I am no more in the world - I am just going to leave the world, and therefore they shall stand in need of peculiar assistance and support. They have need of all the influence of my intercession, that they may be preserved in thy truth.
Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me - Instead of οὑς δεδωκας μοι, Those whom thou hast given me, ABCEHLMS, Mt. BHV, and nearly one hundred others, read ᾡ, which refers to the τῳ ονοματι σου, thy name, immediately preceding. The whole passage should be read thus: Holy Father, keep them through thy own name Which thou hast given me, that they may be one, etc. By the name, here, it is evident that the doctrine or knowledge of the true God is intended; as if our Lord had said, Keep them in that doctrine Which thou hast given me, that they may be one, etc. This reading is supported by the most ample evidence and indisputable authority. Griesbach has admitted it into the text, and Professor White in his CRISEΩ S says of it, Lectio indubie genuina, "It is, without doubt, the genuine reading."
That they may be One - That they, and all that believe through their word, (the doctrine which I have given them), may be one body, united by one Spirit to me their living head. The union which Christ recommends here, and prays for, is so complete and glorious as to be fitly represented by that union which subsists between the Father and the Son.
I am no more in the world - I have finished my work among men, and am about to leave the world. See John 17:4.
These are in the world - They will be among wicked men and malignant foes. They will be subject to trials and persecutions. They will need the same protection which I could give them if I were with them.
Keep - Preserve, defend, sustain them in trials, and save them from apostasy.
Through thine own name - Our translators seem to have understood this expression as meaning “keep by thy power,” but this probably is not its meaning. It is literally “keep in thy name.” And if the term name be taken to denote God himself and his perfections (see the note at John 17:6), it means “keep in the knowledge of thyself. Preserve them in obedience to thee and to thy cause. Suffer them not to fall away from thee and to become apostates.”
That they may be one - That they may be united.
As we are - This refers not to a union of nature, but of feeling, plan, purpose. Any other union between Christians is impossible; but a union of affection is what the Saviour sought, and this he desired might be so strong as to be an illustration of the unchanging love between the Father and the Son. See John 17:21-23.
The Holy Spirit, which proceeds from the only-begotten Son of God, binds the human agent, body, soul, and spirit, to the perfect, divine-human nature of Christ. This union is represented by the union of the vine and the branches. Finite man is united to the manhood of Christ. Through faith human nature is assimilated with Christ's nature. We are made one with God in Christ. 1SM 251.1
Incarnation—The Nature of ChristRead in context »
How true are the words of the apostle, “Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.” One person in an institution or in a church who gives loose rein to unkind thoughts by speaking evil of the brethren, may stir up the worst passions of the human heart, and spread abroad a leaven of evil that will work in all who come into association with him. In this way the enemy of all righteousness gains the victory, and the result of his work is to make of no effect the Saviour's prayer when He pleaded that His disciples might be one as He is one with the Father (The Review and Herald, March 12, 1895). 7BC 937.1
17 (see EGW on John 13:34). The Right Kind of Sensitiveness—Those who criticize and condemn one another are breaking God's commandments, and are an offense to Him. They neither love God nor their fellow beings. Brethren and sisters, let us clear away the rubbish of criticism and suspicion and complaint, and do not wear your nerves on the outside. Some are so sensitive that they cannot be reasoned with. Be very sensitive in regard to what it means to keep the law of God, and in regard to whether you are keeping or breaking the law. It is this that God wants us to be sensitive about (The General Conference Bulletin, April 1, 1903). 7BC 937.2Read in context »
To the early church had been entrusted a constantly enlarging work—that of establishing centers of light and blessing wherever there were honest souls willing to give themselves to the service of Christ. The proclamation of the gospel was to be world-wide in its extent, and the messengers of the cross could not hope to fulfill their important mission unless they should remain united in the bonds of Christian unity, and thus reveal to the world that they were one with Christ in God. Had not their divine Leader prayed to the Father, “Keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are”? And had He not declared of His disciples, “The world hath hated them, because they are not of the world”? Had He not pleaded with the Father that they might be “made perfect in one,” “that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me”? John 17:11, 14, 23, 21. Their spiritual life and power was dependent on a close connection with the One by whom they had been commissioned to preach the gospel. AA 90.1
Only as they were united with Christ could the disciples hope to have the accompanying power of the Holy Spirit and the co-operation of angels of heaven. With the help of these divine agencies they would present before the world a united front and would be victorious in the conflict they were compelled to wage unceasingly against the powers of darkness. As they should continue to labor unitedly, heavenly messengers would go before them, opening the way; hearts would be prepared for the reception of truth, and many would be won to Christ. So long as they remained united, the church would go forth “fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.” Song of Solomon 6:10. Nothing could withstand her onward progress. The church would advance from victory to victory, gloriously fulfilling her divine mission of proclaiming the gospel to the world. AA 90.2
The organization of the church at Jerusalem was to serve as a model for the organization of churches in every other place where messengers of truth should win converts to the gospel. Those to whom was given the responsibility of the general oversight of the church were not to lord it over God's heritage, but, as wise shepherds, were to “feed the flock of God, ... being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2, 3); and the deacons were to be “men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom.” These men were to take their position unitedly on the side of right and to maintain it with firmness and decision. Thus they would have a uniting influence upon the entire flock. AA 91.1Read in context »