Biblical Studies/New Testament Commentaries/The Gospel of John/Chapter 17
Verses 1-26, sums up Jesus teachings, Jesus begins to pray to the Father for different reasons. First, He prays for Himself (verses 1-5) then He continues and begins to pray for His apostles (verses 6-19 and 24-26) and for all believers and the world (verses 20-23). This prayer seems to combine all things done, past present, and future. Each prayer depends on the one before it with Jesus being the foundation. (Petersen).
Jesus' prayer is the culmination of all of his ministry in the world. Jesus prays for God to be glorified in what is about to come through him. Jesus also prays for his disciples and all believers that God would bless them and the Holy Spirit would be revealed to them and be present in the believers' lives.
Verses 1-5: Jesus Prays for Himself
Throughout this Gospel we have been told that his 'hour had not yet come' (the first occasion in John 2:4). Jesus begins to express the desires of His heart in verses 1-5. Now, it 'has come'. Now he prays that he may be glorified. No one can glorify him but the Father and he prays that he may so accept it as to bring glory to his Father in turn. His “hour” had come for the Father to “glorify Thy Son,” (NAS) which would be through His death, resurrection, and ascension. He will be glorifying his Father by doing his will.
In verse 2 Christ was given two things; the “authority over all mankind” and the power to “give eternal life.” (NAS)
He continues (v.3) to define this “eternal life” as knowing “the only true God” and Jesus Christ whom he had sent. This idea of mankind “knowing” God could have several interpretations. Some believe that knowing God was literal and so the verse seemed ambiguous. However, others believe that “knowing” God meant that mankind would no longer need a mediator and could have a personal knowing of God and Jesus Christ.
In verse 4 Jesus talks of His glorification and it should be noted that the language used in this verse implies that this glorification had already been done. “I glorified Thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which Thou hast given Me to do.” (NAS)
In verse 5 Jesus states: "Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” (NAS) Here some believe that Jesus was saying He had finished what he came into the world to do, but in order for Him to come into the world, Jesus had to set aside His glory and become a servant. However, Jesus is now asking for God to reinstate His glory as He left the world. (Philippians 2:5-11) By asking for glory at God's side Jesus is also telling us that he is one with God and the Holy Spirit, thus reaffirming the holy Trinity of Christian belief, a very important concept in the times that were to come. Through this belief, because all three are one in the same they cannot bestow glory on themselves, but have to ask for it from each other.
Verses 6-19: Jesus Prays for His Disciples
This section of John Chapter 17 contains much of the essence of Jesus' prayer. He is specifically praying for those closest to him, the disciples. In his prayer, Jesus details to his heavenly Father what has come to pass, what is, and what will be. However, in all cases, the name of God is glorified. The circumstance is special however; this is because Jesus' motives in the prayer lie with his disciples and their acceptance of God's word (aka Jesus). "...And glory has come to me through them...Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name--the name you gave me--so that they may be one as we are one (John 17:11). Here Jesus asks that the disciples be granted unity. However, he is not just asking for simple agreement; he is asking for the ultimate kind of unity: the unity of the Father, the Son. For those who say Jesus is God because he and the father are one this verse unravels that argument. He prays for the same oneness for his followers as he and the father share. Would that make his followers God? Hardly.
The Message of Christ's Prayer "I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours" Christ's words in verse 9 when he speaks of the disciples are somewhat unclear, and perhaps troublingly so.
He mentions that he is not praying for "the world. The next passage led me to believe that he was praying for the people within the world, but even then, it was only for the believers. In verse 20 Christ says "I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message." There is no mention of those who will not believe in the message. Are we to assume the worst?
Yes we flippantly tell strangers "Jesus loves you", but what does Jesus say? He says he loves his own, those who love the Father and Jesus and demonstrate it by obeying the commands of the Gospel.
Jesus commands us to love everyone including our enemies but he never says he loves sinners, he says he loves those who remain faithful to the Father and his gospel. His love is conditional. However the father's love is universal. He loves all humans.
This chapter contains the prayer of Jesus to the Father, which is overheard by His disciples. The first few verses directly concern Jesus himself, but the bulk of the prayer is for the apostles and those who would become believers later. One of the amazing things about His prayer is that Jesus did not pray just for the apostles, but for those who would believe through their word. The apostles would preach the word, convert many people to Christ. In addition, they would leave on record by their writings the gospels and the many letters.
