The Gospel of John ~ Chapter 17, Part 1 – Verses 1 – 5

The Gospel of John ~ Chapter 17, Part 1

 Verses 1 – 5

 The Great High Priestly Prayer, Part 1

 

Chapter 17 Outline:

Vs. 1-5, Christ Prays for Himself.

Vs. 6-19, Christ Prays for His Disciples.

Vs. 20-26, Christ Prays for His Church.

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Introduction:

John 17 records our Lord’s “Great High Priestly Prayer” where He makes intercession for His disciples and believers throughout the Church Age to be protected, sanctified and unified and for His Father to be glorified.

It contains the longest recorded prayer, which our Lord offered during His public ministry on earth and has been justly designated, “His Great High Priestly Prayer.”

It was offered in the presence of His apostles, after the institution and celebration of the Lord’s Supper and immediately following the “Upper Room and Gethsemane Discourses” recorded in John 14-16. He offered this prayer only moments before He was arrested in the Garden, John 18:1-11.

This Great High Priestly Prayer is truly the “Lord’s Prayer” as opposed to the prayer template that our Lord taught His disciples on the Sermon on the Mount in Mat 6:5ff.

As the high priest of Israel, and only the high priest could go behind the veil to enter into the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle, this prayer is like the veil being drawn aside to revealing the Holy of Holies and we are admitted with our great High Priest into the “holiest of all” to witness this prayer. This prayer is our approach to the secret place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

The Great High Priestly prayer of our Lord was said “out loud” in front of His disciples, in order that they and all believers throughout history and angels might get a glimpse of the wonderful fellowship that exists between the Father and the Son, which fellowship the Church Age believer can enjoy too.

There are three main parts to this prayer:

  • Christ Prays for Himself, 1-5. When Jesus prayed for Himself He had in view not His own person but the plan of God the Father, and specifically Phase One, (the salvation of mankind).
  • Christ Prays for His Disciples, 6-19. Jesus prays for the Apostles because they would be the instruments in beginning the Church Age.
  • Christ Prays for His Church, 20-26. The Church will complete the work of God’s Plan for this Dispensation.

Also note that Verses 6-26 is an intercession for those who will form the body of Christ.

There are four privileges of the Children of God in John 17:

  • We share His life, 1-5.
  • We know His Name, the character and nature of His Person, 6-12.
  • We have His Word, 13-19.
  • We share His glory, 20-26.

Christ as the High Priest Prayed for:

  • His own Glorification, 1-5.
  • The believer’s Protection and Security, “give them safe passage in the world”, 6-12.
  • The believer’s Joy, 13.
  • The believer’s Deliverance from the Evil One, 15.
  • The believer’s Sanctification, “set them apart by means of Bible Doctrine in their souls”, 17.
  • The Unity of believers, “strengthen them through fellowship”, 20-24.
  • The Glorification of believers, “deliver them home safely to eternity”, 22-24.
  • The believer to have God’s AGAPE Love in them, 26.

Our Lord is applying much of the template for prayer He gave us in Mat 6:9-12. Compare:

  • Mat 6:9, “Our Father who is in heaven,” with John 17:1.
  • “Hallowed be Your name,” with John 17:1-6.
  • Mat 6:10, “Your kingdom come,” with John 17:7-8.
  • “Your will be done,” with John 17:9-10.
  • “On earth as it is in heaven,” with John 17:10-12.
  • Mat 6:11, “Give us this day our daily bread,” with John 17:13-14.
  • Mat 6:12, “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” There was no need for confession of sin as Jesus Christ was perpetually sinless.
  • Mat 6:13, “And do not lead us into temptation but deliver us from evil,” with John 17:14-20.
  • Our Lord concludes the “Great High Priestly Prayer” with intercessory petitions for the Church and final glorification of the Father, John 17:20-26. Compare with the added text of Mat 6:13, “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

Many Gifts are given in John 17 including:

Vs. 2, God the Father gave all believers to Christ – God gives them Eternal life.

Vs. 4, God the Father gave Christ work to accomplish.

Vs. 6, Christ revealed God the Father to the believers given to Christ. Those that believe, kept the Word of God, are given to Christ.

Vs. 7, Everything given to Christ is from God the Father.

Vs. 8, The Word was given by the Father to the Son who gave it to man.

Vs. 9-11, Christ asks the Father to keep the ones He gave to Him in union with Him.

Vs. 12, Christ preserves those the Father gave to Him by the name of the Father.

Vs. 14, Christ gives us the Father’s Word.

Vs. 22, The Father gave Christ His glory who in turn gives it to believers; unity.

Vs. 24, The Father gave Christ glory; Christ desires that believers will see it in Heaven.

Another Outline of Chapter 17, by the Annotated Bible includes:

  • The Finished Work. John 17:1-5.
  • The Father’s Name and the Father’s Gift. John 17:6-10.
  • Not of the World but Kept in it. John 17:11-16.
  • Sanctification of Himself for His Own. John 17:17-21.
  • The Glorification. John 17:22-26.

In this Prayer our Lord’s words were heard by the eleven disciples as He spoke to the Father, and His disciples listened to all His blessed words. What moments these must have been! His words to the Father told them once more how he loved them, how He cared for them, what He had done and what He would do for them. Whenever we read this great Lord’s prayer we can still hear Him pray for His beloved people. What a glimpse it gives of His loving heart! The prayer is His high-priestly prayer. He is in anticipation on the other side of the cross. He knows the work is finished, atonement is made; He is back with the Father and has received the glory. This anticipation is seen in His words, “I have finished the work thou gavest me to do”; “and now I am no more in the world”;—”the glory thou hast given me I have given to them.” It is impossible to give an exposition of this great chapter. Blessed depths are here which we shall fathom when we are with Him. All He taught concerning Himself and eternal life, what believers are and have in Him, He mentions in His prayer. All the great redemption truths more fully revealed in the New Testament Epistles may be traced in this high-priestly prayer of our Lord. We mention seven of these great truths as made known by Him in addressing the Father.

This is not the first or last time the Lord Jesus prayed for His disciples, He prayed for them:

  • Before He chose them, Luke 6:12.
  • During His ministry, John 6:15.
  • At the end of His ministry, Luke 22:32; John 17:6-19.
  • And later in heaven, Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25.

The Lord Jesus Christ’s intercessory prayer in John 17:6-26 reveals His love and concern for His disciples and every believer throughout the Church Age.

We also note that His High Priestly Prayer is in anticipation on the other side of the Cross. He knows the work is finished, atonement is made; He is back at the right hand of the Father and has received the glory.

In Verse 4, when He says, “having accomplished the work which You have given to Me in order that I do it”, He is viewing it as done. Likewise in Verse 11, “I am no longer in the world” and Verse 22, “The glory which you have given Me I have given to them;” He is seeing it all as accomplished.

In much of what we are seeing in this portion of His prayer regarding the disciples, He is using past tense language for things that will be accomplished in the future. He is viewing it from eternity past’s perspective; as these future things are all part of God’s Divine Decree.

That is why this prayer includes:

Salvation. He has power to give eternal life to as many as the Father has given Him, vs. 2-4. He glorified the Father in His life and He finished the work He came to do on the Cross. There alone is redemption and salvation.

Manifestation. Vs 6, He revealed the First Person of the Trinity to the world and gave Him a name, “Father.” Such a name and relationship of the believer to God was not known in the Old Testament. The Son of God had to come from heaven’s glory and declare the Father. After He gave His life and rose from the dead, He spoke of  “My Father and your Father”, having now revealed Him to us, cf. Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15; Gal 4:6.

Mark 14:36, “And He was saying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will.”

Rom 8:15, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.”

Gal 4:6, “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.”

Representation. He is our Priest and Advocate. He appears in the presence of God for us. Vs. 9, “I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours.” Like the High Priest, He carries only the names of His people upon His shoulders and upon His heart. He prays now for His church, His body, for every member, Rom 8:34; 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 7:25; 1 John 2:1.

1 John 2:1, “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.”

1 Tim 2:5, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at the proper time.”

Rom 8:34, “Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”

Heb 7:25, “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”

What comfort it should be to all of us to know Christ prays for us individually! His love and His power are for us.

Identification. We are one with Him, and all His Saints are one. The church is His body, an organism and not an organization. He did not pray for an unity in organization, but for a spiritual unity, which exists. Vs. 21, “That they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us.”

This is not an unanswered petition. The Spirit who has come unites believers to Him and baptizes them into one body, 1 Cor 12:13.

