Jesus Prays for the Father to Glorify Him
1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upwardtn Grk “he raised his eyes” (an idiom).sn Jesus also looked upward before his prayer in John 11:41. This was probably a common posture in prayer. According to the parable in Luke 18:13 the tax collector did not feel himself worthy to do this. to heaventn Or “to the sky.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven” depending on the context. and said, “Father, the timetn Grk “the hour.”sn The time has come. Jesus has said before that his “hour” had come, both in 12:23 when some Greeks sought to speak with him, and in 13:1 where just before he washed the disciples’ feet. It appears best to understand the “hour” as a period of time starting at the end of Jesus’ public ministry and extending through the passion week, ending with Jesus’ return to the Father through death, resurrection, and exaltation. The “hour” begins as soon as the first events occur which begin the process that leads to Jesus’ death. has come. Glorify your Son, so that yourtc The better witnesses (א B C* W 0109 0301) have “the Son” (ὁ υἱός, Jo Juios) here, while the majority (C3 L Ψ Ë13 33 Ï) read “your Son also” (καὶ ὁ υἱὸς σου, kai Jo Juio" sou), or “your Son” (ὁ υἱὸς σου; A D Θ 0250 1 579 pc lat sy); the second corrector of C has καὶ ὁ υἱός (“the Son also”). The longer readings appear to be predictable scribal expansions and as such should be considered secondary.tn Grk “the Son”; “your” has been added here for English stylistic reasons. Son may glorify you –
2 just as you have given him authority over all humanity,tn Or “all people”; Grk “all flesh.” so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him.tn Grk “so that to everyone whom you have given to him, he may give to them eternal life.”
3 Now thistn Using αὕτη δέ (Jauth de) to introduce an explanation is typical Johannine style; it was used before in John 1:19, 3:19, and 15:12. is eternal lifesn This is eternal life. The author here defines eternal life for the readers, although it is worked into the prayer in such a way that many interpreters do not regard it as another of the author’s parenthetical comments. It is not just unending life in the sense of prolonged duration. Rather it is a quality of life, with its quality derived from a relationship with God. Having eternal life is here defined as being in relationship with the Father, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom the Father sent. Christ (Χριστός, Cristos) is not characteristically attached to Jesus’ name in John’s Gospel; it occurs elsewhere primarily as a title and is used with Jesus’ name only in 1:17. But that is connected to its use here: The statement here in 17:3 enables us to correlate the statement made in 1:18 of the prologue, that Jesus has fully revealed what God is like, with Jesus’ statement in 10:10 that he has come that people might have life, and have it abundantly. These two purposes are really one, according to 17:3, because (abundant) eternal life is defined as knowing (being in relationship with) the Father and the Son. The only way to gain this eternal life, that is, to obtain this knowledge of the Father, is through the Son (cf. 14:6). Although some have pointed to the use of know (γινώσκω, ginwskw) here as evidence of Gnostic influence in the Fourth Gospel, there is a crucial difference: For John this knowledge is not intellectual, but relational. It involves being in relationship. – that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ,tn Or “and Jesus the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”). whom you sent.
4 I glorified you on earth by completingtn Or “by finishing” or “by accomplishing.” Jesus now states that he has glorified the Father on earth by finishing (τελειώσας [teleiwsas] is best understood as an adverbial participle of means) the work which the Father had given him to do.sn By completing the work. The idea of Jesus being sent into the world on a mission has been mentioned before, significantly in 3:17. It was even alluded to in the immediately preceding verse here (17:3). The completion of the “work” the Father had sent him to accomplish was mentioned by Jesus in 4:34 and 5:36. What is the nature of the “work” the Father has given the Son to accomplish? It involves the Son’s mission to be the Savior of the world, as 3:17 indicates. But this is accomplished specifically through Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross (a thought implied by the reference to the Father “giving” the Son in 3:16). It is not without significance that Jesus’ last word from the cross is “It is completed” (19:30). the work you gave me to do.tn Grk “the work that you gave to me so that I may do it.”
5 And now, Father, glorify me at your sidetn Or “in your presence”; Grk “with yourself.” The use of παρά (para) twice in this verse looks back to the assertion in John 1:1 that the Word (the Λόγος [Logos], who became Jesus of Nazareth in 1:14) was with God (πρὸς τὸν θεόν, pro" ton qeon). Whatever else may be said, the statement in 17:5 strongly asserts the preexistence of Jesus Christ. with the glory I had with you before the world was created.tn Grk “before the world was.” The word “created” is not in the Greek text but is implied.sn It is important to note that although Jesus prayed for a return to the glory he had at the Father’s side before the world was created, he was not praying for a “de-incarnation.” His humanity which he took on at the incarnation (John 1:14) remains, though now glorified.
