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17. Jesus Prays

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: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 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. 7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. 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. 9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. 10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 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. 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. 13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 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. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 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. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 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. 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. 25 O 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 unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

17. Sanctify them by thy truth. This sanctification includes the kingdom of God and his righteousness; that is, when God renews us by his Spirit, and confirms in us the grace of renewal, and continues it to the end. He asks, first, therefore, that the Father would sanctify the disciples, or, in other words, that he would consecrate them entirely to himself, and defend them as his sacred inheritance. Next, he points out the means of sanctification, and not without reason; for there are fanatics who indulge in much useless prattle about sanctification, but who neglect the truth of God, by which he consecrates us to himself. Again, as there are others who chatter quite as foolishly about the truth and yet disregard the word, Christ expressly says that the truth, by which God sanctifies his sons, is not to be found any where else than in the word.

Thy word is truth; for the word here denotes the doctrine of the Gospel, which the apostles had already heard from the mouth of their Master, and which they were afterwards to preach to others. In this sense Paul says that

the Church has been cleansed with the washing of water by the word of life,
(Ephesians 5:26

True, it is God alone who sanctifies; but as

the Gospel is the power of God to salvation to every one that believeth,
(Romans 1:16,)

whoever departs from the Gospel as the means must become more and more filthy and polluted.

The truth is here taken, by way of eminence, for the light of heavenly wisdom, in which God manifests himself to us, that he may conform us to his image. The outward preaching of the word, it is true, does not of itself accomplish this, For that preaching is wickedly profaned by the reprobate; but let us remember that Christ speaks of the elect whom the Holy Spirit efficaciously regenerates by the word. Now, as the apostles were not altogether destitute of this grace, we ought to infer from Christ’s words, that sanctification is not instantly completed in us on the first day, but that we make progress in it through the whole course of our life, till at length God, having taken away from us the garment of the flesh, fills us with his righteousness.

18. As thou hast sent me into the world. He confirms his prayer by another argument; namely, because the calling of Christ and of the apostles is the same calling, and is common to both. “I now,” he says, “appoint them to an office, which I have hitherto held by thy command; and, therefore, it is necessary that they should be furnished with the power of thy Spirit, that they may be able to sustain so weighty a charge.”

19. And for their sales I sanctify myself. By these words he explains more clearly from what source that sanctification flows, which is completed in us by the doctrine of the Gospel. It is, because he consecrated himself to the Father, that his holiness might come to us; for as the blessing on the first-fruits is spread over the whole harvest, so the Spirit of God cleanses us by the holiness of Christ and makes us partakers of it. Nor is this done by imputation only, for in that respect he is said to have been made to us righteousness; but he is likewise said to have been made to us sanctification, (1 Corinthians 1:30,) because he has, so to speak, presented us to his Father in his own person, that we may be renewed to true holiness by his Spirit. Besides, though this sanctification belongs to the whole life of Christ, yet the highest illustration of it was given in the sacrifice of his death; for then he showed himself to be the true High Priest, by consecrating the temple, the altar, all the vessels, and the people, by the power of his Spirit.

20. And I ask not for these only. He now gives a wider range to his prayer, which hitherto had included the apostles alone; for he extends it to all the disciples of the Gospel, so long as there shall be any of them to the end of the world. This is assuredly a remarkable ground of confidence; for if we believe in Christ through the doctrine of the Gospel, we ought to entertain no doubt that we are already gathered with the apostles into his faithful protection, so that not one of us shall perish. This prayer of Christ is a safe harbour, and whoever retreats into it is safe from all danger of shipwreck; for it is as if Christ had solemnly sworn that he will devote his care and diligence to our salvation.

He began with his apostles, that their salvation, which we know to be certain, might make us more certain of our own salvation; and, therefore, whenever Satan attacks us, let us learn to meet him with this shield, that it is not to no purpose that the Son of God united us with the apostles, so that the salvation of all was bound up, as it were, in the same bundle. There is nothing, therefore that ought more powerfully to excite us to embrace the Gospel; for as it is an inestimable blessing that we are presented to God by the hand of Christ to be preserved from destruction, so we ought justly to love it, and to care for it above all things else. In this respect the madness of the world is monstrous. All desire salvation; Christ instructs us in a way of obtaining it, from which if any one turn aside, there remains for him no good hope; and yet scarcely one person in a hundred deigns to receive what was so graciously offered.