1 Cor 12:13, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit.”

Therefore in Vs. 23 Jesus prays for that yet future body, “I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.” This looks to the future consummation, when the Saints will appear with Christ in glory; then the whole world will know.

Preservation. He prayed for the keeping of His own. He commits them into His Father’s hands. The believers’ keeping for eternal life and glory rests not in their own hands but in His hands, Vs. 11, 15.

Sanctification. Verses 17-19. He is our Sanctification. In Him we are sanctified. We are sanctified experientially by the Truth (Bible Doctrine), walking in it in obedience. Believers are constituted Saints in Christ and are called to walk in separation. The separating power is the Word and the Spirit.

Positional Sanctification is noted in 1 Cor 6:11, “Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.” (See also Heb 10:10, 14.)

Experiential Sanctification is noted in 2 Tim 2:21ff, “Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.”

Glorification. Verses 22, 24. This is His unanswered prayer. Someday it will be answered and all His saints will be with Him and share His glory.

In the light of Jesus’ prayers for us, what should our relationship be to Him versus our relationship to the world, and what is our responsibility as we live in it?

Eph 5:8, “For you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light.”

1 John 2:15-17, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. The world is passing away, and also its lusts; but the one who does the will of God lives forever.”

We now begin the expository study of John 17.

In Verse 1 we have, “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, that the Son may glorify You,” (This verse ends with a comma.)

The Greek reads:  “ Ταῦτα  ἐλάλησεν  Ἰησοῦς,  καὶ  ἐπάρας  τοὺς  ὀφθαλμοὺς  αὐτοῦ  εἰς  τὸν  οὐρανὸν  εἶπεν  Πάτερ,  ἐλήλυθεν  ἡ  ὥρα·  δόξασόν  σου  τὸν,  Υἱόν,  ἵνα  ὁ  Υἱὸς  δοξάσῃ  σέ, ”

Transliterated it reads:  “TAUTA ELALESEN IESOUS, KAI EPARAS TOUS OPHTHALMOUS

AUTOU EIS TON OURANON EIPEN, PATER, ELELUTHEN HE HORA; DOXASON SOU TON HUION, HINA HO HUIOS DOXASE SE,”

Jesus spoke these things,” is TAUTA ELALESEN IESOUS.

TAUTA is the Demonstrative, Pronominal, Adjective HOUTOS in the Accusative, Neuter, Plural that means, “these things”, referring to the doctrines Jesus just taught in the Gethsemane Discourse of John 15-16.

ELALESEN is the Verb LALEO in the Aorist, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular. It means, “to speak, talk, say, preach, proclaim, tell, etc.” It refers here to the teaching of Bible Doctrine in the Gethsemane Discourse. Therefore, this is not a free standing prayer but one that culminates what He just taught to the disciples as indicated by the linking of words and themes from the previous discourses.
The Aorist Tense is the point of time when He gave it.

The Active Voice: Jesus did the communicating.

The Indicative Mood is the reality of the communication of doctrine to the disciples.

There is much evidence that this type of concluding or farewell prayer was common in the ancient world, both in Jewish and Hellenistic literature, Gen 49; Duet 32-33.

IESOUS is a Noun in the Nominative, Masculine, Singular. It is the name of the incarnate person of Christ, “Jesus”. It is the Greek form of Hebrew for “Joshua or Jehoshua”, which also means “Savior.” It is from the Hebrew YEHOSHUA meaning, “the Lord (YEHOVAH) is salvation”, or the tetragrammaton YHVH. So it is used as the name “Jesus or Joshua”, the name of the Messiah.

Not used in this verse but to round things out, “Christ” is the Greek word CHRISTOS and is from the Greek root word CHRIO that means, “to anoint.” So CHRISTOS comes to mean, “the Anointed One, Messiah.” Therefore the name “Jesus Christ” means, “the anointed Savior.”

Next we have, “and lifting up His eyes to heaven.”

KAI is the Coordinating Conjunction, “and.”

EPARAS is the Participle Verb EPAIRO in the Aorist, Active, Nominative, Masculine, Singular that means, “raise, lift up; hoist (as in sails).” Linked with AUTO EIS TON OURAN below it means “to open the eyes.”

Notice that He does not kneel, He lifts up His eyes. He does not bow His head, He looks up. This means His eyes are open and His head is upward, not downward. He is praying to the Father, so He is praying from His humanity. His upward look reflects an accepted posture for prayer, compare with John 11:41, “Then Jesus  raised His eyes,  and said, “Father, I thank You that You have heard Me.”

TOUS OPHTHALMOUS is the Article HO, “the” with the Noun OPHTHALMOS in the Accusative, Masculine, Plural that means “eyes.”

AUTOU is the Pronoun AUTOS in the Genitive, Masculine, Third Person, Singular that means, “of Him,” letting us know that Jesus opened and raise His own eyes.

EIS is the Preposition in the Accusative case that means, “to”.

TON OURANON is the Article HO, “the” plus the Noun OURANOS in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular that means, “heaven.” This is the Third Heaven, where God the Father’s throne resides.

Next we have “He said” which is EIPEN, the Greek verb EIPON, the Aorist form of LEGO in the Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular. It means “to say or speak” and refers here to a prayer of our Lord to the Father. Remember LALEO was for the communication of Bible doctrine. Now He is speaking, addressing Himself to God the Father throughout this entire chapter. Therefore, this entire chapter is a prayer.

He begins His prayer with the word, “Father,” PATER in the Vocative of Address, Masculine Singular.  Therefore, this prayer of our Lord is addressed to the first person of the Trinity, God the Father, which is our first protocol for prayer.

It must be remembered that Jesus Christ is God and has all of the essence of the Godhead. He is coequal and coeternal with the Father. He is also humanity. As a member of the human race, He is a Priest, in fact the High Priest.

Jesus is speaking from His humanity as He addresses the throne of grace and says, “Father.” In His deity He is coequal but He is speaking from His humanity at this particular point. This is going to be a precedent because throughout the Church Age, all prayer is addressed to the Father, in the name of the Son, in the power of the Spirit.

Leon Morris observes, “He began His prayer with the simple address, ‘Father.’ We have become used to this as a normal Christian way of beginning a prayer, but it was not usual in that day. The address was that used by a little child in speaking to his parent, but when God was addressed, it was usual to add some qualifier; for example, a praying person might say, ‘Our Father in heaven.’ God was so great and so high that He must not be addressed in the language appropriate for familiar use within the family. But Jesus constantly used this way of speaking to his heavenly Father, and Christians picked up the habit from Him. Notice the way it runs through this prayer (vv. 5, 11, 21, 24, 25). That God is Father was especially important at this point in Jesus’ life. (Reflections on the Gospel of John volume 4, p. 567).”

Therefore, the term “Father” is a kind of “conversational” address, the kind of conversation that takes place between a son and his “daddy.” Our Lord’s intimacy with the Father is not only reflected in His prayer to the Father here, but Jesus also indicates that it should greatly influence our prayers to the Father as well.

Remember, just a few moments earlier, Jesus said the following to His disciples, John 16:25-28, “These things I have spoken to you in figurative language; an hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figurative language, but will tell you plainly of the Father.  In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; for the Father Himself loves you, because you have loved Me and have believed that I came forth from the Father. I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.”

Intimacy with God as our Father is a privilege, which should inspire humility, gratitude and reverence in each of us.

Then we have “the hour has come”, ELELUTHEN HE HORA.

ELELUTHEN is the Verb ERCHOMAI in the Perfect, Active, Indicative, Third Person, Singular that means “to come.”

The Perfect Tense means that this hour, the Cross is going to occur in a point of time but the results will go on forever. The results affect the Angelic Conflict; the Cross is the victory of the Angelic Conflict, Col 2:14; Heb 2:15. Also, it has an effect on humanity as the basis of salvation in the human race.

The Active Voice: The hour itself is there.

The Indicative Mood is the reality of the Cross. God’s plan in eternity past is based upon Jesus Christ going to the Cross and being judged for the sins of the world. “The hour has come” with the results that its accomplishment will go on forever.

HE HORA is the Article HO, “the” with the Noun HORA in the Nominative, Feminine, Singular. This is the subject of what has come, the Cross of Jesus Christ which was planned from eternity past; now it has arrived.

The first thing that Jesus says to the Father in this prayer is, “the hour has come.” The hour refers to the Father’s plan, a specific moment. It refers, of course, to the Cross, John 12:23-24; 13:1; Mark 14:41.