One of the great questions of Christianity is that of Jesus' relationship to God, and much of that has centered around John's gospel because of its more advanced theological identity. Many point to passages such as John 10:30 in which Jesus proclaims, "I and the Father are one," to suggest that John saw Jesus and God as being equal. While that may certainly be the case if one reads verses 21-23 that says, "21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23 I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity," it seems rather clear that Jesus is referring to a oneness of mind and purpose and not a oneness of power or physical being. If the disciples are able to be one in the same sense that Jesus is one with God, it only makes sense if read as being united in purpose and thought, as is alluded to in verse 23.
Jesus' prayer was that all the disciples might be one in him and in the Father. He prayed that all who truly believed might ultimately be with him where he was to behold the glory he would have with God (J. Boulton, 2006).
The Revelatory Work of Jesus In 17:25-26, we have more language of being sent. Jesus says, to his Father, whom he calls "Righteous," "The world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me." The disciples now know that Jesus came from the "Righteous God." Yet these verses imply that the disciples are able to know this only because Jesus "made [God's] name known to them." It has been said in earlier chapters that the work of the Paraclete is "the revelation of Jesus himself to his disciples," (Smith 319). Jesus says in 17:26, "...I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."
God loves everyone but has a special love for believers.
The Route to the Olive Grove of Gethsemane
Then Yahshuah, and the eleven, sang the Passover Hallel hymn which contains these lines Psalm 118 They compass me about like bees; they are quenched as the
fire of thorns; verily, in the name of Yah I will cut them off.
Thou didst thrust sore at me that I might fall; but Yah helped me. Yah is my strength and song; and He is become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tents of the righteous; the right
hand of Yah does valiantly. The right hand of Yah is exalted; the right hand of Yah does valiantly. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of Yah.
Yah has chastened me sore; but He has not given me over unto death…I will give
thanks unto You, for Thou hast answered me, and art become my
salvation. The stone which the builders rejected is become the chief corner-stone. This is Yah 'S doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. …O give thanks unto Yah, for He is good, for His mercy endures forever. (Psa.118:1-29)
After they sang, they went out of Yerushalayim through the Eastern gate, down through the valley of Gey-hinnom, crossed a bridge over the Kidron brook and ravine, and went up the Mount of Olives to an Olive Grove called Gethsemane (the Place of the Olive Press). The valley of Gey-hinnom (Gehenna) is where Solomon defiled and sacrificed hundreds of young girls. The Kidron ravine is the path David took when he was forced to flee Jerusalem by his son Absalom. David went up the Mount of Olives weeping.
Judas Comes With the Rogues to Arrest Yahshuah Jn.18
They could see torches, and people, moving into the garden coming towards them. It was Judas Ben Shimon of Keriot with a mob sent by the elders and chief priests (Sahmmai and Gamaliel). There were Temple guards with swords, and a band of Pharisees with staffs and clubs, and some rogue Mosaic Law experts. Judas had received the thirty pieces of silver and was about to betray Yahshuah. Yahshuah fully realizing what was happening went to meet them and asked, “Who are you looking for?” “Yahshuah of Netzeret.” “I am he.”
As soon as Yahshuah said ‘I am he,” the mob drew back and fell to the ground as if an invisible force had knocked them down. Yahshuah asked them again, “Who are you looking for?”
Rising to their feet, they said again, “Yahshuah of Netzeret.” “I told you I am he. If you are only looking for me, then let the other men here go free.” he said this to fulfill the prophecy, Of those that you gave me, I lost none.
Wounds made by a friend are intended to help, but an enemy's kisses are too much to bear. Prov 27:6 And as I watched, I saw Azazel approach Him and he kissed Him on the face and then stood behind Him. And I said, "0 Eternal One! Who is the Man insulted and beaten, who is worshipped by the nations and kissed by Azazel?" And He answered and said, "Hear Abraham! The Man you saw insulted and beaten and yet worshipped by many, He is the 'Relief' granted by the nations to the people who proceed from you, in the last days, in the twelfth hour of the age of ungodliness. But in the twelfth hour of my final age will I set up this Man (the Messiah, Yahshuah) from your generation, whom you saw issue from among my people, and all who follow will become like this Man, and such as are called by me will join the others, even those who will to change within themselves. The Apocalypse of Abraham 1:55-56
Peter Tries to prevent the Arrest Jn. 23
Then Peter drew one of the two swords and struck the High Priest’s servant Melekh, and cut off his right ear. Yahshuah restrained Peter and asked, “Shall I not drink the cup that Father has prepared me for? Put up your sword, all who live by the sword will die by the sword. Do you not understand that I could call 60,000 angels and Father would send them to me?” The chariots of Yah are ten thousands and thousands upon thousands. From the Dead Sea Scrolls Psalm 68:17 And Elisha began to pray and said: O Yah, open his eyes, please, that he may see. Immediately Yah opened the attendant's eyes; so that he saw; and, look! the mountainous region was full of horses and war chariots of fire round about Elisha. 2Ki.6:17
Wisdom is better than weapons of war. Ecclesiastes 9 :18
Anyone shedding man's blood, by man will his own blood be shed, for in God's image he made man. Ge.9:6 Yahshuah went to the wounded servant and touched the wound, and the bleeding stopped, and instantly his ear was back on his head as good as new. Then he said to the mob and the soldiers, “Am I a wild bandit that you have to come after me with swords and clubs in the dark of night to arrest me? Do you think I am leading a gang of assassins and zealots? I am a teacher, and I have been peacefully sitting in the Temple every day this week in broad daylight telling people about the Kingdom of Yah. Apparently, no one thought I was a wild bandit then. So who has changed your mind about me? I will tell you who it was, it was Azazel, the devil, for he always does his work in the dark, the Prince of the Power of Darkness reigns over you, and so you do his bidding.” Then they seized him and led him away. All the Apostles fled. A soldier grabbed one disciple by his robe, but he wiggled out of it, and fled away naked.
