FOR THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF MUTUAL DIVINE GLORIFICATION, JESUS PETITIONS THE FATHER FOR THE UNITY AND SECURITY OF THE ELECT (PARTICULARLY THE APOSTLES) WHILE THEY CARRY OUT THEIR MISSION IN AN UNFRIENDLY WORLD
The passage reads almost like contract language as Jesus recalls His faithfulness in finishing the work which the Father has given Him to do; then petitions His heavenly Father to follow through and complete all that is necessary to protect and secure the elect as they remain in the world which hates them and carry out their important mission.
The passage alternates back and forth between reciting the completed responsibilities of Christ and soliciting the faithful performance to all terms and conditions of the covenant relationship on the part of the Father.
In every deal, you have certain things that are “show stoppers” – which if left unresolved will kill the transaction. Jesus wants to make sure that there are no show stoppers as He prepares to leave His disciples and entrusts them back into the hands of His loving Father.
(Picture Isaac talking to Abraham right before being offered up on the altar – “Dad, don’t draw back now; you must carry out the divine plan; you must focus on the ultimate glory that will come via the resurrection.”)
Could logically break this down into 3 messages:
:1-5 Jesus and His Father
:6-19 Jesus and His Immediate Disciples
:20-26 Jesus and His Universal Church
Ryle: It is needless to say that the chapter before us contains many deep things. It could hardly be otherwise. He that reads the words spoken by one Person of the blessed Trinity to another Person, by the Son to the Father, must surely be prepared to find much that he cannot fully understand, much that he has no line to fathom. There are sentences, words, and expressions, in the twenty-six verses of this chapter, which no one probably has ever unfolded completely. We have not minds to do it, or to understand the matters it contains, if we could. But there are great truths in the chapter which stand out clearly and plainly on its face, and to these truths we shall do well to direct our best attention.
I. (:1-5) JESUS CALLS ON THE FATHER TO LIFT HIM UP TO HEAVEN (BY WAY OF THE CROSS OF REDEMPTION) AND CONSUMMATE THEIR MUTUAL GLORIFICATION
A. (:1) Commitment to the Cross of Redemption and Subsequent Glory
1. Engaging the Father’s Attention
“These things Jesus spoke; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said”
We see Jesus turning His focus from preparing His disciples for His departure to entreating His Father to carry through with the divine plan of redemption.
Final Intercessory Prayer on earth; to be followed by His high priestly intercessory ministry in heaven
What poise and unselfishness is shown by Christ in His final hours.
2. Embracing the Climactic, Redemptive Moment
“He said, ‘Father, the hour has come”
3. Executing the Plan of Mutual Divine Glorification
a. Divine Follow Through by the Father
“glorify Thy Son”
b. Divine Follow Through by the Son
“that the Son may glorify Thee.”
Stedman: We must understand what this term “glorified” means. How is someone “glorified”? The word means to make manifest hidden values, hidden riches. . . All his inner qualities of grace and truth became visible. Here our Lord is praying that by means of the cross something that is hidden to the world will be manifested. . . We do not have to guess what that is because he tells us. It is, first, that God has given him “power over all flesh,” i.e., he has Lordship, sovereignty, the right to rule over all the nations of the earth. This will come by means of the cross. . . But more than that, our Lord also states that through the cross he will gain the right to give eternal life to all whom the Father brings to him. . . Thus the cross reveals both his Lordship and his Saviorhood. He is the source of life to all who come to him.
B. (:2-3) Responsibility for the Propagation of Eternal Life
1. (:2) Stewardship of the Responsibility
“even as Thou gavest Him authority over all mankind, that to all whom Thou hast given Him, He may give eternal life.”
– The Authority = Universal and Divine
– The Target Group = the Elect
– The Mission = Giving the Gift of Eternal Life
Tasker: authority to determine the ultimate destiny of men (cf. Mat. xxviii. 18).
2. (:3) Essence of Eternal Life
“And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”
C. (:4-5) Consummation of the Divine Mission of Atonement and Mutual Glorification
1. (:4) The Role of the Son
“I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.”