For those who shall believe on me, We must attend to this form of expression. Christ prays for all who shall believe in him. By these words he reminds us of what we have sometimes said already, that our faith ought to be directed to him. The clause which immediately follows, through their word, expresses admirably the power and nature of faith, and at the same time is a familiar confirmation to us who know that our faith is founded on the Gospel taught by the apostles. Let the world then condemn us a thousand times, this alone ought to satisfy us, that Christ acknowledges us to be his heritage and pleads with the Father for us.

But woe to the Papists, whose faith is so far removed from this rule, that they are not ashamed to vomit out this horrid blasphemy, that there is nothing in Scripture but what is ambiguous, and may be turned in a variety of ways. The tradition of the Church is therefore their only authoritative guide to what they shall believe. But let us remember that the Son of God, who alone is competent to judge, does not approve of any other faith 123123     “Qui seul en peut et doit prononcer, n’approve point d’autre foy.” than that which is drawn from the doctrine of the apostles, and sure information of that doctrine will be found no where else than in their writings.

We must also observe that form of expression, to believe through the word, which means that faith springs from hearing, because the outward preaching of men is the instrument by which God draws us to faith. It follows, that God is, strictly speaking, the Author of faith, and men are the ministers by whom we believe, as Paul teaches (1 Corinthians 3:5.)

21. That all may be one. He again lays down the end of our happiness as consisting in unity, and justly; for the ruin of the human race is, that, having been alienated from God, it is also broken and scattered in itself. The restoration of it, therefore, on the contrary, consists in its being properly united in one body, as Paul declares the perfection of the Church to consist in

believers being joined together in one spirit and says that apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors, were given, that they might edify and restore the body of Christ, till it came to the unity of faith; and therefore he exhorts believers to grow into Christ, who is the Head, from whom the whole body joined together, and connected by every bond of supply, according to the operation in the measure of every part, maketh increase of it to edifcation,
(Ephesians 4:3, 11-16.)

Wherefore, whenever Christ speaks about unity, let us remember how basely and shockingly, when separated from him, the world is scattered; and, next, let us learn that the commencement of a blessed life is, that we be all governed, and that we all live, by the Spirit of Christ alone.

Again, it ought to be understood, that, in every instance in which Christ declares, in this chapter, that he is one with the Father, he does not speak simply of his Divine essence, but that he is called one as regards his mediatorial office, and in so far as he is our Head. Many of the fathers, no doubt, interpreted these words as meaning, absolutely, that Christ is one with the Father, because he is the eternal God. But their dispute with the Arians led them to seize on detached passages, and to torture them out of their natural meaning, in order to employ them against their antagonists. 124124     “Et les ont tirees hors dc leur simple sens pour s’en servir contre les adversaires.” Now, Christ’s design was widely different from that of raising our minds to a mere speculation about his hidden Divinity; for he reasons from the end, by showing that we ought to be one, otherwise the unity which he has with the Father would be fruitless and unavailing. To comprehend aright what was intended by saying, that Christ and the Father are one, we must take care not to deprive Christ of his office as Mediator, but must rather view him as he is the Head of the Church, and unite him with his members. Thus will the chain of thought be preserved, that, in order to prevent the unity of the Son with the Father from being fruitless and unavailing, the power of that unity must be diffused through the whole body of believers. Hence, too, we infer that we are one with the Son of God; 125125     “Avec le Fils de Dieu.” not because he conveys his substance to us, but because, by the power of his Spirit, he imparts to us his life and all the blessings which he has received from the Father.

That the world may believe. Some explain the word world to mean the elect, who, at that time, were still dispersed; but since the word world, throughout the whole of this chapter, denotes the reprobate, I am more inclined to adopt a different opinion. It happens that, immediately afterwards, he draws a distinction between all his people and the same world which he now mentions.