The Ransom was paid in the garden By allowing the forces of darkness to seize him Yahshuah paid the ransom. The ransom was paid at that moment in the garden. A sinless man surrendered himself as a prisoner exchange to Azazel. If he can remain sinless until death, he will break Azazel’s power to keep humans forever in the land of death. Azazel is confident that with a little torture Yahshuah will be easy to break. Azazel is unaware that if Yahshuah dies sinless, the curse of the Torah will fall upon him. “Cursed is he who accepts a payment and then slays an innocent man.” (Deut. 27:25)
Yahshuah in the House of Ananus , the Ringleader of the Rogues
The Temple guards first took him to the house of Ananus , the retired illegal High Priest; he was the ringleader of the rogues who had appointed his son-in-law Kayafa as his illegal successor.
222 Peter Denies Knowing Yahshuah Two Times
When the Apostles fled, two of them, Peter and Yahchanan had followed the mob with Yahshuah. Yahchanan had connections in the High Priest’s house and easily entered the courtyard. After a while, he spoke to the woman gatekeeper and arranged for Peter to enter. As Peter came in she asked, “Aren’t you one of Yahshuah’s followers? “No, I am not,” he said. The Temple guards had built a fire in the courtyard and many slaves and other people were sitting around it warming themselves. Peter came and began to warm himself. One of the slave girls sitting there recognized him and said, “There is one of his followers. I saw him one day with Yahshuah.” Peter denied it saying, “By my oath, I do not even know him miss, you are mistaken.” “I am sure I saw him with Yahshuah of Netzeret,” she said, Peter heard a rooster crow off in the distance.
Ananus ’s Guard Strikes Yahshuah
Inside Ananus’ house, Ananus questioned Yahshuah about the Gospel of the Kingdom and about his followers. Yahshuah said, “My teachings were never hidden. I said everything in public in the synagogues and in the Temple. Why do you question me? Ask the people who heard me speak, they will tell you what I taught.” One of the guards struck Yahshuah in the mouth saying, “How dare you talk to the High Priest like this.” Yahshuah, answered, “You know he has not been the High Priest for many years, and when he was in office, he was not legally the High Priest, but a pretender. Therefore if I have said anything evil what was it? And if I broke no law, then why did you hit me?” “And the men that held Yahshuah mocked him, and smote him. And when they had blindfolded him, they struck him on the face, and asked him, saying, Prophesy, who is it that smote you? And many other things blasphemously spake they against him”. (Luke 22:63-65)
Peter Denies Yahshuah the Third Time
Peter moved away to the porch of Kayafa’s house. One of the high Priest’s slaves saw him and said. “He is one of them. I saw him in the garden near my uncle Melekh.” Peter said, “I swear I do not know him.” The slave said, “Listen to the way he speaks, he is a Galilean.” Peter said, “On my oath, may curses fall upon me if I am not telling the truth.” Immediately he heard a rooster crow the second time and he remembered what Yahshuah had said. Meanwhile Ananus had ordered Yahshuah transferred across the courtyard to the house of Kayafa. Yahshuah came onto the porch and he and Peter looked at each other. Peter ran from the courtyard and into the city weeping bitterly. Roosters only crow at dawn, but the Romans soldiers used to blow an instrument 4 times during the night that sounded like a rooster. It would now be about midnight.