2. (:5) The Role of the Father
“And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory, which I had with Thee before the world was.”
Ryle: I think the meaning of this sentence must be this: “Give glory to Thy Son, by carrying Him through the cross and the grave, to a triumphant completion of the work He came to do, and by placing him at Thy right hand, and highly exalting Him above every name that is named. Do this, in order that He may glorify Thee and Thy attributes. Do this, that he may bring fresh glory to Thy holiness, and justice, and mercy, and faithfulness, and prove to the world that Thou art a just God, a holy God, a merciful God, and a God that keepeth His word. My vicarious death and my resurrection will prove this, and bring glory to Thee. Finish the mighty work. Glorify Me, and in so doing glorify Thyself. Finish Thy work, not least, that Thy Son may glorify Thee by bringing many redeemed souls to heaven, to the glory of Thy grace.”
II. (:6-16) JESUS CALLS ON THE FATHER TO PROTECT THE ELECT (APOSTLES) WHILE THEY REMAIN IN THE WORLD
A. (:6-8) The Message of “Who God Is” Has Been Faithfully Delivered and Faithfully Received (ready to be reproduced and propagated)
“I 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. Now they have come to know that everything Thou hast given Me is from Thee; for the words which Thou gavest Me I have given to them; and they received them, and truly understood that I came forth from Thee, and they believed that Thou didst send Me.”
B. (:9-12) The Petition for Security with the Goal of Unity
1. (:9-10) Petition Based on Mutual Divine Ownership
“I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine; and all things that are Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I have been glorified in them.”
Tasker: The Greek verb (glorified) is in the perfect tense. Jesus’ glory has already shone in the face of His disciples. They are already in a real though limited sense a reflection of Himself. They have caught the infection of His spirit, become interested in the things in which He is interested, learned to love what He loves and to hate what He hates. The perfect tense implies that this reflection of Jesus in His apostles will remain.
2. (:11) Petition for Security with the Goal of Unity
“And I am no more in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep them in Thy name, the name which Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.”
3. (:12a) Petition Based on Past Performance of the Son
“While I was with them, I was keeping them in Thy name which Thou hast given Me; and I guarded them,”
4. (:12b) Exception Clause – Unique Case of Judas
“and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled”
This shows that the emphasis in these verses is on the twelve apostles rather than on all professing believers … because Judas is the only unique exception.
D. (:13) Apostles should be Filled with Divine Joy (rather than Separation Sorrow)
“But now I come to Thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy made full in themselves.”
E. (:14-16) Petition for Protection from the Hating World and from the Evil One
1. (:14) The Hatred of the Enemy
“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.”
– Stewards of the Word of God
– Hated by the world
– In the world but not of the world
– Following the example of Christ
2. (:15) Protection vs. Deliverance
“I do not ask Thee to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one.”
3. (:16) Following in Christ’s Footsteps
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”
III. (:17-19) JESUS CALLS ON THE FATHER TO SANCTIFY THE APOSTLES IN THE TRUTH
A. (:17A) Petition for Consecration of Life and Mission
“Sanctify them in the truth”
Ryrie: Sanctify means to set apart for God and His holy purposes; so also v. 19.
Stedman: But what does “sanctification” mean? It means to separate, or set apart, to a specific purpose; to put to an intended use. You are sanctifying those pews at this moment as you sit on them. You sanctified your car as you drove here this morning. (It did not make it run better but it was put to the proper use!) I sanctify my comb when I comb my hair — I use it for its intended purpose. And what are we intended for? What purpose did God have in mind in making man? That he might use him as the instrument of his working and to manifest his character. That he might be the instrument of God.
When you become that, you are sanctified. In this context it includes a sense of personal agreement with that, a determination, a willingness, to do it. Thus we could use the word “commitment.” Our Lord is praying that these men be personally, willingly committed to the work of being used of God.
B. (:17b) Prescription/Power for Consecration of Life and Mission
“Thy word is truth.”
C. (:18) Purpose for Consecration of Life and Mission
“As Thou didst send Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.”
