I was blessed these last few days by meditating on John 17 and Jesus' High Priestly prayer, being reminded again of the seven times that Jesus states that the Father gave all true believers to Him, the Son. There are 17 references to gave(st)
altogether in this chapter. Each verse says something slightly different, and it is edifying to look at what they encompass. These seven references to us being given to the Son are contained in six separate verses:
1) John 17:1-2 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: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
Seven times in the Gospel of John Jesus refers to His hour
, the hour He would be glorified by the Father through His death upon the cross for our sins, His burial, and His physical resurrection: 2:4; 7:30; 8:20; 12:23 (see also vs. 24), 27; 13:1; and 17:1. There are eight times in this chapter that Jesus uses the word glory
or a form thereof (glorify, glorified
We might say about verse 2, "This one's a given," meaning that we already are familiar with this truth: all that have received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour have been given the gift of eternal life in Him. I love how the next verse expresses exactly what that eternal life is - fellowship with the Father and the Son:
John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.
Salvation is eternal life - fellowship with the Lord our God - life, living in the presence of God for eternity.
2) John 17:6 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.
Many times the Scriptures refer to the "name"
of the Son, but here Jesus refers to the name of the Father. He declares that He has manifested (made plain) the Father's name to His disciples. The main name for God (the Godhead, not just the Father) used throughout the Bible is Lord (or LORD), Jehovah, I Am - and we can see Jesus identifying Himself as the great I Am
throughout His ministry. He and the Father are one (see John 10:30) - one in essence, and one in unity. When we see Jesus, we see the Father through Him (John 14:9); in Jesus, we truly see God manifest in the flesh (1 Timothy 3:16) as He is the image of the invisible God (Colossians 1:15).
John 1:18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.
Hebrews 1:1-3 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Notice the seven-fold description here of the Son - seven statements that assert His divinity.
Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
In Jesus, we see everything God is. Knowing this, the next verse contains tremendous assurance for those who have trusted in Jesus for salvation:
Colossians 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
Verse 6 mentions how Jesus' disciples have kept His Word. The word kept
here means "to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon." True believers will cling to the Word of God, hold to its teachings, and not let the Devil or the world snatch these doctrinal truths from their hearts.
John 17:8 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.
John 14:23-24 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
3) John 17:9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
In Jesus' High Priestly prayer, we don't just see the Son fellowshipping with the Father, but we see Him also praying for His own - in fact, this is the primary ministry He is currently occupied with in Heaven.
Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:
Hebrews 7:24-25 But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.
Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Romans 8 is one of my favourite chapters of the whole Bible. Notice how it teaches that if you are a born again child of God, all three members of the Godhead are for you: Romans 8:26-27, and 31-32.
4) John 17:11 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.
In this portion of Jesus' prayer, we hear Him petitioning the Father to keep us safe so that we may be one with Him and in Him. This is a unity based on the true God
and on truth
(see verses 2, 17, and 19). Too many in our day are striving for a man-made ecumenical unity - but Jesus' prayer was for a unity of fellowship and purpose among the true children of God, not among apostate Christendom. (For the sake of clarification, I believe the primary unity the New Testament teaches is unity within each local church
- not unity among all believers worldwide; though even among true
believers there should be a unity among the fundamentals of the faith.)
John 17:21-23 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. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 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.
Romans 15:5-6 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Ephesians 4:3-6 Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
In this passage, there is a seven-fold unity that God has established. This is one of two places in the New Testament where the Trinity is expressed in this fashion: Spirit, Lord, and God
(the Father). The other reference is 1 Corinthians 12:4-6.
The word fellowship
basically means "a sharing in what we have in common together." There is not much in the way of fellowship between professing believers who are not likeminded, who do not hold to the same doctrines, the same general Bible principles and standards, the same Saviour (and, of course, there is no fellowship between a true believer and an unbeliever). Whether on a message board or in a local church, in a church potluck or in a coffee shop, fellowship must be based on what we have in common in the Lord Jesus Christ and the faith we share in Him and in the precious Word of God.
Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Philippians 2:1-2 If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Philippians 3:9-10 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;
1 John 1:3 That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.
1 John 1:5-7 This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
It is interesting to note that in John 17:11, Jesus refers to His Father as Holy Father
(the only time this name is used in the whole Bible) in the context of keeping us safe in this world - keeping us in His name will involve separation from ungodliness and sin, will involve holiness in His children, will involve true believers being set apart (sanctified, holy) from the world. Verse 24 also contains the only reference to the name Righteous Father
5) John 17:12 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.