Yahshuah Tells the Rogues He is the Messiah
When it was morning Kayafa convened an illegal trial the elders of the people and the chief priests and the scribes came together, and led him into their council, saying, Are you the Messiah? tell us. And he said unto them, If I tell you, you will not believe me: And if I also ask you a question, you will not answer me, nor let me go. (Luk 22:67-68) Kayafa brought in false witnesses to condemned Yahshuah. The witnesses however kept contradicting each other. At last, two witnesses came in and said, “This man said if we tear down the Temple made with hands, in three days he could build it with his own two hands.” “With one hand,” one of the witnesses said. “No with two,” the other said. The two witnesses began to argue and Kayafa said to Yahshuah, “Well what you say was it with one hand or two?” Moses wrote in the Scroll of Deuteronomy:
On the evidence of two or three witnesses the death sentence shall be executed; a person must not be put to death on the evidence of only one witness. The hands of the witnesses shall be the first raised against the person to execute the death penalty, and afterwards the hands of all the people. So you shall purge the evil from your midst. Deut 17:6-7
False witnesses have risen up against me and they breathe out violence. From the Dead Sea Scrolls Psalm 27:12 Wicked and deceitful people have opened their mouths against me and have spoken against me with lying tongues. They surround me with words of hatred and attack me without a cause. From the Dead Sea Scrolls Psalm 109:2
Yahshuah was silent. Kayafa asked,
“Have you nothing to say?” Yahshuah said nothing.”
He was hard pressed and he was letting himself be afflicted; yet he would not open his mouth. He was brought like just like a sheep to the slaughter; and like a ewe that before her shearers has become mute, he also would not open his mouth. Is.53:7 Kayafa stood up and shouted, “I want you to swear by the living Eloah and tell us whether or not you are the Messiah the son of Yah.” Yahshuah said, “I am the Messiah, the son of Yah, and furthermore this mortal man will ascend to heaven, and you will see him seated at the right hand of Yah riding on the Shokeyn cloud of Glory.” It is written in the Scroll of Daniel: I kept on looking in the visions of the night and, see there! with the clouds of the heavens someone like a mortal happened to be coming ; and to the Ancient of days he gained access, and they brought him up close even before that One. And to him there was given him, a rulership and dignity and a kingdom, that all peoples, national groups, and languages should all serve him. His rulership is an everlasting rulership that will not pass away, and his kingdom one that will not be brought to ruin. Dan.7:13 Then Kayafa broke the law and tore his own robe Subsequently Moses said to Aaron, and to Eleazar and to Ithamar, his sons: Do not let YOUR heads go ungroomed, and YOU must not tear YOUR garments, that YOU may not die. Lv.10:6
Then Kayafa screamed, “He has blasphemed. You heard his blasphemy. We need no more witnesses. He is guilty of death.” It is written: So the abuser of Yah’s name should be put to death without fail. The entire congregation should without fail pelt him with stones. Lv.24:16
Then everyone, including the slaves, rushed at him and began spitting on him and hitting him. Someone put a blindfold on him and hit him saying, “Prophesy O great Adoni and tell us who hit you.”
Judas Returns the Thirty Pieces of Silver and Commits Suicide
After they had sent Yahshuah to the dungeon, Judas Ben Shimon of Keriot came in and said to the chief priests (Gamaliel and Shammai) and senators, “I have betrayed an innocent man.” They said, “That is your affair, we had nothing to do with it.” Judas went to the Temple and hurled the thirty pieces of silver into the treasury. Then he hung himself in a tree. As he was hanging, the limb broke and he fell to the ground. His stomach burst open and his entrails spilled out. Therefore, the Jews called it the haunted place, Aceldama, the Field of Blood. But you, O God, will bring them down into the pit of destruction; bloody and deceitful men will not live out half their days; but, I will trust in you. Ps.55:23
The Thirty Pieces of Silver Used to Buy a Cemetery for the Poor
When the priests found the coins, the next day they said, “This is blood money, we cannot put it in the treasury, and so they used it to buy a cemetery for paupers on the site of an old pottery field and thus was fulfilled the Prophecies. Cast it into the treasury, the goodly price that I was prized by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver and cast them into the treasury, in the house of Yah...and gave them for the Potter’s field. -Zech. 13
The Rogues Have Their First Meeting With Pilate Asking Him to Execute Yahshuah
At dawn, the rogue chief priests (Gamaliel and Shammai) , rogue Mosaic Law Experts, and rogue Senators met and decided to take Yahshuah to the Roman Prefect, Pilate. They took him to the government headquarters, the Praetorian. The kings of the earth take their stand and high officials themselves have massed together as one against Yah and against his anointed one. Ps.2:2