John 12:23, “And Jesus answered them, saying, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit”.”

Next Jesus presents His first petition, “glorify Your Son,” DOXASON SOU TON HUION.

DOXASON is the Verb DOXAZO in the Aorist, Active, Imperative, Second Person, Singular that means “to render or esteem glorious.” It is a request to be “clothed in splendor.” Remember that Jesus did not utilize His Deity when in humanity and only once during His incarnation, “the transfiguration”, (John 1:14; 2 Peter 1:16-18), did His humanity experience the glory of His Deity. So Christ prays that the Father will give Him again the glory He laid aside when He came to earth to die, Phil 2:1-11.

The Aorist Tense means a point of time in summary fashion for all that is done and accomplished at the Cross. In going to the Cross to complete the Plan of the Father, Jesus is requesting something beyond the Cross as well. So the Aorist Tense gathers up all the points of time involved in the glorification of Christ and pulls them into one entirety: a. The first point of time is the Cross, b. The second point of time is the Resurrection, c. The third point of time is the Ascension, and d. The fourth point of time is the Session.

The Active Voice indicates that God the Father, to whom the prayer is addressed, must do the glorifying.

The Imperative Mood of Request: The hour itself has come and therefore Jesus’ request is here, and He requests glorification as a result of the Cross.

In the Aorist Tense it is an entreaty for the action as whole without focusing on duration. Jesus had already used this word DOXAZO for his death in John 13:31-32, here it carries us into the very depths of Christ’s own consciousness. It is not merely a request for strength to meet the Cross, but for the power to glorify the Father as a result of His Death and Resurrection, Ascension and Session, “that the Son may glorify You.”

SOU is the Pronoun SU, “you” in the Genitive, Second Person, Singular, that means “of you” or better, “Your”, referring to God the Father.

TON HUION is the Article HO, “the” plus the noun HUIOS in the Direct Object, Accusative, Masculine, Singular that means, “son’, referring to Jesus Christ; Jesus Christ as the object of this petition to the Father for glorification. This is the title for Christ in hypostatic union. Christ had to become man to fulfil the Father’s Plan. The Son must be obedient to the Father and that is why He is called the Son because of His obedience to the plan. The Father planned the Cross; the Son will execute the Cross.

Finally we have, “that the Son may glorify You”, HINA HO HUIOS DOXASE SE.

“That”, HINA, introduces a purpose clause coupled with the Subjunctive Mood of DOXAZO below. The purpose, “Your Son (the Lord Jesus in obedience to the Father’s plan, the cross) may glorify You (the Father).”

“The Son”, HO HUIOS is the Article “the”, plus the Noun for “Son” in the Subject Nominative, Masculine, Singular referring to Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

“May glorify”, DOXASE is the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Singular of DOXAZO this time.

The Aorist Tense at this point refers to obedience. How is the Son going to glorify the Father? By being obedient to the Cross, Phil. 2:8, “…obedient to the point of death, even death on a Cross.” So the Aorist Tense is the point of time when the Son was obedient to the Father’s Plan, and that obedience was the Cross. As a result of His obedience, the Father is glorified.

The Active Voice: Jesus now produces the action.

The Subjunctive Mood with HINA above identifies the purpose, “to glorify the Father”. It also recognizes the volition or the free will of the humanity of Christ.

SE is the Pronoun SU, “you” in the Direct Object, Accusative, Second Person, Singular. God the Father is the object or recipient of Christ’s obedience which results in glorification.

Our Translation of John 17:1, “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You.”

Principles:

  • Once again we have the protocol for our prayers: Pray to the Father only.
  • This prayer is a summary of the entire Gospel of John in that its principle theme is Jesus’ obedience to the Father’s plan, resulting is glorification of the Father through His death and exaltation.
  • Praying to God as “Father” stressed Jesus’ relationship to the Father as being unique. Just as your relationship to the Father is unique and should be reflected as such in your prayers. When you pray to “the Father”, it emphasizes your personal and unique relationship to Him.
  • Jesus Christ prays this prayer not only as the High Priest but also as the victim. The believer is a Royal Priest, 1 Peter 2:5-9 and must understand his position in all circumstances, especially in prayers.
  • Jesus prays that His work of the Father’s Plan, (a shameful and painful death), might be accomplished and completed, which always results in the glorification of God the Father.
  • This is not only a petition, but also a proclamation and a revelation into the mind of Christ and the Father’s Plan for salvation. Our prayers too reflect our mental attitude towards the Plan and Will of God.
  • Given that the “hour” has come, Jesus does not use this as an excuse to fall into a state of fatalism or self-pity, (as the disciples did). Instead He prays for His own glorification that results in the glorification of the Father. He prays that the Father’s will and plan be accomplished.
  • When you focus on the sovereignty of God, especially in times of crisis, it functions as an incentive to pray, and prayer brings about a Relaxed Mental Attitude, Inner Peace, Joy, and God’s Perfect Happiness (+H), because you have adjusted to the justice and righteousness of God.
  • Jesus did not seek the praise of men as a result of His work but only the glorification of God the Father.
  • God the Father is clothed in His own splendor as a result of the Lord’s (and our), obedience to His will and plan.

We now turn to John 17:2, “Even as You gave Him authority over all flesh, that to all whom You have given Him, He may give eternal life.”

The Greek reads:  “ καθὼς  ἔδωκας αὐτῷ  ἐξουσίαν  πάσης  σαρκός, ἵνα  πᾶν  ὃ  δέδωκας  αὐτῷ  δώσῃ  αὐτοῖς  ζωὴν  αἰώνιον. ”

Transliterated it reads:  “KATHOS EDOKAS AUTO EXOUSIAN PASES SARKOS, HINA PAN HO DEDOKAS AUTO DOSE AUTOIS ZOEN AIONION.”

Here we see our Lord petitioning the Father for the authority to give eternal life to those that believe. Jesus is once again applying a principle of prayer, “Your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him”, Mat 6:8. Yet He prays these prayers anyway, why?

If Mat 6:8 is true, and it is, then why should we ask God for anything? Well, because the point of prayer is not to get answers from God, but to have perfect and complete oneness with Him, just as our Lord, in Hypostatic Union, had perfect and complete oneness with the Father. This Great High Priestly Prayer demonstrates that oneness.

If we pray only because we want answers, we will become irritated and angry with God, especially if the answer is no. The fact is that we receive an answer every time we pray, 1 John 5:15, but it does not always come in the way we expect. In those instances our spiritual irritation sometimes rears its ugly head and shows us what is truly going on within our souls, which is our refusal to be one with God and identify ourselves with our Lord as He prayed.

We are not here to prove that God answers prayer, but to be living trophies of His grace.

Have you reached such a level of intimacy with God that the only thing that can account for your prayer life is that it has become one and the same as the prayer life of Jesus Christ? If so, then “in that day” you will be so closely identified with Jesus that there will be no distinction. Compare with John 17:3.

Now in our passage of John 17:2, we continue to see that principle and we have some important points of Theology and Christology regarding the authority of the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union. We begin with:

Even as” is the Subordinating Conjunction KATHOS that can mean, “as, according as, just as, inasmuch as, because, in so far as, to the degree that, etc.” We will say, “according as” which sets up a comparison between the sovereignty given to our Lord by the Father over all of mankind, with our Lord’s sovereignty to give eternal life to those whom the Father has given to Him, (i.e., believers).

As a Subordinating Conjunction, it links the glorification petition in Verse 1 with Jesus’ sovereignty to give eternal life to those who believe. Therefore, by our Lord giving eternal life to believers, He is able to glorify the Father.

You gave” is EDOKAS which is the Verb DIDOMI in the Aorist, Active, Indicative, Second Person, Singular that means, “to give, grant, allow, etc.”

The Aorist Tense is for simple past action, (gave), viewing the entirety of the action of God the Father giving the Lord Jesus Christ authority over all mankind.

The Active Voice with the Second Person, Singular:  God the Father, (i.e., “You”), produces the action of giving this authority to Jesus in eternity past.

The Indicative Mood is for the fact of reality that the Father gave Jesus Christ this authority.

Principle:

  • As God, Jesus shares equally and eternally ultimate sovereignty with the Father and Holy Spirit.
  • As man Jesus receives authority as a result of completing the work of the Father at the Cross.
  • Just as the Cross is viewed as completed from the viewpoint of eternity past, so too is the authority of the humanity of Jesus Christ.

