Sunday, Mar 26th

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John 17

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The intensity of Jesus’ words increases as His time on this earth draws to a close. He says that His time is now due because His work has been done. Later in the chapter we see that Jesus did not come to die for the world as a whole, but only for those who are elect. He specifically said it – so Arminians and Amyraldians do not have a leg to stand on! Their arguments are worthless. (Amyraldians claim that God provided a general worldwide ‘offer’ of salvation, but a specific response from the elect. See article on this, A/555 and others).

Verses 1-5

  1. These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

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

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

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

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

Jesus had just finished speaking to His disciples who were baffled about His words. He then looked upwards (a symbolic gesture of looking ‘up’ to Heaven) and said that His time on this earth had now come to a close. He asked the Father to glorify Him just as His coming death would glorify the Father.

Though many, even this day, did not understand that He had total power in His hands to do whatever He wished (but kept it back because of His mission), He nevertheless had power over all mankind. He had the power also to give salvation, but ONLY to those who had already been given to Him by the Father. He is referring here to election. It is logical to say that Christ’s salvation matches His choice to limit those He died for*. He defines “life eternal” as knowing the One True God through and in Jesus Christ, sent by the Father to die for the elect. (* Thus, Christ died for 100 and elected 100. It is as simple as that. He did NOT die for two hundred only to save 100. Such would be a ridiculous illogic).

(In strictest terms it IS - not ‘was’ - part of God’s will in eternity, which spans from no beginning and no end! That is, it always exists and has always been. This also goes for the election of some to salvation, and, obviously – but hated by many – the election of the majority to hell. It is illogical and human avoidance of truth, to say God does not elect them to damnation; it implies that God is ‘fuzzy around the edges’ when it comes to damnation, when, in reality, the effect of being unsaved is not altered by our feelings).

Verses 6-8

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

Here, Jesus prays the fact that He preached to the disciples “which thou gavest me”, who were chosen out of their sinful state to become believers. “Thine they were” – they were elected by God in eternity and so were given to Christ to facilitate the wider preaching goals of God. Jesus assures the Father that they now believed and were living holy lives (albeit with faltering steps). It could be argued by some that “the men” refers to all men who heard Jesus. But, verse seven clearly refers to the very recent acknowledgement (possibly that same hour) by His disciples that now they understood that He knew all things (John 16:29-31). Therefore, the “men” referred to had to be the disciples.

This is further alluded to in verse 8, where Jesus definitely speaks only of His disciples... He gave them the Father’s words and they received them, knowing that He came from the Father, proving His divinity. They believed that the Father had sent the Son to them. All of this can only refer to the disciples, given chapter 16. It is true that Jesus had ALSO manifested the Father’s words to all the people/men who heard Him speak, and who saw the miracles. But, the current speech was about the disciples in particular (and secondarily to all who are saved).

Verses 9-13

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

  2. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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

Then we come to words of Jesus that totally oppose the claims of universalists/ Arminians/Amyraldians – verse 9. Jesus prayed for “them”, identified ONLY as “them which thou hast given me” – the disciples (and, by extension, all who believe). Jesus said He ONLY prayed for them, and NOT for the whole world. Those He prayed for were the elect, who belonged to the Father, and no-one else.

We can see that this confirmation/affirmation also applies to all who are elect in all of history (verse 10): “all mine are thine” – the reciprocal arrangement between Father and Son in election, further said in “and thine are mine”.

Jesus then speaks as One Who is “no more in the world”, verse 11. He speaks of this in the past tense and yet He was still alive on earth. How can this be? It seems obvious: He had already said that His purpose for coming to earth was now completed, so, effectively, He was now no longer of this earth. It is also a statement of eternity, for in God’s view whatever is going to happen has already happened, because all things are in His control and seen/known beforehand. The proposition ‘in’, en, can also be taken to mean ‘with’, so that Jesus was still alive on earth but is not aligned with it and its sinful woes.

The disciples, however, were still in the world; their tasks were yet to begin. Jesus asked (but already knew the positive outcome) that the Father should keep them safe, and that He should infuse them with one-ness in faith and power. This unity is not the unity commonly adopted by Christians today, whose idea of unity is only in formal agreed statements. The union and only unity of Christians is the same as the unity of Father and Son. The union of Christians should be of the same magnitude to be valid. The unity of Father and Son (and the Spirit) is unbreakable because each is the same as the other and speak the same words.

How many Christians today are of this type? Christians glibly and ignorantly speak of their ‘unity’, which, by comparison, is superficial and very wrong. (I have written in more detail on this unity in articles on prayer meetings). Can you honestly claim that your ‘unity’ with me and other believers is the same as the unity between Father and Son? Think hard!