Jesus Prays for the Disciples
6 “I have revealedtn Or “made known,” “disclosed.” your name to the mentn Here “men” is retained as a translation for ἀνθρώποις (anqrwpoi") rather than the more generic “people” because in context it specifically refers to the eleven men Jesus had chosen as apostles (Judas had already departed, John 13:30). If one understands the referent here to be the broader group of Jesus’ followers that included both men and women, a translation like “to the people” should be used here instead. you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you,tn Grk “Yours they were.” and you gave them to me, and they have obeyedtn Or “have kept.” your word.
7 Now they understandtn Or “they have come to know,” or “they have learned.” that everythingtn Grk “all things.” you have given me comes from you,
8 because I have given them the words you have given me. Theytn Grk And they.” The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences. acceptedtn Or “received.” themtn The word “them” is not in the Greek text, but is implied. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek when clear from the context. and reallytn Or “truly.” understandtn Or have come to know.” that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.
9 I am prayingtn Grk “I am asking.” on behalf of them. I am not prayingtn Grk “I am not asking.” on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those you have given me, because they belong to you.tn Or “because they are yours.”
10 Everythingtn Grk And all things.” The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences. I have belongs to you,tn Or “Everything I have is yours.” and everything you have belongs to me,tn Or “everything you have is mine.” and I have been glorified by them.tn Or “I have been honored among them.”sn The theme of glory with which Jesus began this prayer in 17:1-5 now recurs. Jesus said that he had been glorified by his disciples, but in what sense was this true? Jesus had manifested his glory to them in all of the sign-miracles which he had performed, beginning with the miracle at the wedding feast in Cana (2:11). He could now say that he had been glorified by them in the light of what he had already said in vv. 7-8, that the disciples had come to know that he had come from the Father and been sent by the Father. He would, of course, be glorified by them further after the resurrection, as they carried on his ministry after his departure.
11 Itn Grk And I.” The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences. am no longer in the world, buttn The context indicates that this should be translated as an adversative or contrastive conjunction. they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them safetn Or “protect them”; Grk “keep them.” in your nametn Or “by your name.” that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.tn The second repetition of “one” is implied, and is supplied here for clarity.
12 When I was with them I kept them safetn Or “I protected them”; Grk “I kept them.” and watched over themtn Grk “and guarded them.” in your nametn Or “by your name.” that you have given me. Not onetn Grk And not one.” The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences. of them was lost except the one destined for destruction,tn Grk “the son of destruction” (a Semitic idiom for one appointed for destruction; here it is a reference to Judas).sn The one destined to destruction refers to Judas. Clearly in John’s Gospel Judas is portrayed as a tool of Satan. He is described as “the devil” in 6:70. In 13:2 Satan put into Judas’ heart the idea of betraying Jesus, and 13:27 Satan himself entered Judas. Immediately after this Judas left the company of Jesus and the other disciples and went out into the realm of darkness (13:30). Cf. 2 Thess 2:3, where this same Greek phrase (“the son of destruction”; see tn above) is used to describe the man through whom Satan acts to rebel against God in the last days. so that the scripture could be fulfilled.sn A possible allusion to Ps 41:9 or Prov 24:22 LXX. The exact passage is not specified here, but in John 13:18, Ps 41:9 is explicitly quoted by Jesus with reference to the traitor, suggesting that this is the passage to which Jesus refers here. The previous mention of Ps 41:9 in John 13:18 probably explains why the author felt no need for an explanatory parenthetical note here. It is also possible that the passage referred to here is Prov 24:22 LXX, where in the Greek text the phrase “son of destruction” appears.
13 But now I am coming to you, and I am saying these things in the world, so they may experiencetn Grk “they may have.” my joy completedtn Or “fulfilled.” in themselves.
14 I have given them your word,tn Or “your message.” and the world has hated them, because they do not belong to the world,tn Grk “because they are not of the world.” just as I do not belong to the world.tn Grk “just as I am not of the world.”
15 I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them safetn Or “that you protect them”; Grk “that you keep them.” from the evil one.tn The phrase “the evil one” is a reference to Satan. The genitive noun τοῦ πονηροῦ (tou ponhrou) is ambiguous with regard to gender: It may represent the neuter τὸ πονηρόν (to ponhron), “that which is evil,” or the masculine ὁ πονηρός (Jo ponhro"), “the evil one,” i.e., Satan. In view of the frequent use of the masculine in 1 John 2:13-14, 3:12, and 5:18-19 it seems much more probable that the masculine is to be understood here, and that Jesus is praying for his disciples to be protected from Satan. Cf. BDAG 851 s.v. πονηρός 1.b.β and 1.b.γ.