Him”, AUTO, is the Pronoun AUTOS in the Dative, Masculine, Third Person, Singular. Here it is referencing the person of Verse 1, “the Son of God.” In the Dative Case we say, “to Him”, where Jesus is referring to Himself in the third person as the recipient of this authority. It is almost as if Jesus is speaking from His humanity about His deity.

Authority” is EXOUSIAN, the noun EXOUSIA in the Accusative, Feminine, Singular that means “power to act”, that is, “authority.” The word “authority here means a commission, a right. In other words, God the Father gave Incarnate Christ the power to act on behalf of all mankind in the form of paying the penalty for their sins on the Cross. That is the authority the Son of God as our High Priest has been given; to pay for our sins. Because of that authority “over all flesh”, He will have authority to save those who believe, and He will have authority to judge those who reject Him.

How does Jesus Christ have authority over all flesh (the human race)? He has authority over all flesh to win the victory of the Angelic Conflict. The conflict is won at the Cross and this is where Jesus Christ gets His authority for victory.

EXOUSIA appears frequently in the texts of all types of ancient Greek literature. It is a derivative of EXESTIN which means, “it is possible” or “it is lawful.” The actual meaning of EXOUSIA includes, “an authority to rule, one bearing such authority, the sphere controlled by this authority, and the power to do something.” It is closely related to DUNAMIS, but differs by its intent of the delegation of authority rather than the capability of the inherent power of DUNAMIS.

This “authority” of Christ’s is one of four types of “power” He and God have. They include:

Power – DUNAMIS – Having inherent strength which is the authority to rule. Jesus Christ inherently as God is Sovereign and Omnipotent, and has the ability to rule.

Might – ISCHUS – Having strength in reserve which is the ability to rule and judge. Jesus Christ has everything necessary and all the ability to rule and judge.

Dominion – KRATOS – Means force, strength, might, “manifested power.” He has all authority to rule which will be real, seen, heard, felt, and perfect.

Authority – EXOUSIA – Power or authority to do a thing. Freedom to action, right to act, power over, license in a thing, an office, magistracy, or place or body of authority. He has the authority of the throne of ruler ship and the office to officiate over the sacrifice.

L.S. Chafer notes: “THE EXERCISE OF UNIVERSAL AUTHORITY. An inscrutable mystery is present in the fact that all authority is committed by the Father to the Son. In the light of the complete evidence that the Son is equal in His Person with the Father, it is difficult to understand how authority could be committed to the Son which was not properly His in His own right. Whatever may be the solution of that problem, it is certain that all power” is given unto Christ (Matt. 28:18). And that power, while it was used in the beginning for the creation of all things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, including thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers, is exercised now to the end that all things may hold together (Col. 1:16-17). The very seating of Christ far above all intelligences (Eph. 1:20-21) implies that He is over them in complete authority. Thus, in a similar way, it is written that the Father hath put all things under the feet of the Son, excepting of course Himself (1 Cor. 15:27). This power will be exercised in the coming kingdom age to the end that all rule, authority, power, and every enemy–even death–shall be subdued (1 Cor. 15:24-28); but that same authority is possessed by the Son inherently and then is exercised in those ways in which it is required. It is, therefore, essential that when drawing a picture of the exalted Christ and in contemplating His Person and present activity He should be seen as the One who, under the Father, is above and over all things in the universe in the sense that they owe their very existence to Him, are held together by Him, and are governed by Him.” (Systematic Theology, Vol. 5, Chapter 10.)

EXOUSIA is used for our Lord in scripture in the following ways:

During Jesus Christ’s Incarnation:

  • Jesus had authority in teaching the Word of God. Unlike the scribes and Pharisees, Jesus taught as one who had authority, Mat 7:28-29; cf. John 7:46, “Never has a man spoken the way this man speaks.” Jesus spoke as one who had more authority than Moses and the prophets, Mat 5:21-48.

Mat 7:29, “For He was teaching them as one having authority, and not as their scribes.”

Mark 1:22; Luke 4:32, “And they were amazed at His teaching, for His message was with authority.”

Luke 4:36, “And amazement came upon them all, and they began talking with one another saying, “What is this message? For with authority and power He commands the unclean spirits and they come out.”

  • Jesus had authority to heal sickness, Mat 8:8-10, and to forgive sins, Mat 9:2f.; the Jews of that day believed such authority was reserved for God alone, Mat 9:3, 8; Mark 2:7.

Mat 9:6; Mark 2:10; Luke 5:23, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins have been forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? 24But, so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.”

  • His authority enabled Him to control His own life, John 10:18, to equip and send out His disciples, Mat 28:18, to give eternal life, John 17:2, and to execute judgment, John 5:27.

John 5:26-27, “For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 27and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man.”

John 10:18, “No one has taken it away from Me, (speaking of His own life), but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”

  • Authority has been delegated to Jesus by the Father, John 17:2, though no less complete, Mat 28:18, or authoritative, John 5:27, than the Father Himself.

Post Resurrection:

Mat 28:18, “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying,  All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Compare with 1 Cor 15:24-28.

Post Ascension:

Col 2:9-10, “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form, 10and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority.

Rev 12:10, “Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, “Now the salvation, and the power, (DUNAMIS), and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night.”

Rev 16:9, “Men were scorched with fierce heat; and they blasphemed the name of God who has the power, (EXOUSIA), over these plagues, and they did not repent so as to give Him glory.”

Ultimately, “all rule, authority, power, and dominion”, Eph 1:21; cf. Col 1:16, are subject to Christ, who is our “head”, Col 2:10; cf. 1 Peter 3:22.  Because of this, believers are assured of the final victory in all struggles against the principalities, powers, and rulers of darkness of this age, Eph 6:12.

Next in our verse we see who this authority is over. It is “over all flesh,” PASES SARKOS.

PASES is the Adjective PAS in the Genitive, Feminine, Singular. When it is without a definite article, it means, “each, every (plural all); every kind of, etc.”

SARKOS is the Noun SARX which is also in the Genitive, Feminine, Singular. It means, “flesh”, but is many times used figuratively for “man, mankind, earthly life, the Old Sin Nature, etc.” Here it stands for “mankind”, the entire human race.

A.T. Robertson notes, “This is a stupendous claim impossible for a mere man to make. Made already in Mat 11:27; Luke 10:22 and repeated in Mat 28:18 after His resurrection.” (Word Pictures.)

Mat 11:27, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father…”

Mat 28:18, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

Therefore, Jesus’ authority given to Him by the Father is over the entire human race, all of mankind.

Our next word is, “that”, which is HINA in the Greek, which is linked with the Second DIDOMI below in the Subjunctive Mood. It introduces a purpose clause.

To all” is PAN which is the Adjective PAS again, but this time in the Accusative, Neuter, Singular, used as a Pronoun. It is not referring back to “all flesh”, but introduces a new group, “all You have given Him,” which is believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Whom” is HO which is the Relative, Pronominal, Adjective HOS in the Accusative, Neuter, Singular that can mean, “who, which, that.” Coupled with PAS above, it identifies the human race. So we say “all whom.”

You have given” is DEDOKAS, the Verb DIDOMI in the Perfect, Active, Indicative, Second Person, Singular that means, “to give.”

The Extensive Perfect Tense is for complete past action where the results continue into the future. Here the emphasis is on the past action. In eternity past God the Father gave Jesus Christ authority over all of mankind as part of His overall plan of salvation. Now we see that the Father also has given Jesus Christ a specific group of “all flesh” called believers. Therefore we say, “have given, (in the past with the result that they are His).

The Active Voice with the 2nd Person Singular refers to God the Father as the one who gave Christ this specific group to whom He would give eternal life. So we can add “You.”

The Indicative Mood is for the reality of Christ having received in eternity past by God the Father this group called believers, So we say, “You have given”, referring to the Father giving believers to His Son Jesus Christ as a gift.

Him” is AUTO the Pronoun AUTOS in the Dative, Masculine, Third Person, Singular that means, “self, of oneself; he, she or it, etc.”  Jesus is referring to Himself once again in the Third Person as the “Son of God,” the recipient of this great gift from the Father. In the Dative we say, “to Him”. Here we add “to” for direction. In the NASB it is misplaced by being in from of “all whom” above.

So this phrase should read, “that all whom (believers only) you have given to Him (the Son of God).

In the first part of this passage Jesus was given “authority”. But here He is given “a group” identified generically as “all.” Therefore, He was given “authority” over all flesh, and was also given a particular group of that “all flesh.” The first given was in the Aorist Tense while the second is in the Perfect Tense. Therefore, it is a general look back regarding the authority He was given over all flesh, viewing the entirety of the action, while the look back regarding being given “all believers” is specific, noting the completed past action of the gift of all believers given to Him by God the Father.

