The Divine Lamp

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Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on John 17:11b-19

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 3, 2011

This post includes commentary on all of verse 11. Text in red are my additions.

Joh 17:11  And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name whom thou hast given me: that they may be one, as we also are.

A third reason why they ought now to receive the Father’s special care was
thine, and thine are mine: and I am glorified in them. And now I am not in the world, and these are in the world, and I come to thee.

Keep them in thy name, whom thou hast given me. The sense of this reading is sufficiently evident. The best supported Greek reading, how ever, is ὦ  (not ους), ὦ  being attracted into the dative case of the preceding noun, and standing for ó. The most probable meaning of this Greek reading is: keep them in the confession of Thy name, in the knowledge of Thee, which Thou hast given to Me, and which I in turn have given to them; that they may be one by a union of faith and charity resembling, though in an imperfect way, the union between the Persons of the Blessed Trinity.

Joh 17:12  While I was with them, I kept them in thy name. Those whom thou gavest me have I kept: and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition: that the scripture may be fulfilled.

I kept them. In the original, the imperfect tense (ετηρουν) brings out more
clearly Christ’s continuous care.

In this verse, too, there is a difference of opinion as to whether ους or ὦ  is the
correct reading, but the Vulgate reading is more strongly supported here than in verse 11.

And none of them is lost, but the son of perdition. Son of perdition is a
Hebraism, signifying one devoted to destruction, as Judas was, through his own fault.

None of them was lost in either soul or body except Judas, who was already lost as to his soul, though not irreparably; and who was soon to be irreparably lost
both as to soul and body. But this loss of Judas was not to be ascribed to Christ, but took place in order that (see above on John 12:37-40) the Scripture (Ps 41:10) might be fulfilled. The Holy Ghost had predicted the ruin of Judas, because it was foreseen that this would certainly come about through the wretched Apostle’s own fault. In the words: none of them is lost, we think there is question of both the bodies and souls of the Apostles; for while it is generally admitted that Christ here claims to have guarded the souls of the Apostles from
spiritual ruin, John 18:8, 9, seems to prove, as we shall there show, that in the words before us Christ speaks of having guarded from harm their bodies also.

Joh 17:13  And now I come to thee: and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy filled in themselves.

These things we refer to what Christ had already spoken in the hearing of the Apostles in this prayer to the Father; namely, that He should give them life eternal (verse 2); that He should be glorified with the Father (verse 5); and that in His absence the Father would watch over them, and keep them in His name (verse 11).

That they may have my joy filled (made full) in themselves. My joy might mean the joy they had received from Christ, or the joy they felt because of Christ; but we think the most probable and most natural meaning is: “that they may have the joy which I feel in going to the Father, made full in themselves. Before this time He had said to them: If you loved Me, you would indeed be glad, because I go to the Father” (xiv. 28); and now He has spoken in this prayer of the glory which awaited Him, and of the care of the Father for the Apostles, in order that they may be reconciled to, and fully rejoice in, His departure to the Father.

Joh 17:14  I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them: because they are not of the world, as I also am not of the world.

I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them. I (εγω)
is emphatic; I, Thy Son. This is a fourth reason why the Father ought to watch over and guard the Apostles the world hated them, and this because they had received the words of Christ, which are the words of the Father.

Though in the world, the Apostles were not 0f the world, not imbued with its spirit, nor pandering to its tastes.

Joh 17:15  I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from evil.

From evil ( εκ του πονηρου). This may refer to the evil ofthe wicked world which is sin, or to the devil, the evil one. The parallel passage in 1 John 5:18, 19 favours the latter view. These words, to which the Apostles were listening, gave them to know that they must not despair, and wish to quit the world when trials should come; but rather, remaining in the world, keep themselves unspotted frorr its defilements.

Joh 17:16  They are not of the world, as I also am not of the world.

The last clause of verse 14 is repeated as the ground of another petition, namely, that the Father may sanctify them.