Jesus again speaks in the past tense in verse 12: “While I was with them...” He kept them safe in the Father’s name, so that they would become His emissaries on earth when Jesus was ascended. This ONLY applied to those given to the Son by the Father – the elect. Not one of the elect was lost. From this verse we can see that Judas Iscariot was NOT one of the elect, so was not ‘lost’, but was following his state of unbelief: “the son of perdition”. His role was not as one of the elect but was part of God’s eternal plan, so Christ could prove His role as Saviour. Jesus was speaking thus, so that while He was still alive on earth, the disciples might know the same joy as He had in the Father. This, too, was part of prophecy fulfilled.

Verses 14-17

  1. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

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

  3. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

  4. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

Verse 14 shows that ‘word’ is not ‘Word’ (with a capital W: see article A-087 on this difference). Rather, “I have given them they word” can be paraphrased as ‘The Word (Christ) has given them your word/teachings and commands’. Very few Christians understand the difference, let alone pastors and preachers!

Unbelievers hated the disciples because, like Himself, they were not of their kind – unforgiven sinners (the world). In this text Jesus uses the present tense – they are already “not of the world”. In this sense, Christians are “not of the world” and though living IN the world they are already partly in the Heavenly realm and not OF this world, as Jesus was and is. Paul taught something similar.

Though Jesus knew of the hardships and hatred to be imposed on the disciples and other followers (even to this day) He did not ask the Father to remove them from the world, but that he should, rather, keep them safe from Satan and those who hated them. Are we not in the same position today? To be more precise Jesus asked the Father to ‘keep’ them, the verb tēreō; to keep them in their holy condition and to be guarded from enemies. This should be our own prayer.

Jesus then repeated His statement that neither they nor He were “of the world”. He asked that the Father should sanctify them through His truth. To sanctify is to separate them from sin and to consecrate them to God and holiness; they were to be dedicated to the things of God. This is how all of us must be as believers... not ‘should be’ but MUST be! They and we are sanctified through the truth of God. We are told how we find this truth – in God’s word (for us, the Bible). The words of scripture ARE God’s truth. Read and place in your heart! Let their meaning fill your very soul and let your spirit be guided by the Holy Spirit within.

Verses 18-23

  1. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.

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

  3. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;

  4. 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.

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

  6. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Verse 18 tells us that the work of Jesus was the same as that of the disciples, in that both shared the task of preaching the Gospel. Because the disciples were to be sanctified, Jesus sanctified Himself. Thus, both were dedicated to the things of God. Because Jesus was sanctified, His sanctification was passed on to His followers as an authentic state.

As I said earlier, Jesus’ prayer for the disciples was also meant, by extension, for all believers (verse 20). This is how I know that the words of Jesus were not localised to the 12, but were for all believers throughout all of time... and this includes gifts, which appear not to have been rescinded or available for only a short time, even though they are much restricted today. (I reject the false charismatic idea of gifts).

The link between disciples/us and the unity of Father and Son is formidable. It can only point to one thing – the need for absolute holiness, for Father and Son are themselves absolutely holy. The silly and frivolous saying, that “If you find a perfect church, don’t join it”, should be highlighted as unbiblical and sinful. We are CALLED to be perfect and holy! No alternatives are given: it is an imperative command.

The words “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one” indicate an absolute requirement, and shows the fully integrated nature of Christians with Christ and the Father. Though we sin, our relationship and intentions are just as absolute. Only by openly showing this God-Man relationship of holiness can Christians prove to the world what they claim – that Christ was sent to save and love His own, and that the Father loves Christ.

Verses 24-26

  1. 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.

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

  3. 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.

Jesus further prays that the disciples (and again, by extension, us), the elect, will be with Him in Heaven. “Where I am” can also refer to His eternal position as Lord of all who obey and are elect. In this way, we can know God’s glory, the same glory belonging to the Son before Creation.

The “world” (in this context, unsaved sinners) did not know the Father. In this case He was mainly talking about Israel, who knew the outward form and the Torah, but did not have a personal relationship with the Father. Even so, the people of Israel who believed (here talking about the disciples) now knew Jesus was sent by the Father, so were ‘legitimised’ by His relationship with the Father (just as they were).

Jesus had declared His Name; that is, He told them everything about God’s nature, and would continue to do so, through the Holy Spirit. In this way the disciples would know and share in the love of the Father for the Son, and the Son for them (and, again by extension, for us also). The words agapē (feminine noun) and agapaō (verb) are used in this verse. (Another mistake by Christians – always assuming that every word for ‘love’ is agapē!).

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Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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