The verb, to believe, has been inaccurately used by the Evangelist for the verb, to know; that is, when unbelievers, convinced by their own experience, perceive the heavenly and Divine glory of Christ. The consequence is, that, believing, they do not believe, because this conviction does not penetrate into the inward feeling of the heart. And it is a just vengeance of God, that the splendor of Divine glory dazzles the eyes of the reprobate because they do not deserve to have a clear and pure view of it. He afterwards uses the verb, to know in the same sense.

22. And I have given to them the glory which thou gavest to me. Let it be observed here, that, while a pattern of perfect happiness was exhibited in Christ, he had nothing that belonged peculiarly to himself, but rather was rich, in order to enrich those who believed in him. Our happiness lies in having the image of God restored and formed anew in us, which was defaced by sin. Christ is not only the lively image of God, in so far as he is the eternal Word of God. but even on his human nature, which he has in common with us, the likeness of the glory of the Father has been engraved, so as to form his members to the resemblance of it. Paul also teaches us this, that

we all, with unveiled face, by beholding THE GLORY OF GOD, are changed into the same image,
(2 Corinthians 3:18.)

Hence it follows, that no one ought to be reckoned among the disciples of Christ, unless we perceive the glory of God impressed on him, as with a seal, by the likeness of Christ. To the same purpose are the words which immediately follow:

23. I in them, and thou in me; for he intends to teach that in him dwells all fullness of blessings, and that what was concealed in God is now manifested in him, that he may impart it to his people, as the water, flowing from the fountain by various channels, waters the fields on all sides.

And hast loved them, 126126     “Et que tu les aimes;”“And that thou lovest them.” He means that it is a very striking exhibition, and a very excellent pledge, of the love of God towards believers, which the world is compelled to feel, whether it will or not, when the Holy Spirit dwelling in them sends forth the rays of righteousness and holiness. There are innumerable other ways, indeed, in which God daily testifies his fatherly love towards us, but the mark of adoption is justly preferred to them all. He likewise adds, and hast loved them, As Thou Hast Loved Me. By these words he intended to point out the cause and origin of the love; for the particle as, means because, and the words, AS thou hast loved me, mean, Because thou hast loved me; for to Christ alone belongs the title of Well-beloved, (Matthew 3:17; 17:5.) Besides, that love which the heavenly Father bears towards the Head is extended to all the members, so that he loves none but in Christ.

Yet this gives rise to some appearance of contradiction; for Christ, as we have seen elsewhere 127127     Vol. 1: p. 122. declares that the unspeakable love of God towards the world was the reason why he gave his only-begotten Son, (John 3:16.) If the cause must go before the effect, we infer that God the Father loved men apart from Christ; that is, before he was appointed to be the Redeemer. I reply, in that, and similar passages, love denotes the mercy with which God was moved towards unworthy persons, and even towards his enemies, before he reconciled them to himselfi It is, indeed, a wonderful goodness of God, and inconceivable by the human mind, that, exercising benevolence towards men whom he could not but hate, he removed the cause of the hatred, that there might be no obstruction to his love. And, indeed, Paul informs us that there are two ways in which we are loved in Christ; first, because the Father

chose us in him before the creation of the world,
(Ephesians 1:4;)

and, secondly, because in Christ God hath reconciled us to himself, and hath showed that he is gracious to us, (Romans 5:10.) Thus we are at the same time the enemies and the friends of God, until, atonement having been made for our sins, we are restored to favor with God. But when we are justified by faith, it is then, properly, that we begin to be loved by God, as children by a father. That love by which Christ was appointed to be the person, in whom we should be fiercly chosen before we were born, and while we were still ruined in Adam, is hidden in the breast of God, and far exceeds the capacity of the human mind. True, no man will ever feel that God is gracious to him, unless he perceives that God is pacified in Christ. But as all relish for the love of God vanishes when Christ is taken away, so we may safely conclude that, since by faith we are ingrafted into his body, there is no danger of our falling from the love of God; for this foundation cannot be overturned, that we are loved, because the Father hath loved his Son. 128128     “Pource que le Pere a aime son Fils.”


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