If Jews enter a non-Jewish dwelling, they are considered defiled, and none of these rogues wanted to be defiled, or they would not be able to eat the coveted Passover meal, so they requested Pilate to come out to them. Pilate is believed to have come from Scotland, he ruled from 26 to 36 AD. The Jewish Encyclopedia says,
“His administration was characterized by corruption, violence, robberies, ill treatment of the people, and continuous executions without even the form of a trial…Pilate looted “funds from the sacred treasury in order to provide for the construction of an aqueduct”…when the citizens protested he sent among the crowds disguised soldiers carrying concealed daggers, who massacred a great number, not only of the rioters, but of casual spectators…Pilate's last deed of cruelty, and the one which brought about his downfall, was the massacre of a number of Samaritans who had assembled on Mount Gerizim to dig for some sacred vessels.” http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=312&letter=P&search=pilate When Pilate saw them with a prisoner, for Yahshuah was bound with a chain, he asked, “What are the charges?” They tried to dispense with the charges saying, “If he wasn’t a terrible criminal we would not have bothered you so early in the morning.” Pilate said, “Why don’t you try him in your own law court?” They said, “As you know since you Romans took over, you took away our right to execute criminals.” This was to fulfill the prophecy that he would be lifted up and hung in a tree, for that is how the Romans executed people. (The Jews stoned, burned or beheaded them).
Here are the charges: • SEDITION
• TAX EVASION
• IMPERSONATING A KING
• IMPERSONATING THE MESSIAH
• IMPERSONATING GOD
“This man is a wizard, shaman, warlock, and an insurrectionist. He is stirring up the people telling them not to pay taxes to Caesar, and claiming to be the Messiah, the King of the Jews.” Pilate said to Yahshuah, “What do you have to say about all these charges?” Yahshuah said nothing and Pilate marveled.
Yahshuah is Questioned by Pilate
Pilate ordered Yahshuah to be brought inside to the Judgment Hall, and then asked him,
“Are you the King of the Jews?” Yahshuah asked, “Are you truly trying to understand this for yourself? Or are you only trying to confirm what the illegal chief priests (Gamaliel and Shammai) said about me?” Pilate said, “Only a Jew would care about these things, do I look like a Jew? Your own nation and chief priests, Shammai and Gamaliel, have brought you to me. What did you do?” Yahshuah denies being any part of the Jewish/Israeli nation: Yahshuah said, “My Kingdom (my nation) is not of this Cosmos. If it were, my followers would have fought to keep me from being arrested.” Pilate said, “Ah ha! So you are a King then?” Yahshuah said, “Yes I am. But my kingship is not to reign over others as earthly kings reign, but to deliver the truth. Everyone who is on the side of truth will listen to me. a good ear will hear wisdom with all desire. Ecclesiasticus (from the Latin Vulgate): 3:31
Pilate turned his back, and as he walked away, he rhetorically quipped, “What is the truth?” (It is clear by Pilates reply that he, like most of the elite in Rome, and followed the philosophy Pyrrho, the Skeptic, which denied that truth can be known. They believed only fools spoke of the truth.)
Pilate Tells the Rogues to Take Yahshuah to Antipas
Pilate went out to the priests and senators and said, “He is innocent of any crimes. We Romans do not kill a man unless he commits a serious crime. It is not a crime to say you are a king of another Cosmos come to deliver the truth.” The rogues began to accuse Yahshuah more fiercely saying, “This man has been preaching rebellion throughout the nation. He began in the Galil region and now he is here”. When Pilate detected that Yahshuah was from the Galil region, he said. “King Antipas is in town for the feast. If this man is a Galilean, take him to Antipas.”
Yahshuah Before Antipas
So the angry rogues took Yahshuah to Antipas. Antipas was fearful and delighted. He feared Yahshuah might be John, the Baptizer, come back from the dead, and he was delighted for he had heard much about Yahshuah and wanted to meet him, hoping to be entertained by a miracle. Antipas asked him many questions, but Yahshuah stood in complete silence. The rogues stood shouting out the charges against him, but he said not a word. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. Isa 53:7
It is written in the Scroll of Jeremiah:
But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter.
And I did not know it was against me
that they devised schemes, saying,
‘Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,
let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!’ From the Dead Sea Scrolls Jerm 11:19
Antipas and his guards began to mock and ridicule him and treat him despicably. They brought some bright white cloth interwoven with silver specks that dazzled in the sun. They fashioned a king’s costume for him then sent him back to Pilate. From that day forward, Antipas and Pilate, who had been enemies, became fast friends.