John 17 Continued

14.  “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

We see this particularly in the religious world of that day.  There was a religious system and order in Israel at that time.  If the Lord had made Himself a part of that world, if He had adopted their customs and followed their traditions and used their terminology, they would have loved Him.  Yet He did not do this, but rather He gave them the word of the Father.  God’s word is ever a hateful thing to the religious orders and systems of this world!  Moreover, the Lord had given the disciples God’s word as well, and now the world had hated them too for this.  One who is bold enough to set forth God’s word today should not be surprised to find that it brings Him into conflict with the religious systems and orders of our day, even those that call themselves “Christian.”  These systems are of the world, but the Lord’s words are not.  Just as the Lord was not of the world, one who keeps His words will find himself at odds with the world as well.  Let us ever be bold to choose the word of God over that which is more acceptable to the religious world around us!

15.  “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.

The Lord did not ask that the Father should take the disciples out of the world.  Not at all, for that is exactly where He wanted them!  Their mission and work was to be in the system that existed in Israel at that time.  No, this was not His request.  Rather, He asked the Father to keep them from evil.  This is what was necessary for them.  In the same way, this is a good prayer for us to pray today.  We, too, do not need to ask to be taken out of the world.  Rather, what we really need is to ask to be kept from evil while we are in the world.  This system we live in is full of wickedness and things that would lead a believer to calamity.  While we seek to live for God in this world, what we need from the Father is that He would keep us from such evil.  That is what the Lord prayed for His eleven disciples, and it is what we need as well.

16.  “They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.

The vast majority of religious men today find their source in the world.  They were made religious in the world’s institutions.  They were given their credentials by the world.  They were educated in the world’s seminaries and taught by the world’s professors.  They were given their titles by the world, and then were placed in the world’s churches to continue the cycle of the world’s religion.  The same thing was true in the Lord’s day.  The religious leaders of that time were brought up in the world, and were a part of it.  Yet this was not true of the disciples.  They were not of the world, just as He was not.  He was no part of that world that had strayed so far from the system God set up and what He truly intended.

17.  “Sanctify them by Your truth.  Your word is truth.

To sanctify means to “hallow” or to make holy.  Yet “holy” is a word that is much misused in our English language.  The idea of a “holy” person is one that is set apart, especially one that is set apart to God.  Thus, the Lord is asking the Father to set these men apart from the world unto Himself by His truth.  What truth is that?  His word is truth.  This is something we would do well to remember.  It is the answer to Pilate’s question in John 18:38.  It is a wonderful fact for any believer to grasp.  God’s Word is truth.  The more we know of It, the more we know of the truth.  The more we have of It, the more we understand of It, the more we understand of the truth.  Thank God for the truth He has given us!

18.  “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

Again here, the word for “sent” is the Greek word apostello, which means to send with authority or to commission.  As the Father sent the Son with His authority into the world, now in the same way the Son was sending the disciples with His authority into the world.

Remember what the Lord said in Matthew 15:24, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  If the Lord sent the disciples as He was sent, would it not be true that they too were not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel?  By this we can see that the world He is referring to here is not the world at large, but the world that then existed in the nation of Israel.

19.  “And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth.

For the sake of the disciples the Lord set Himself apart to God for His use.  This was so that the disciples also might be set apart to God by the truth.  It is the truth that sets us apart to God.  Error only keeps us as a part of the world.  Thus, by setting Himself apart from the world and giving the disciples the truth, the Lord set them apart from the world as well.  In the same way, those who accept the truth today will find themselves set apart from the world.

20.  “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;

The Lord now reveals that He does not ask the Father on behalf of these eleven men alone.  Now He expands His request, and makes a request to the Father on behalf of all those who would believe in Him through the word of the disciples.

21.  “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.

Again, the Lord’s prayer for those who would yet believe in the future is that they might be one as the Father and the Son are one, the Father being in the Son and the Son being in the Father.  The Lord asks that these believers may also be one in Them.  Truly, if all believers were one in this way, the world might indeed believe that the Father sent the Son.  And the Lord’s request was granted, for we read in Acts 4:32,

32.  Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.

The believers were one, and the result was that many believed, as we read in Acts 6:1, that, “the number of the disciples was multiplying.”  Their oneness did indeed help the world of Israel to believe in the Lord.  Alas, but it did not convince His enemies!

The word for “sent” here is again apostello.  The world could believe that the Father commissioned the Son with authority when they saw the oneness of the believers.

22.  “And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:

The esteem that the Father had given the Son, the Son now had given to the believers.  Indeed, we can see how this would be true, for these apostles worked the same mighty works that the Lord worked among the people, and “the people esteemed them highly.”  (Acts 5:13b)  This glory that the Lord gave them would also result in them being one just as the Son and the Father are one.  They would be unified in the work they did for the Lord.

23.  “I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.

This was true of His disciples, but I believe it is also true of us: that the Lord Jesus is in us, and the Father is in Him.  His being in them would result in their being made perfect or complete in one.  This would result in the world knowing that the Father did indeed send the Son.  (Again, this is the word apostello, meaning that He was sent with authority.)  The world will also know that the Father loves the disciples as He loves the Son.  What an amazing love the Father has towards mere men!

24.  “Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.

The Son expresses His desire that those whom the Father gave Him may be with Him where He is, and that they may behold the glory which the Father has given Him.  This will ultimately be the case in the parousia, when all His people “shall always be with the Lord.”  (I Thessalonians 4:17b)

The Father loved the Son before the foundation of the world.  This is an extremely important phrase, but one that is often misunderstood.  The tendency is to make “foundation” the same thing as “creation,” and the “world” to be the same thing as the “earth.”  But I can found an organization without creating all its members out of nothing.  And the world, as I have said before, is not the earth, but is the system or order of men upon it.  The system or order of men that is upon the earth now will not always exist in its current form.  Someday, God will take control of this world through His government.  At that time, He will found a new world, His world, upon the earth.  That is the world yet to come that is still to be founded by God.  Yet no matter what world you speak of, whether it is the world that exists now or the world that is to come, the Father loved the Son before its foundation.  His love for the Son is truly something that has always been, and will always be.

25.  “O righteous Father!  The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me.

The world that then existed, the system or order that was founded upon unrighteous rulers like Herod and the chief priests and Pharisees, did not know the righteous Father.  They were wicked, and His righteousness was not something they had knowledge of or even comprehended.  Yet, the Lord testifies that He has known the righteous Father.  Indeed, He could know Him as no one else could, being the perfect Son.  And His disciples had known that the Father sent the Son.  This meant they believed the truth.  The Lord commends their faith to the Father here.

The word “sent” is again apostello.  The disciples realized that the Father had not just physically sent the Lord Jesus, but that He had also sent Him with His authority.

26.  “And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”

The Lord had declared to the disciples the Father’s name.  This did not mean that He told them a special word that designated the Father.  Rather, it means He set forth the Father’s character to them.  He showed them what the Father was really like.  Moreover, He would yet further declare it to them.  Certainly, He showed much more of the character of the Father in the events that were about to happen to Him in His arrest, trial, and crucifixion.

He was showing them the Father’s character for the purpose that the love with which the Father loved the Son might be in the disciples.  Knowing the Father would help the disciples to understand and have the very love of God in themselves.  This would also result in the Lord Jesus being in them.  They surely displayed the Lord in their lives in their actions on His behalf in the coming Acts period.

Now, the Lord’s conversation with the Father ends.  Through this conversation, we learn more of the relationship between the two, and are given more to believe regarding the Lord Jesus Christ.  Remember, this is the purpose of the book: to produce people who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.  The things we learn here help us to understand and believe those very things.