Jesus states that He has kept all those that the Father has given Him - He has not lost a single one, except the one that He never had to begin with! Judas was never saved, had never trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation; therefore he was still lost. A careful studying out of all the passages relating to Judas (especially in the Gospel of John) will bear out this fact. Judas never repented of his sin, nor placed his faith personally in the Saviour. After his betrayal of Jesus Christ, he regretted the consequences of his betrayal (ie. Jesus being led to death), but he did not turn to God for forgiveness of his sins. For further study, consider John 2:23-25; 6:64-71 (devil
means slanderer, accuser); 12:4-6; 13:2 (notice that Judas is possessed by Satan himself in verse 27), 10-11, 18-30, plus the accounts of the betrayal. The phrase, the son of perdition
, is the same term used for the Antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, of whom, no doubt, Judas was a type. In Matthew 27:3, it states that Judas repented himself
, which is a different word in Greek indicating remorse or regret for what happened, not repentance toward God.
I covered all that to re-emphasize the fact that the Lord Jesus Christ keeps His own! He never loses anyone who truly repents of their sins and receives Him as their Saviour. No one can be separated from His love (see Romans 8:35, 37-39), and no one can be taken from His hands or the Father's hands - we are doubly held! (see John 10:27-30).
The Greek word for keep
in verses 11-12, and 15 is the same as that used in verse 6, in regards to the disciples keeping Jesus' Word (see definition above). However, the Greek word is different the second time kept is used in verse 12 (those that thou gavest me I have kept
), and means "through the idea of isolation; to watch, i.e. be on guard (literally of figuratively); by implication, to preserve, obey, avoid." Our Lord is watching over us, watching over our souls, He is guarding us and keeping us by His power - and no true believer will ever be lost! He will keep and preserve us until He takes us home to live with Him forever in Heaven!
John 17:14-16 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. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
It was Jesus' prayer that the Father would keep us (ie. guard and protect us) from evil - that He would keep us safe while we are in this world, safe from the evil influences of this world. The above passage is where we get our phrase from, "We are to be in the world, but not of the world." The word world
is used 19 times in this chapter. Some passages that also speak of God's same protection for His children are:
Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:
2 Peter 2:9 The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
Revelation 3:10 Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.
This last verse contains the wonderful promise to the Philadephian church (the Missionary church, the church of brotherly love) that the Lord will rapture them out before the time of Tribulation comes to test the whole world. True believers have already made their choice, have already received (and kept) the Word of God, already received the Lord Jesus Christ as their Saviour, and therefore will be removed from the time of trouble that will come upon all the world. We do not need to be tried or proven to see what we will do with Jesus, as that decision has already been made by those who have trusted in Christ.
One point worth mentioning in a day of ecumenicism: the word for all the world
is used three times in the book of Revelation - and is a reference to the lost world opposed against the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the Greek word oikoumene
, where we get our word "ecumenical" from! And there are naive or deliberately deceptive people today pushing the ecumenical movement on us! That will only lead to the one-world church and one-world government of the Antichrist in Revelation 13. We need to beware! Beware when the whole world is running after the same thing, when the whole world is running after the same "Christian" leader, when the whole world is running after the same movements or philosophies! The "whole world" does not love the things of God, does not love the Word of God - beware!
Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
6) John 17:24 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.
This last statement in our study is Jesus' prayer that all true believers would be with Jesus in Heaven forever, and that we would behold His glory. I believe Peter, James, and John were given a glimpse of that glory on the Mount of Transfiguration, and John saw the glorified Christ when he was imprisoned on the island of Patmos - and one day we will see Him totally glorified and transfigured before our eyes, because then our sin nature will have been removed, and there will be nothing hindering us from beholding Him as He truly is. Like the Lord told Moses, when he asked to see God's glory:
Exodus 33:19-23 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. And the LORD said, Behold, there is a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen.
In order to see God's glory, we must be hidden in Christ, hidden in the Rock!
Matthew 17:1-2 And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.
Mark 9:2-3 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.
As an added study, it is also interesting to note the various other things that Jesus said the Father has given Him:
a) power over all flesh
- vs. 2
b) the work which thou gavest me to do
- vs. 4
c) whatsoever thou hast given me
- vs. 7
d) the words which thou gavest me
- vs. 8
e) the glory which thou gavest me
- vs. 22
f) my glory, which thou hast given me
- vs. 24
And what He has given His disciples:
a) I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me
- vs. 8
b) I have given them thy word
- vs. 14
c) the glory which thou gavest me I have given them
- vs. 22
The last verse of this chapter contains an amazing statement:
John 17:26 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.
God the Father loves His children with the same love He loves the Son! He wants us to be filled with that love, and dwell in us, working through us. This verse exposes the Devil's lie that God doesn't care for us or that His love is conditioned on our own worthiness - He loves us as much as He loves the Son because we are in the Son! Is that love evident in your life, evident in you and through you?
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
Labels: Bible Numbers, Eights, Sevens