Then we have, “He may give”, which is DOSE AUTOIS. This is the 3rd gift of this passage.

DOSE is the Verb DIDOMI once again, but this time in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Singular.

The Aorist Tense views the entirety of the action of Christ giving the believer something, i.e., eternal life. It occurs at the point of time in which a person believes in Christ.

The Active Voice in the Third Person Singular:  Jesus Christ is the One who performs the action of giving the believer eternal life.

The Subjunctive Mood, linked with HINA above, establishes the purpose clause and this is the purpose, “to give eternal life.” Being the purpose of Jesus’ authority we say, “may give.” This means that every believer receives a gift from the Lord Jesus Christ, that being eternal life.

Jesus has been given the gift of authority over the human race. Believers have been given the gift of Eternal life from eternity past.

AUTOIS is the Pronoun AUTOS once again, this time in the Dative, Masculine, Third Person, Plural. In the Third Person Plural, it is referring to believers and means “to them”, where Jesus is referring to that specific group of “all flesh” called out as believers or members of the Family of God, who Jesus is able to give eternal life to. So we will say, “He may give to them.”

Eternal life” then is ZOEN AIONION.

ZOEN is the Noun ZOE in the Accusative, Feminine, Singular that means, “life.”

AIONION is the Adjective AIONIOS in the Accusative, Feminine, Singular that means, “age long, eternal, unending, everlasting, for all time, etc.”

Our translation of John 17:2, “Just as You gave Him authority over all mankind, so that to all whom You have given to Him, He may give to them eternal life.”

Note the “gives” in Vs. 2:

  • The Father has given the Son authority over all mankind;
  • The Son gives eternal life to;
  • Those the Father has given the Son.

One of the precious truths in John 17 is that each believer is God’s love gift to the Son, John 6:37-40.

John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

This is a mystery we cannot explain, but we thank God for it! “The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable”, Rom. 11:29. This means that our salvation is secure, for the Father will not take us from the Son!

Principles:

  • The Father gave to Jesus Christ for His bride all believers of the Church Age.
  • If a believer in the Church Age is going to be the bride of Christ, he has to live with Christ as long as Christ lives; forever. So Jesus gives them the life they need to live with Him forever, John 10:28.

John 10:28, “And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”

  • Application: Do you as a single believer pray for your future spouse?
  • While on earth the Church is the body of Christ, Eph 2:16; 4:4-5, 12; 5:30-32; Col 1:24; 2:19, etc.
  • After the Rapture of the Church, believers of the Church Age become the bride of Christ, 2 Cor 11:2; Eph 5:25-27; Rev 19:6-8.
  • While Christ is glorified in heaven, the bride is being prepared on earth. The preparation of the bride is called the body.
  • The Father gives Jesus the bride. Jesus has the authority to give the bride eternal life.

Click Here to See Doctrine of Eternal Life: 

Now in Verse 3 we have a continuation of the prayer regarding Eternal Life for the believer with added definition.

John 17:3, “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.”

The Greek reads:  “ αὕτη  δέ  ἐστιν  ἡ  αἰώνιος  ζωὴ,  ἵνα  γινώσκωσιν  σὲ  τὸν  μόνον  ἀληθινὸν  Θεὸν  καὶ  ὃν  ἀπέστειλας  Ἰησοῦν  Χριστόν. ”

Transliterated it reads:  “HAUTE DE ESTIN HE AIONIOS ZOE HINA GINOSKOSIN SE TON MONON ALETHINON THEON KAI HON APESTEILAS IESOUN CHRISTON.”

We begin with “This is Eternal Life”. “HAUTE DE ESTIN HE AIONIOS ZOE.”

HAUTE is the Pronominal Adjective HOUTOS which is the near Demonstrative meaning, “this” in the Nominative, Feminine, Singular. It is used to establish a principle or maxim.

DE is a Coordinating Conjunction meaning, “but, to the contrary, rather, and, now, then, so, etc.”

The conjunction comes second in the Greek, but in English we place it first in the sentence. So we say, “now this.”

ESTIN is the Present, Active, Indicative, Verb EIMI, “to be”, in the Third Person, Singular referring to the subject of Eternal Life. It is typically translated, “is.”

The Customary Present Tense says, “keeps on being””, because Eternal Life in the present is in view; not just the future aspect of life in heaven. So it speaks of our eternal life today.

HE is the Article HO “the” in the Nominative, Feminine, Singular. It will not be translated.

AIONIOS is an Adjective in the Nominative, Feminine, Singular that means “eternal.”

ZOE is a Noun in the Nominative, Feminine, Singular that means “life.”

So we have “now this is (keeps on being) Eternal Life.”

Eternal life is an attribute of all three members of the Trinity:

  • God the Father, John 5:26; 6:57; 1 Thes 1:9.
  • God the Son, John 1:4; 5:26; 6:35; Phil 2:16; 1 John 1:1-2.
  • Holy Spirit, John 6:63; Rom 8:2.

Eternal life is a part of the essence of all three members of the Trinity, and is given by Christ to the believer positionally. But coming up next we have something more than just an essence or position. We are given the experiential aspect of what our eternal life is today and will be into the future.

So our next phrase is “that they may know You, the only true God.” “HINA GINOSKOSIN SE TON MONON ALETHINON THEON.”

HINA is a Content Conjunction meaning, “that” linked with the Subjunctive of GINOSKO below to introduce the following appositional clause. So we translate it, “namely, that.” Apposition means linking two noun phrases that are used in the same way and refer to the same person or thing. Here we have “This is eternal life” with “knowing the only true God.” Since an essence of God is eternal life, we have two things that are the same, eternal life and God. So Jesus is telling us that Eternal Life is to know God Himself.

GINOSKOSIN is the Verb GINOSKO in the Present, Active, Subjunctive, Third Person, Plural. It means, “come to know, recognize or perceive.” It has the sense of to know experientially. Linked with HINA it is a substantival clause in apposition.

The Customary Present Tense is for ongoing action on the part of believer, “keep on knowing.”

The Active Voice in the Third Person Plural tells us that the believer, “they”, must come to know God.

The Subjunctive Mood linked with HINA above makes this an appositional clause that also tells us of the potential. The potential that we “know God”, which is dependent on our volition. We will translate this, “they might keep on knowing.”

Principles:

  • Eternal life is a personal relationship with God gained by experiential knowledge of Him.
  • It is not the cause of eternal life, nor the prelude to eternal life; this experiential knowing is the very eternal life itself.
  • The only way you can know the Father is by studying His Word, by learning Bible doctrine.
  • The knowledge of “the only true God” is through Jesus Christ, John 14:6-9.
  • If you study the Word of God, you will know the Father.
  • If you do not study the Word of God, you will not know the Father.
  • If you do not know the Father, you will not know Eternal Life experientially here in time.
  • Those who know God possess experientially eternal life.

Albert Barnes comments, “The word “know” here, as in other places, expresses more than a mere speculative acquaintance with the character and perfections of God. “It includes all the impressions on the mind and life which a just view of God and of the Savior is fitted to produce.” It includes, of course, love, reverence, obedience, honor, gratitude, supreme affection. “To know God as He is” is to know and regard Him as a lawgiver, a sovereign, a parent, a friend. It is to yield the whole soul to him, and strive to obey His law.” (Barnes’ Notes on the N.T.)

SE is the Pronoun SU, “you” in the Accusative, Second Person, Singular. We know from Verse 1 that Jesus is praying to the Father, so this pronoun refers to God the Father which is further explained in the next phrase, “the only true God.”

TON is the article HO, “the”, Accusative, Masculine, Singular.

MONON is the Adjective MONOS in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular that means, “alone or only.”

ALETHINON is the Adjective ALETHINOS, in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular that means, “true, real, genuine, dependable.”

THEON is the Noun THEOS in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular that means, “God”, here referring to God the Father.

God the Father is called the only true or genuine God because He is the author of the plan, and we must come to know the designer. The phrase, “the only true God” is used in opposition to all false gods. This statement is in opposition to idols, not to Jesus Himself, who in 1 John 5:20 is called “the true God and eternal life.”

Our translation of this part is, “namely, that they might keep on knowing You, the only true God.”

