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John 17:1-5

Context
Jesus Prays for the Father to Glorify Him

17:1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he looked upward 1  to heaven 2  and said, “Father, the time 3  has come. Glorify your Son, so that your 4  Son may glorify you – 17:2 just as you have given him authority over all humanity, 5  so that he may give eternal life to everyone you have given him. 6  17:3 Now this 7  is eternal life 8  – that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, 9  whom you sent. 17:4 I glorified you on earth by completing 10  the work you gave me to do. 11  17:5 And now, Father, glorify me at your side 12  with the glory I had with you before the world was created. 13 

1 tn 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.

2 tn Or “to the sky.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven” depending on the context.

3 tn 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.

4 tc 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.

5 tn Or “all people”; Grk “all flesh.”

6 tn Grk “so that to everyone whom you have given to him, he may give to them eternal life.”

7 tn 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.

8 sn 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.

9 tn Or “and Jesus the Messiah” (Both Greek “Christ” and Hebrew and Aramaic “Messiah” mean “one who has been anointed”).

10 tn 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).

11 tn Grk “the work that you gave to me so that I may do it.”

12 tn 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.

13 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.



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