Scott Grant: We are set apart in Christ to know God so that Jesus might send us into the world, just as the Father sent him into the world. Jesus carried his relationship with the Father into the world, which he loved. Likewise, we carry our relationship with the Father into the world, which we love. We are set apart first of all to know God and second of all to be sent into the world. If we are going to be sent into the world, we had better be set apart to know God.
D. (:19) Pattern for Consecration of Life and Mission
“And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.”
IV. (:20-23) JESUS CALLS ON THE FATHER TO PROMOTE THE UNITY OF THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH AND THE EFFECTIVENESS OF ITS TESTIMONY BEFORE A WATCHING WORLD
A. (:20) Expanding the Scope of Intercession to the Universal Church
“I do not ask in behalf of these alone, but for those also who believe in Me through their word.”
B. (:21a) Desire for Organic Unity Patterned After the Godhead
“that they may all be one; even as Thou, Father, art in Me and I in Thee, that they also may be in Us”
not talking about organizational unity here
MacArthur: Now, listen to this: In what way are the Father and the Son One? It isn’t experientially–it’s essentially. Do you know what I am saying? They share the same life. Right? They share the same common eternal life. So, He is not saying, “I hope that they’ll get along as well as we get along.” He is saying, “I want those who belong to me to share the same eternal life that we share,” and that prayer is answered every time a person is saved, because when you are saved, you literally share the common eternal life. . .
If I believe that the Bible is absolutely the Word of God, that it’s inerrant; that it’s inspired; that every Word of God is true in the original autographs, and so forth, and so forth… And somebody comes along and says, “Well, I don’t believe that. I’m a Christian. I believe the gospel part, but I don’t believe in any other part.” I’m going to have a hard time connecting with that person in mutual ministry–agreed? Or if I believe that the Spirit of God works through the Word of God, and you believe the Spirit of God works through “tongues”–we are going to have a hard time. We can love each other, but we are going to have a hard time locking arms in ministering, because we are going to have two different sanctification paradigms. We are going to be going two directions.
C. (:21b) Desire for Effective Testimony
“that they also may be in Us; that the world may believe that Thou didst send Me.”
D. (:22) Shared Glory Promotes Organic Unity Patterned After the Godhead
“And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one”
E. (:23) Mature Unity Promotes Effective Testimony
“I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, that the world may know that Thou didst send Me, and didst love them, even as Thou didst love Me.”
V. (:24-26) CONCLUSION: FOR THE ULTIMATE GOAL OF MUTUAL DIVINE GLORIFICATION, JESUS CALLS ON THE FATHER TO BRING THE CHURCH INTO HIS VERY PRESENCE TO LET THEM BASK IN THE DIVINE LOVE
A. (:24a) Longing for Visible Union in Glory
“Father, I desire that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am, in order that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me”
Deffinbaugh: When Jesus told His disciples He was going away to a place where they could not follow Him, they may have wrongly concluded that He did not want them to be with Him any longer. This conclusion would be completely wrong. Jesus very much wants them to be with Him, and that is precisely what He prays for in verse 24. The reason that they cannot be with Him is because He is going to the Father in heaven, and they have work yet to do on earth. They will thereby experience the glory of identifying with Him as the suffering Savior. They will not behold His heavenly glory until they are in heaven with Him. This is what Jesus asks the Father to do—to bring His disciples to be with Him in heaven, so that they can behold His heavenly glory.
B. (:24b) Appreciation of God’s Personal Sovereign Love
“for Thou didst love Me before the foundation of the world.”
C. (:25) The Great Gulf Between the World and the Church
1. Defining Characteristic of the World = Ignorant of God / Rejection of God
“O righteous Father, although the world has not known Thee”
2. Defining Characteristic of Christ and the Church = True Knowledge of God
“yet I have known Thee; and these have known that Thou didst send Me”
D. (:26) The Enjoyment of Love is Worth the High Price of Revelation
“and I have made Thy name known to them, and will make it known; that the love wherewith Thou didst love Me may be in them, and I in them.”