The last phrase is: “and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” “KAI HON APESTEILAS IESOUN CHRISTON”

KAI is the Coordinating Conjunction that means “and, even or also.” Here it links our

HON is the Relative Pronominal Adjective HOS in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular that can mean, “who, which, what, or that.” It is translated, “whom” referring to God the Father as the one who sent Jesus Christ.

APESTEILAS is the Verb APOSTELLO in the Aorist, Active, Indicative, Second Person, Singular that means, “to send, send out or away.” This is the synonymous Greek word to PEMPO that is used for sending. APOSTELLO is a compound word from APO that means, “from or away from”, and STELLO that means, “to arrange, prepare, gather up, hence to restrain, keep away.” Therefore it comes to mean, “to send out/away.”

Thayer defines it as, to order (one) to go to a place appointed, to send away, to order one to depart, send off, etc.”

BDAG defines it as, “to dispatch someone for the achievement of some objective, send away/out.”

Therefore we can see from the perspective of the one sent, that they have been “commissioned.”

The Constative Aorist Tense is for simple past action, looking at the entirety of the action of God the Father sending Jesus Christ to earth, His incarnation.

The Active Voice in the 2nd Person Singular:  God the Father is being addressed by the Son. The Father is the One who sent Jesus. It was the Father’s plan.

The Indicative Mood is for the reality of the Father being the sender. We translate it simply, “sent.”

In the prayer of Chapter 17, Jesus made six references to being sent by the Father, (vs. 3, 8, 18, 21, 23, 25). In each reference the word “sent” refers to “being commissioned.” Therefore, the Son’s requests are the result of His commission to make the Father known and to bring eternal life. That knowledge is revealed by the Son of God alone. It is the One “sent” of God who brings the knowledge of God. The One “sent” is no mere creature, because only deity can reveal deity. Neither mere man nor any other created thing can fully relate who God is.

IESOUN is the Noun IESOUS in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular that means, “Jesus.” Jesus is the One the Father sent. IESOUS is from the Hebrew YEHOSUA and means, “Savior or the Lord is salvation.” This represents the humanity of Jesus Christ in Hypostatic Union, as the God / Man who was sent to the earth by the Father to complete His plan of salvation.

CHRISTON is the Noun CHRISTOS in the Accusative, Masculine, Singular that means, “The Anointed One, Messiah, Christ.” Compare Mat 1:1, “The record of the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah (CHRISTOS), the son of David, the son of Abraham.”

Notice: Jesus is before Christ, emphasising His humanity. Christ is added to show His commission.

Our translation for this part is, “and Jesus Christ whom You (God the Father) sent.”

We must come to know His Son, Jesus Christ. He is the revealer of the Father according to John 1:18; 6:46; 1 Tim 6:16; 1 John 4:12.

Albert Barnes states: “To know Jesus Christ is to have a practical impression of Him as He is—that is, to suffer (learn about diligently) His character and work to make their due impression on the heart and life. Simply to have heard that there is a Savior is not to know it. To have been taught in childhood and trained up in the belief of it is not to know it. To know Him is to have a just, practical view of Him in all His perfections as God and man; as a mediator; as a prophet, a priest, and a king. It is to feel our need of such a Savior, to see that we are sinners, and to yield the whole soul to Him, knowing that He is a Savior suited to our needs, and that in His hands our souls are safe. Compare Eph 3:19; Titus 1:16; Phil 3:10; 1 John 5:20. Many profess to acknowledge one God, without any atoning sacrifice and Mediator; the true Christian approaches Him through the great Mediator, equal with the Father, who for us became incarnate, and died that He might reconcile us to God.”

Our complete translation of John 17:3 is: “Now this is (keeps on being) Eternal Life. Namely, that they might keep on knowing You, the only true God and Jesus Christ (the Messiah) whom You (God the Father) sent.”

Principles:

  • Jesus defined eternal life as: To experientially, progressively “know…God, and His Son, Jesus Christ.” In other words, eternal life is the ongoing knowledge of the Father and the Son.
  • We must know the Father who is the author of the plan.
  • We must know the Son who is the revealer of the Father and the executor of the plan.
  • Nothing is said here about the Holy Spirit because the Holy Spirit in the Church Age is responsible for teaching doctrine to the believer from the point of salvation on. It is His job to glorify the Son, John 16:14. That is why, in passages like this, the Holy Spirit stays in the background, 2 Peter 1:2-3.

2 Peter 1:2-3, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you by means of a full knowledge, (EPIGNOSIS- full or complete experiential knowledge), of God even Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and spirituality, through EPIGNOSIS, (a FULL experiential knowledge) of the One having called us by His own glory and excellence.”

  • The Lord Jesus Christ who is the eternal, incarnate Word of God came into the world in order that He might give eternal life to men and He did this so that men could enjoy and experience fellowship with God eternally. John 1:1-4; 1 John 1:1-3; 5:11-13, 20

1 John 5:20, “And we know (OIDA) that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding (DIANOIA – a mind, ability to think) so that we may know (GINOSKO) Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

1 Tim 6:12, “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

  • Eternal life is not simply endless existence. Everyone will exist somewhere forever ( Mat 25:46), but the question is, in what condition or in what relationship will they spend eternity?

Next in John 17:4-5 our Lord prays that the Father glorify His Son as the Son glorifies the Father.

John 17:4-5, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do. 5Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.”

The Greek reads:  “ ἐγώ  σε  ἐδόξασα ἐπὶ  τῆς  γῆς,  τὸ  ἔργον  τελειώσας  ὃ  δέδωκάς  μοι  ἵνα  ποιήσω.  5καὶ  νῦν  δόξασόν  με  σύ,  Πάτερ,  παρὰ  σεαυτῷ  τῇ  δόξῃ ᾗ  εἶχον  πρὸ  τοῦ  τὸν  κόσμον  εἶναι  παρὰ  σοί.. ”

Transliterated in English letters it reads:  “EGO SE EDOXASA EPI TES GES TO ERGON TELEIOSAS HO DEDOKAS MOI HINA POIESO:  5KAI NUN DOXASON ME SU, PATER, PARA SEAUTO TE DOXE HE EIXON PRO TOU TON KOSMON EINAI PARA SOI.”

Our Lord begins this portion noting the completion of the Father’s plan for His incarnation, “I glorified You on the earth.”

“Glorified” is the verb EDOXASA in the Aorist, Active, Indicative, First Person, Singular, of DOXAZO. DOXAZO means, “to render or esteem glorious, to praise, honor, glorify, or exalt.”

The Consummative Aorist Tense is used to stress the cessation of an act or action. It indicates here the completion of Jesus’ ministry in His First Advent that glorified God the Father whose plan it was. The Aorist verb draws a circle around His incarnation and blankets it in its totality.

The Active Voice in the 1st Person Singular  coupled with the preceding words EGO, “I” and SE, “you” above, tells us that Jesus is the One who has brought glory to the Father by fulfilling the Father’s plan for His incarnation. “I” is emphatic to stress the personal fulfillment of His commission as the Christ. Jesus “glorified” the Father by revealing Him in His life and ministry.

The Indicative Mood is declarative for the reality that Jesus has glorified the Father which also anticipates as a fact that Jesus will go to the Cross and die for our sins the following day. So we will say, “I glorified You.”

Key words in John’s Gospel are “glory” and “glorify.” The NT usages reflect an OT concept expressed in the Hebrew word, KABOD. That word expresses God’s active presence with His people, disclosing who He is and enabling us to praise Him for His essential nature and character. God’s glory is rooted in who He is by nature, and to glorify God is to display His nature in acts which take place in space and time.

On the earth” is EPI TES GES, in the Genitive of Place, indicating the place of Jesus’ glorification of the Father, His incarnation due to His virgin birth, etc., the fulfilment of Heb 10:5-10.

This is further evident in the following phrase, “having accomplished the work which You have given Me to do”

“Having accomplished” is the Verb TELEIOO from TELOS, “to end” in the Aorist, Active, Participle, Nominative, Masculine, First Person, Singular that means, “to bring to an end, to complete, perfect, make perfect, make complete, etc.” So it means to complete a project or complete a plan.

The Consummative Aorist Tense is used once again to view the overall life that Jesus lived in complete fulfillment of the Father’s will and plan while indicating its completion. As He faces death, He has no sense of failure as some modern critics say, but rather, He exudes fullness of attainment as in John 19:30, “TETELESTAI.” Christ does not die as a disappointed man with regret and failure, but as the successful messenger, (apostle –   APESTEILAS, John 17:3) of the Father to men. The plan of the First Advent calls for the Cross and Jesus Christ will complete it in a point of time – the Cross.

