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John 17:24-26

24. Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me may also be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me; for thou lovedst me before the creation of the world. 25. Righteous Father, the world hath not known thee, but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. 26. And I have declared to them thy name, and will declare it; that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

 

24. Father, I will. To will is put for to desire; 129129     “Quand il dit, Je veux, c’est comme s’il disoit, Je desire;” — “When he says, I will, it is as if’ he had said, I desire.” for it expresses not a command but a prayer. But it may be understood in two ways; either that he wills that the disciples may enjoy his eternal presence, or, that God may, at length, receive them into the heavenly kingdom, to which he goes before them.

That they may behold my glory. Some explain beholding his glory to mean, partaking of the glory which Christ has. Others explain it to be, to know by the experience of faith what Christ is, and how great is his majesty. For my own part, after carefully weighing the whole matter, I think that Christ speaks of the perfect happiness of believers, as if he had said, that his desire will not be satisfied till they have been received into heaven. In the same manner I explain the Beholding of the glory. At that time they saw the glory of Christ, just as a man shut up in the dark obtains, through small chinks, a feeble and glimmering light. Christ now wishes that they shall make such progress as to enjoy the full brightness of heaven. In short, he asks that the Father will conduct them, by uninterrupted progress, to the full vision of his glory.

For thou lovedst me. This also agrees better with the person of the Mediator than with Christ’s Divinity alone. It would be harsh to say that the Father loved his Wisdom; and though we were to admit it, the connection of the passage leads us to a different view. Christ, unquestionably, spoke as the Head of the Church, when he formerly prayed that the apostles might be united with him, and might behold the glory of his reign. He now says that the love of the Father is the cause of it; and, therefore, it follows that he was beloved, in so far as he was appointed to be the Redeemer of the world. With such a love did the Father love him before the creation of the world, that he might be the person in whom the Father would love his elect.

25. Righteous Father. He compares his disciples to the world, so as to describe more fully the approbation and favour which they had received from the Father; for it is proper that they who alone know God, whom the whole world rejects, should be distinguished above others, and most properly does Christ plead with peculiar warmth for those whom the unbelief of the world did not prevent from acknowledging God. By calling him Righteous Father, Christ defies the world and its malice; as if he had said, “However proudly the world may despise or reject God, still it takes nothing from him, and cannot hinder the honor of his righteousness from remaining unimpaired.” By these words he declares that the faith of the godly ought to be founded on God, in such a manner that, though the whole world should oppose, it would never fail; just as, in the present day, we must charge the Pope with injustice, in order that we may vindicate for God the praise which is due to him.

But I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. Christ does not merely say that God was known by the disciples, but mentions two steps; first, that he has known the Father; and, secondly, that the disciples have known that he was sent by the Father But as he adds immediately afterwards, that he has declared to them the name of the Father, he praises them, as I have said, for the knowledge of God, which separates them from the rest of the world. Yet we must attend to the order of faith, as it is here described. The Son came out of the bosom of the Father, and, properly speaking, he alone knows the Father; and, therefore, all who desire to approach God must betake themselves to Christ meeting them, and nmst devote themselves to him; and, after having been known by the disciples, he will, at length, raise them to God the Father.

26. And I have declared to them thy name, and will declare it. Christ discharged the office of Teacher, but, in order to make known the Father, he employed the secret revelation of the Spirit, and not the sound of his voice alone. He means, therefore, that he taught the apostles efficaciously. Besides, their faith being at that time very weak, he promises greater progress for the future, and thus prepares them to expect more abundant grace of the Holy Spirit. Though he speaks of the apostles, we ought to draw from this a general exhortation, to study to make constant progress, and not to think that we have run so well that we have not still a long journey before us, so long as we are surrounded by the flesh.

That the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them; that is, that thou mayest love them in me, or, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be extended to them; for, strictly speaking, the love with which God loves us is no other than that with which he loved his Son from the beginning, so as to render us also acceptable to him, and capablc of being loved in Christ. And, indeed, as was said a little before, so far as relates to us, apart from Christ, we are hated by God, and he only begins to love us, when we are united to the body of his beloved Son. It is an invaluable privilege of faith, that we know that Christ was loved by the Father on our account, that we might be made partakers of the same love, and might enjoy it for ever.

And I in them. This clause deserves our attention, for it teaches us that the only way in which we are included in that love which he mentions is, that Christ dwells in us; for, as the Father cannot look upon his Son without having likewise before his eyes the whole body of Christ, so, if we wish to be beheld in him, we must be actually his members.


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