  So, if the human Jesus could not have that fulness, then it is not possible that we can have it until the time of our change or resurrection.

Verse 23: I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.

A. In this statement, Jesus changes the relative "positions" of Himself, God the Father, and Christians... compared with his statement in verse 21.

In verse 21:

a)     Christians are in Jesus,

b)    Jesus is in God the Father,

c)     God the Father is in Jesus.

In this verse:

a)     God the Father is in Jesus,

b)    Jesus is in Christians.

B. Again, Jesus gives a purpose why this is so (i.e. why His Father is in Him and why Jesus is in His people): so that all true Christians may have perfect unity (as Jesus shares with His Father [see verse 22]).

C. We come next to a direct repetition (for emphasis) from verse 21: "so that the world may know that you have sent me".

D. What is it that will prove to the world that it was God the Father that sent Jesus Christ to the world?

a)    Is it just the statement which immediately precedes this one: "that they may become perfectly one"?

b)    Does it also include the phrase, "I in them and you in me"?

c)     Could it even include the whole of verse 22?

Reading Jesus' communication with His Father is like peeking into eternity!  But the main proof is the unity of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and all true Christians.

E. Not only was the world to know that God the Father sent Jesus Christ, but they were also to be given the knowledge that God the Father loved Jesus' disciples as He loved Jesus Himself.  Now this is an astounding statement!  It is easy to understand why God the Father loves His Son with whom He has complete unity and harmony.  It is not so easy to understand how God the Father could love Jesus' imperfect human disciples to the same extent.  The answer lies in the unity which Jesus mentions so much in this prayer... The unity of the family of God which the disciples were blessed to be able to share (and which all true Christians since then may share) with Jesus and His Father.

Verse 24: Father, I desire that they also, whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which thou hast given me in thy love for me before the foundation of the world.

A. Jesus here expresses His desire to His Father that His disciples (past, present and future) would be able to:

a)    Be with Him (Jesus) in whatever location He was,

b)    Behold His (Jesus') glory.

There is an implication in the context here that, in beholding Jesus' glory, they would experience more than just seeing it. In verse 22, Jesus says that they would share in it... in the same way that they share God's love and unity.

B. When did Jesus expect this desire to be fulfilled?  If we accept that God the Father and Jesus Christ are in every true Christian (and vice-versa) through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, then we might say that this togetherness began almost immediately (i.e. on the Feast of Pentecost, 31 AD).

But how complete is that togetherness?  And to what extent have Christians beheld Jesus' glory?  Is not the portion of God's Holy Spirit which is given to Christians in this age just an "earnest" or down payment? (See II Corinthians 1:22 & 5:5).  Is the level of our togetherness with Jesus proportional to the quantity of the Holy Spirit we have been given?  Will not this togetherness and the beholding of Jesus' glory be completed at the return of Jesus Christ to this earth?

C. Jesus says that God the Father gave this glory to Him:

a)    In His (the Father's) love for Him (Jesus).  Jesus tells us in verse 23 that His Father's love is now shared with His (Jesus') followers.

b)    Before the foundation of the world.  When was the foundation of the world?  Was it six thousand years ago at the time we call the "re-creation" when Adam and Eve were created?  Or was it all those millions of years ago when God first created the earth?

D. Jesus mentions two "things" that His Father had given Him:

a)    His disciples,

b)    His glory.

Notice how Jesus keeps attributing everything he has to His Father.  God the Father gave Him everything He owned.  This is a good example for us. We should have the same attitude towards the things we "own".

Verse 25: O righteous Father, the world has not known thee, but I have known thee; and these know that thou hast sent me.

A. This part of Jesus' prayer is about knowing:

a)    The world had not known God the Father (and does not know Him now),

b)    Jesus Christ had known God the Father (and, of course, does today),

c)     Jesus' disciples did know that His Father had sent Him (and they still know it today).

B. Other verses in this chapter in which Jesus deals with the subject of knowing are verses 3, 7, 8, 23 and 26.

Verse 26: I made known to them thy name, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them."

A.   What does Jesus say in this final statement of His prayer?

B.    He continues with the subjects that appear to have been of most importance to Him:

a)    True knowledge or "knowing",

b)    The love of God,

c)     The unity of Jesus, His Father, and His people.

C.   He says that He:

a)    Made His Father's name known to His disciples. Past tense!

b)    Will make His Father's name known.  Future tense!

D.   What is the reason... the purpose for Jesus making His Father's name known to His followers (past, present and future)?  Jesus completes His prayer with this reason and purpose:

a)    So that the love of God the Father for Jesus Christ may be in His disciples,

b)    So that Jesus Christ Himself might be in His disciples.

E.    Jesus is saying that, through the possession of the true knowledge of God the Father, every true Christian will have this same love (with which God the Father loves His Son Jesus).  In verse 23, Jesus made the astounding statement that God the Father loves all of His people with the same love as He loves His Son Jesus Christ.  So here again we see what we might consider to be an "eternal triangle":

a.      God the Father loving Jesus Christ,

b.     God the Father loving His other children,

c.     The children of God loving their elder Brother, Jesus Christ,

Again, the world's concept of a limited trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) is exposed as a counterfeit!  Jesus' concept of a "trinity" (if we could call it by such a name that so many are justifiably sensitive to) is that of Father, Son and Christians!

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This page last updated: February 16, 2012