The action of the Aorist Participle precedes the action of the main verb in Verse 3, “that they might know.” They will know the only true God after, and by means of, the Cross.

The work” is the Noun ERGON in the Accusative, Neuter, Singular that means, “work, deed, action, task, occupation, undertaking, etc.” Here Jesus accumulates the entire 33 ½ years of His incarnation and ministry into one. Just as our lives in totality are one work, one mission, one plan that the Father has planned for us to do. When we follow that one plan for our lives, we too will glorify the Father. Jesus’ “work” was making God known to the world. His miracles, teachings and life exposed God to mankind so that they would stop and ponder Him. Those who bathe in the light of His revelation are robed in His righteousness and receive His gift of eternal life.

You have given Me” is the Verb DIDOMI in the Perfect, Active, Indicative, Second Person, Singular, that means, “given, granted, allowed, permitted, placed, put, appointed, etc.”, and the Pronoun EGO, in the Dative case “to me”, where Jesus is referring to Himself. This is regarded as a permanent task that the Father gave Christ to complete.

The Intensive Perfect Tense speaks to the Father’s Plan from eternity past that was written and set billions of years ago. The Plan was completed in the past and has existing results in the present time of Jesus speaking. It emphasizes the results or present state produced by the past action. Linked with “having accomplished” above, tells us that the Father gave the plan to Jesus and He has fulfilled it.

The Active Voice:  God the Father is the author of the plan and gave it to Christ to be fulfilled. We add the word “You”, to refer to the Father.

The Indicative Mood is for the fact of this plan being written by the Father and given to Jesus Christ to fulfill, the reality of the Divine decrees.

“To do”, is HINA POIEO and should be translated, “in order that I do it, (bring about, accomplish, perform, etc.).”

POIEO is a Verb in the Aorist, Active, Subjunctive, First Person, Singular.

The Constative Aorist Tense views the action as a whole, describing the incarnation is summary fashion without focusing on the beginning or end. It identifies the Plan of the Father and means, “mission accomplished.”

The Active Voice:  Jesus Christ is the One who is to accomplish the Father’s plan. No one else could accomplish it. The Father had a Plan specific for Jesus, just as He has a plan specific for you. No one else can or should fulfill the Plan He has for you. And you cannot fulfill, nor should you try to fulfill, the plan the Father has for someone else.

The Subjunctive Mood linked with HINA gives us the purpose clause, “to do” or better “in order that I do it.” It also indicates the free will factor. Jesus is free to do it or free not to do it, and He does it.

Our translation of John 17:4 is, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given to Me in order that I do it.

John 4:34 tells us this was Jesus mission and goal in life; “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work”.”

From there on it is the Father’s work to glorify Him. The Father resurrects Him. The Father permits ascension, and the Father commands that He be seated at the right hand of the Father. The Old Testament declared that God would not give His glory to another, Isa 42:8; 48:11.

Isa 42:8, “I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, nor My praise to graven images.”

So we have in John 17:5 “Now, Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” This is not a good translation and is actually inaccurate in its meaning.

Here we have a second petition for glory; the first is found in Verse 1.

“Now” in the Greek is KAI NUN which should read “and now.” NUN is the Adverb describing the time of glorification, “at the present time”, (i.e., the Cross, Resurrection, Ascension and Session).

“Father, Glorify Me” is “DOXASON ME SU, PATER” in the Greek.

DOXASON is the verb DOXAZO once again but this time in the Aorist, Active, Imperative, Second Person, Singular.

The Aorist Tense is Ingressive, emphasizing the beginning of an action or entrance into a state. Jesus is petitioning the Father to see Him through to the end, that is, to accomplish the Father’s plan; whereby, the Son is glorified.  He is not petitioning for the Father to glorify both of them.

The Active Voice with the 2nd Person, Singular:  The Father is to perform the action of glorifying Jesus. Jesus cannot glorify Himself from His humanity, so He is petitioning the Father to glorify Him in Hypostatic Union.

This is an Imperative Mood of Request or entreaty, which is typical when a speaker addresses a superior, especially in prayers directed to God, as here and with the Aorist Tense. Jesus is not commanding the Father to glorify Him but petitioning for the Father to glorify Him. We will simply say, “glorify.”

ME is from the Pronoun EGO that means, “I.” In the Accusative (direct object) case, First Person, Singular, it means “Me”, Jesus is referring to Himself. Jesus is the one who will receive glorification from the Father.

SU is also a Pronoun. Here it is in the Nominative (subject) Case, Second Person, Singular that means “You”, referring to God the Father. The Father is the One who will glorify Jesus.

PATER is a Noun in the Vocative of Address, Masculine, Singular for “Father.” God the Father is the One Jesus is petitioning for glorification, as a result of the Father seeing Jesus through the end portion of the Father’s Plan.

Therefore we put this together to say, “Father, You glorify Me.”

Then we have, “together with Yourself” which is a bad translation. The Greek is PARA SEAUTO in the Dative Case which indicates the Indirect Object.

PARA is a Preposition in the Dative Case and means, “with, in the presence of, before, near, from beside, by the side of, or beside, etc.” The word “with” is wrong here. It does not mean “with” as to say that Jesus is asking for the Father to glorify the Father with the Son. That will happen anyway. This is a Preposition in the Spatial Dative case that means “near or beside”. So here Jesus is petitioning God the Father to once again place Him “at His side.” That is, “at the right hand of the Father.”

SEAUTO is a Pronoun from SU “you”, and Autos, “self” and means, “of, to, or for, yourself.” It is also in the Dative Case, Masculine, Second Person, Singular. Here it is a Dative of Sphere and we would say, “in the sphere of yourself.”

So PARA SEAUTO literally could say, “by the side in the sphere of yourself,” or more practically, “by your side.”

So this should read, “And now, Father, You glorify Me by Your side.” In other words, He is entreating at this time that He be seated at the right hand of the Father.

Jesus then continues by sayings, “with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” “TE DOXE HE EIXON PRO TON KOSMON EINAI PARA SOI.”

TE DOXE is the Article “the”, with DOXA that means, “glory” in the Dative, Feminine, Singular. This is a Dative of Reference, so we say, “with the glory.”

HE is the Relative, Pronominal, Adjective HOS in the Accusative, Feminine, Singular that means “which.”

EIXON is the Verb ECHO in the Imperfect, Active, Indicative, First Person, Singular that means, “to have and to hold.”

The Customary Imperfect Tense speaks of incomplete action, that is, an ongoing state in past time. Notice it is not a Perfect Tense which would mean completed past action. In other words, Jesus’ glory from eternity past has not ended. He still has it and will continue to have it into eternity. But there is something more He is petitioning for here.

The Active Voice:  Jesus is the One who has this glory.

The Indicative Mood is for the dogmatic fact of reality. The glory He had before the world existed was the glory of His deity. He had the same glory as the Father. Now He is entreating that His humanity have the same glory that He has as God. He is requesting that His humanity have equal glory with His Deity. We can translate this, “I was having” and for greater emphasis, “I always had.”

“Before the World was” is PRO TOU TON KOSMON EINAI, speaking of Eternity Past. Literally it is “Before the, the world was”, meaning, “before the being as to the world.” Here we find the same pre-incarnate consciousness of Christ seen in John 17:24. Jesus has existed from eternity, John 1:1-2; 6:62; 3:13; 16:28.

Then the Greek ends with, “with You” which again should be “beside you” from the Spatial Dative Preposition PARA, “beside or near”, and SOI the Pronoun SU in the Dative of Sphere, Second Person, Singular referring to God the Father. So we say, “Beside You.”

Our translation of John 17:5 is: “And now, Father, You glorify Me by Your side with the glory which I always had beside You before the world existed.”

This clearly shows the pre-existence and Deity of Jesus Christ, as does Phil 2:5-11.

Phil 2:5-11, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but deprived Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Jesus’ request in Verse 1 was that He be made known on earth, that He might make God known to mankind. Here His request went beyond the earthly scene to heaven itself. His request involved nothing that was not His right. He had not renounced His deity. He had assumed humanity in behalf of God and for the sake of the world. He asked now for the joining of His eternal manifestation with His humanity, having completed His earthly revelation.

Heb 12:1-2, “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Jesus brought God glory on earth by completing the work assigned, for in all that Jesus did and said He displayed the nature and character of God. It is striking that the ultimate act of glorification is the Cross itself, for it is the most stunning display in all of history of the love and grace of our God, John 7:39; 11:4; 12:16, 23; 13:31-32.