16 They do not belong to the worldtn Grk “they are not of the world.” This is a repetition of the second half of v. 14. The only difference is in word order: Verse 14 has οὐκ εἰσὶν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου (ouk eisin ek tou kosmou), while here the prepositional phrase is stated first: ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου οὐκ εἰσίν (ek tou kosmou ouk eisin). This gives additional emphasis to the idea of the prepositional phrase, i.e., origin, source, or affiliation. just as I do not belong to the world.tn Grk “just as I am not of the world.”
17 Set them aparttn Or “Consecrate them” or “Sanctify them.”sn The Greek word translated set…apart (ἁγιάζω, Jagiazw) is used here in its normal sense of being dedicated, consecrated, or set apart. The sphere in which the disciples are to be set apart is in the truth. In 3:21 the idea of “practicing” (Grk “doing”) the truth was introduced; in 8:32 Jesus told some of his hearers that if they continued in his word they would truly be his disciples, and would know the truth, and the truth would make them free. These disciples who are with Jesus now for the Farewell Discourse have continued in his word (except for Judas Iscariot, who has departed), and they do know the truth about who Jesus is and why he has come into the world (17:8). Thus Jesus can ask the Father to set them apart in this truth as he himself is set apart, so that they might carry on his mission in the world after his departure (note the following verse). in the truth; your word is truth.
18 Just as you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.sn Jesus now compared the mission on which he was sending the disciples to his own mission into the world, on which he was sent by the Father. As the Father sent Jesus into the world (cf. 3:17), so Jesus now sends the disciples into the world to continue his mission after his departure. The nature of this prayer for the disciples as a consecratory prayer is now emerging: Jesus was setting them apart for the work he had called them to do. They were, in a sense, being commissioned.
19 And I set myself aparttn Or “I sanctify.”sn In what sense does Jesus refer to his own ‘sanctification’ with the phrase I set myself apart? In 10:36 Jesus referred to himself as “the one whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world,” which seems to look at something already accomplished. Here, however, it is something he does on behalf of the disciples (on their behalf) and this suggests a reference to his impending death on the cross. There is in fact a Johannine wordplay here based on slightly different meanings for the Greek verb translated set apart (ἁγιάζω, Jagiazw). In the sense it was used in 10:36 of Jesus and in 17:17 and here to refer to the disciples, it means to set apart in the sense that prophets (cf. Jer 1:5) and priests (Exod 40:13, Lev 8:30, and 2 Chr 5:11) were consecrated (or set apart) to perform their tasks. But when Jesus speaks of setting himself apart (consecrating or dedicating himself) on behalf of the disciples here in 17:19 the meaning is closer to the consecration of a sacrificial animal (Deut 15:19). Jesus is “setting himself apart,” i.e., dedicating himself, to do the will of the Father, that is, to go to the cross on the disciples’ behalf (and of course on behalf of their successors as well). on their behalf,tn Or “for their sake.” so that they too may be truly set apart.tn Or “they may be truly consecrated,” or “they may be truly sanctified.”
Jesus Prays for Believers Everywhere
20 “I am not prayingtn Or “I do not pray.” only on their behalf, but also on behalf of those who believetn Although πιστευόντων (pisteuontwn) is a present participle, it must in context carry futuristic force. The disciples whom Jesus is leaving behind will carry on his ministry and in doing so will see others come to trust in him. This will include not only Jewish Christians, but other Gentile Christians who are “not of this fold” (10:16), and thus Jesus’ prayer for unity is especially appropriate in light of the probability that most of the readers of the Gospel are Gentiles (much as Paul stresses unity between Jewish and Gentile Christians in Eph 2:10-22). in me through their testimony,tn Grk “their word.”
21 that they will all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I praytn The words “I pray” are repeated from the first part of v. 20 for clarity. that they will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.
22 The glorytn Grk And the glory.” The conjunction καί (kai, “and”) has not been translated here in keeping with the tendency of contemporary English style to use shorter sentences. you gave to me I have given to them, that they may be one just as we are one –
23 I in them and you in me – that they may be completely one,tn Or “completely unified.” so that the world will know that you sent me, and you have loved them just as you have loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am,tn Grk “the ones you have given me, I want these to be where I am with me.” so that they can see my glory that you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the worldtn Grk “before the foundation of the world.”.
25 Righteous Father, even if the world does not know you, I know you, and these mentn The word “men” is not in the Greek text but is implied. The translation uses the word “men” here rather than a more general term like “people” because the use of the aorist verb ἔγνωσαν (egnwsan) implies that Jesus is referring to the disciples present with him as he spoke these words (presumably all of them men in the historical context), rather than to those who are yet to believe because of their testimony (see John 17:20). know that you sent me.
26 I made known your name to them, and I will continue to make it known,tn The translation “will continue to make it known” is proposed by R. E. Brown (John [AB], 2:773). so that the love you have loved me with may be in them, and I may be in them.”
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