I pray not for the world - I am not yet come to that part of my intercession: see John 17:20. I am now wholly employed for my disciples, that they may be properly qualified to preach my salvation to the ends of the earth. Jesus here imitates the high priest, the second part of whose prayer, on the day of expiation, was for the priests, the sons of Aaron: see on John 17:1; (note). These words may also be understood as applying to the rebellious Jews. God's wrath was about to descend upon them, and Christ prays that his own followers might be kept from the evil, John 17:15. But he does not thus pray for the world, the rebellious Jews, because the cup of their iniquity was full, and their judgment slumbered not.
I pray for them - In view of their dangers and trials, he sought the protection and blessing of God on them. His prayer was always answered.
Not for the world - The term world here, as elsewhere, refers to wicked, rebellious, vicious men. The meaning of this expression here seems to be this: Jesus is praying for his disciples. As a reason why God should bless them, he says that they were not of the world; that they had been taken out of the world; that they belonged unto God. The petition was not offered for wicked, perverse, rebellious men, but for those who were the friends of God and were disposed to receive his favors. This passage, then, settles nothing about the question whether Christ prayed for sinners. He then prayed for his disciples, who were not those who hated him and disregarded his favors. He afterward extended the prayer for all who should become Christians, John 17:20. When on the cross he prayed for his crucifiers and murderers, Luke 23:34.
For they are thine - This is urged as a reason why God should protect and guide them. His honor was concerned in keeping them; and we may always “fill our mouths with” such “arguments” when we come before God, and plead that his honor will be advanced by keeping us from evil, and granting us all needful grace.
I am glorified in them - I am honored by their preaching and lives. The sense of this passage is, “Those who are my disciples are thine. That which promotes my honor will also promote thine. I pray, therefore, that they may have needful grace to honor my gospel, and to proclaim it among men.”
4-10. Glorified in Those Who Believe—In the intercessory prayer of Jesus with His Father, He claimed that He had fulfilled the conditions which made it obligatory upon the Father to fulfill His part of the contract made in heaven, with regard to fallen man. He prayed: “I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. [That is, He had wrought out a righteous character on earth as an example for men to follow.] And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.” In this prayer He further goes on to state what is comprehended by the work which He has accomplished, and which has given Him all those who believe on His name. He values this recompense so highly that He forgets the anguish it has cost Him to redeem fallen man. He declares Himself glorified in those who believe on Him. The church, in His name, is to carry to glorious perfection the work which He has commenced; and when that church shall be finally ransomed in the Paradise of God, He will look upon the travail of His soul and be satisfied. Through all eternity the ransomed host will be His chief glory (The Spirit of Prophecy 3:260, 261). 5BC 1146.1
5. Let the Veil Be Removed—[John 17:1-5 quoted.] Christ is not praying for the manifestation of the glory of human nature; for that human nature never had an existence in His pre-existence. He is praying to His Father in regard to a glory possessed in His oneness with God. His prayer is that of a mediator; the favor He entreats in the manifestation of that divine glory which was possessed by Him when He was one with God. Let the veil be removed, He says, and let My glory shine forth—the glory which I had with Thee before the world was (The Signs of the Times, May 10, 1899). 5BC 1146.2
5, 24 (Hebrews 1:6; 1 John 2:1; see EGW on John 20:16, 17; Hebrews 3:1-3). Public Reinstatement of Christ in Heaven—The prayer of Christ was answered. He was glorified with the glory which He had with His Father before the world was. But amid this glory, Christ does not lose sight of His toiling, struggling ones upon earth. He has a request to make of His Father. He waves back the heavenly host until He is in the direct presence of Jehovah, and then He presents His petition in behalf of His chosen ones. 5BC 1146.3Read in context »
We need to be refined, cleansed from all earthliness, till we reflect the image of our Saviour, and become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Then we shall delight to do the will of God, and Christ can own us before the Father and before the holy angels as those who abide in Him, and He will not be ashamed to call us brethren. 3SM 355.2Read in context »
This is represented as the pardoning blood, inseparably connected with the resurrection and life of our Redeemer, illustrated by the ever-flowing stream that proceeds from the throne of God, the water of the river of life (Letter 87, 1894). 7BC 948.1
1 (Romans 8:34; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 2:18; 7:25; 9:24; see EGW on John 17:5, 24). Fenced From Satan's Attacks—“If any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the righteous.” How careful is the Lord Jesus to give no occasion for a soul to despair. How He fences about the soul from Satan's fierce attacks. If through manifold temptations we are surprised or deceived into sin, He does not turn from us and leave us to perish. No, no, that is not our Saviour. Christ prayed for us. He was tempted in all points like as we are; and having been tempted, He knows how to succor those who are tempted. 7BC 948.2Read in context »