John 13:31, “Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.”

The Cross is a doorway. Passing through it Jesus will experience resurrection, a decisive event by which He is “declared with power to be the Son of God”, Rom 1:4. In the Resurrection His own identity and nature are fully established, and the meaning of His crucifixion firmly established. All this underlies Jesus’ prayer for Himself: That in what He has done, and is about to do, Jesus will glorify God and be glorified.

As Jesus glorified God by doing His work in the world, so can we. What we display as we love and serve others is not our own goodness, but the transforming grace of a God who can work through human beings. Our good works are performed for God’s glory, not our own, for we gladly admit that He is the source of all that is good within us.

Summary of Verses 1-5

John 17 records our Lord’s “Great High Priestly Prayer” where He makes intercession for His disciples and believers throughout the Church Age to be protected, sanctified and unified and for His Father to be glorified.

It was offered in the presence of His apostles, after the institution and celebration of the Lord’s Supper and immediately following the “Upper Room and Gethsemane Discourses” recorded in John 14-16. He offered this prayer only moments before He was arrested in the Garden, John 18:1-11.

John 17:1, “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You.”

We must always keep in mind that Jesus Christ is God and has all of the essence of the Godhead. He is co-equal and co-eternal and co-infinite with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He is also humanity. As a member of the human race, He is a priest, in fact the High Priest.

So from His Humanity Jesus addresses the 1st person of the Godhead as “Father.” This prayer is a precedent because throughout the Church Age all prayer is addressed to the Father in the name of the Son, in the power of the Spirit. Notice the way it runs throughout this prayer, Vs. 5, 11, 21, 24, 25.

The term “Father” is a kind of “conversational” address, the kind of conversation that takes place between a son and his “daddy.” Our Lord’s intimacy with the Father is not only reflected in His prayer to the Father here, but Jesus also indicates that it should greatly influence our prayers to the Father as well.

Likewise, His posture is head up and eyes wide open, as He addresses His loving Father and petitions Him for His needs and desires.

Jesus prays that His work of the Father’s Plan, (a shameful and painful death), might be accomplished and completed, which always results in the glorification of God the Father.

The “hour” is a direct reference to the Cross. Jesus does not use this as an excuse to fall into a state of fatalism or self-pity, (as the disciples did). Instead He prays for His own glorification that results in the glorification of the Father. Praying for His glorification means He is petitioning the Father to sustain Him and see Him through to the end, so that He fulfills the Father’s Plan. He prays that the Father’s will and plan be accomplished, as we will also see in Verse 5.

When you focus on the sovereignty of God, especially in times of crisis, it functions as an incentive to pray, and prayer brings about a Relaxed Mental Attitude, Inner Peace, Joy, +H, because you have adjusted to the justice and righteousness of God. Now you stand in a place where the Holy Spirit can strengthen and empower you, as God the Father is also able to answer your prayers and provide exactly what you need.

John 17:2, “Just as You gave Him authority over all mankind, so that to all whom You have given to Him, He may give to them eternal life.”

“Authority” is the noun EXOUSIA in the Accusative, Feminine, Singular that means, “power to act”, that is, “authority.” The word “authority here means a commission, a right. In other words, God the Father gave Incarnate Christ the power to act on behalf of all mankind in the form of paying the penalty for their sins on the Cross. That is the authority the Son of God as our High Priest has been given; to pay for our sins. In addition, His authority “over all flesh”, allows for Him to give the believer Eternal Life.

Mat 11:27, “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father…”

Mat 28:18, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”

John 6:37, “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

If a believer in the Church Age is going to be the bride of Christ (and he is), he has to live with Christ as long as Christ lives; forever. So Jesus gives them the life they need to live with Him forever, John 10:28.

John 10:28, “And I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.”

John 17:3,Now this is (keeps on being) Eternal Life. Namely, that they might keep on knowing You, the only true God and Jesus Christ (the Messiah) whom You (God the Father) sent.”

This speaks of our eternal life today, right now that will also be the most important aspect of our eternal life in the future, which is knowing God.

Eternal life is a part of the essence of all three members of the Trinity, and is given by Christ to the believer positionally. But this is something more than just an essence or position. We are given the experiential aspect of what our eternal life is today and will be into the future.

Principles:

  • Eternal life is a personal relationship with God gained by experiential knowledge of Him.
  • It is not the cause of eternal life or the prelude to eternal life; this experiential knowing is the very eternal life itself.
  • The only way you can know the Father is by studying His Word, by learning Bible doctrine.
  • The knowledge of “the only true God” is through Jesus Christ, John 14:6-9. If you study the Word of God, you will know the Father. If you do not study the Word of God, you will not know the Father.
  • If you do not know the Father, you will not know Eternal Life experientially here in time. Those who know God possess experientially eternal life.

2 Peter 1:2-3, “Grace and peace be multiplied to you by means of a full knowledge, (EPIGNOSIS- full or complete experiential knowledge), of God even Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and spirituality, through EPIGNOSIS, (a FULL experiential knowledge) of the One having called us by His own glory and excellence.”

The Lord Jesus Christ, who is the eternal, incarnate Word of God, came into the world in order that He might give eternal life to men and He did this so that men could enjoy and experience fellowship with God eternally. John 1:1-4; 1 John 1:1-3; 5:11-13, 20

1 John 5:20, “And we know (OIDA) that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding (DIANOIA – a mind, ability to think) so that we may know (GINOSKO) Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.”

John 17:4,I glorified You on the earth (incarnation), having accomplished the work which You have given Me in order that I do it.

Jesus brought God glory on earth by completing the work assigned to Him, for in all that Jesus did and said, He displayed the nature and character of God.

John 13:31, “Therefore when he had gone out, Jesus said, “Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in Him; 32if God is glorified in Him, God will also glorify Him in Himself, and will glorify Him immediately.”

Our lives, just as Jesus’ was, are in totality one work, one mission, one plan that the Father has planned for us to do. When we follow that one plan for our lives, we too will glorify the Father.

Our work, as Jesus’, is to reveal the Father to the world. Make Him known through His Son, especially His Son’s completed work on the Cross.

As Jesus glorified God by doing His work in the world, so can we. What we display as we love and serve others is not our own goodness, but the transforming grace of a God who can work through human beings.

Our good works are performed for God’s glory, not our own, for we gladly admit that He is the source of all that is good within us.

John 17:5,And now, Father, You glorify Me by (placing me at) Your side with the glory which I always had beside You before the world existed.”

This is speaking of the final act of our Lord’s First Advent where He would be resurrected and then allowed to Ascend into heaven where He would be seated at the right hand of the Father.

Rom 8:34, “….Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.”

Eph 1:19-20, “…These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places.”

Jesus’ prayer to be placed at the side of the Father, which in His deity He has had from eternity past, is a prayer ultimately for the Father to sustain Him to the end. It is a petition to be empowered to complete the work He was given to do. It is a petition for the Father’s plan to be fulfilled, which ultimately glorifies the Father.

Jesus’ request in Verse 1 was that He be made known on earth so that He might make the Father known to mankind. Here His request went beyond the earthly scene to heaven itself. His request involved nothing that was not His right. He had not renounced His deity. He had assumed humanity in behalf of God and for the sake of the world, Phil 2:5-10.

Phil 2:5-11, “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but deprived Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Now He asked for the joining of His eternal manifestation with His humanity, having completed His earthly revelation. To be seated at the right hand of the Father in hypostatic union is His petition. The results of which glorify God the Father.

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Complete Translation of the Gospel of John ~ Chapter 17 ~ Verses 1-5

John 17:1, “Jesus spoke these things; and lifting up His eyes to heaven, He said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son, so that the Son may glorify You.”

John 17:2, “Just as You gave Him authority over all mankind, so that to all whom You have given to Him, He may give to them eternal life.”

John 17:3, “Now this is (keeps on being) Eternal Life. Namely, that they might keep on knowing You, the only true God and Jesus Christ (the Messiah) whom You (God the Father) sent.”

John 17:4, “I glorified You on the earth, having accomplished the work which You have given to Me in order that I do it.

John 17:5 is: “John 17:5, “And now, Father, You glorify Me by (placing me at) Your side with the glory which I always had beside You before the world existed.”

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In Part 2 of The Gospel of John Chapter 17, we will study Verses 6 – 10 and the Principles pertaining to each verse.  This is Part of the Outline of Vs. 6-19, Christ Prays for His Disciples.

 

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