In order to emphasize the point in their hearing, and also as a motive why God ought to hear the petition that follows, the fact that the Apostles are not men of the world is repeated and insisted upon by Christ.

Joh 17:17  Sanctify them in truth. Thy word is truth.

In the truth, is the correct reading; not in thy truth, nor in truth. The word in which they are to be sanctified is probably the word of God, which Christ had
preached, and which is referred to in the end of the verse: Thy word is truth;  and not, as Maldonado, holds, the real sanctification of the New Law as opposed to the typical and merely external sanctification by which the priests of the Old Law were set apart for their functions.

In the Gospel, then, and for the preaching of the Gospel Christ prays that the Apostles may be sanctified. But what does the word sanctify here mean? Sometimes the word  αγιασον signifies to make holy, or to make more holy, or to keep more holy (1 Cor 7:11; 1 Thess 5:23); at other times, it means to set apart or destine for an office; and in this sense it is generally used through out the Old Testament. Both senses are probably combined in the word here, for it was by
making and keeping them holy that the Apostles were to be efficaciously set apart by the Father for the sacred mission to which Christ had already called them.

Joh 17:18  As thou hast sent me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.

This verse shows that the sanctification is prayed for especially with a view to their mission as Apostles. Have sent (Greek did send) is used proleptically, for the Apostles had not yet received their mission to the Gentile world. See John 20:21; Matthew 18:18, 19; Mark 16:15.

Joh 17:19  And for them do I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

And for them do I sanctify myself. St. Aug. understands of the sanctification wherewith the Son of God sanctified the humanity He assumed. (English translation will follow the Latin)” Quando Verbum caro factum est, tune sanctificavit se in se, id est hominem se in Verbo se, quia unus Christus Verbum et homo: propter sua vero membra dicit: et pro eis ego sanctifico meipsum, hoc est, ipsos in me, quoniam in me etiam ipsi sunt et ego. Ut sint et ipsi sanctificati in veritate. Quid est et ipsi nisi quemadmodum ego.” (St. Aug. in loc.)

EnglishTranslation~He thereby meant that He would sanctify them in Himself, He immediately added, “That they also may be sanctified in the truth.” And what else is this but in me, in accordance with the fact that the truth is that Word in the beginning which is God? In whom also the Son of man was Himself sanctified from the beginning of His creation, when the Word was made flesh, for the Word and the man became one person. Then accordingly He sanctified Himself in Himself, that is, Himself the man in Himself the Word; for the Word and the man is one Christ, who sanctifies the manhood in the Word. But in behalf of His members He says, “And for their sakes I,”-that is, that the benefit may be also theirs, for they too are [included in the] I, just as it benefited me in myself, because I am man apart from them-“ I sanctify myself,” that is, I sanctify them as if it were my own self in me, since in me they also are I.

But the common opinion is that Christ speaks of the sacrifice of Himself which He was about to offer a few hours after wards. In this viewthe meaning is: and for them do I set Myself apart, do I consecrate Myself as a victim, that they may be truly and efficaciously set apart and consecrated for the preaching of the Gospel. Thus while the word sanctify has in both clauses the same gen eric meaning of setting apart, there is yet a difference. Christ sets Himself apart, devotes Himself to death, that they may be consecrated in the fulness of grace for the work of the Apostleship. Christ sets Him self apart, but the Apostles are evidently to be set apart by the Father; that is to say, effectually fitted by the Father for the work to which Christ had already called them.

In truth. (εν αληθεια). The absence of the Greek article distinguishes this clause from that in verse 17. There the question is of the truth, the word of God; here in truth, seems to be equivalent to truly, really that they also may be truly sanctified. Compare 2 John 1; 3 John 1.

3 Responses to “Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on John 17:11b-19”

  1. […] Fathers Nolan and Brown’s Commentary on Today’s Gospel (John 17:11b-19). […]

  2. […] Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on John 17:11b-19. […]

  3. […] Fathers Nolan’s and Brown’s Commentary on the Gospel (John 17:11b-19). […]

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