Yohanan Jewish New Testament and comments of David H. Stern

chapter 17
1. After Yeshua had said these things, he looked up toward heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son may glorify you —
2. just as you gave him authority over all mankind, so that he might give eternal life to all those whom you have given him.
3. And eternal life is this: to know you, the one true God, and him whom you sent, Yeshua the Messiah.
Eternal life is this: to know.... Eternal life is nol merely survival after death, which everyone shares (3:16N, 5:29&N; Daniel 12:2), but having intimate "knowledge" of the Father and the Son. The Hebrew word for "knowledge," "da 'at," denotes not only the comprehending of the acts and circumstances of the world, but also the most intimate experiencing of the object of knowledge (hence its use in Hebrew to mean sexual intercourse in such expressions as, "And Adam knew Chavah his wife" (Genesis 4:1)). Here the word "know" is used exactly as in Jeremiah 31:33(34), in the passage promising Israel a new covenant: "And no longer will each one teach his neighbor and his brother, 'Know Adonai,' for they will all know me." 

4. “I glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
5. Now, Father, glorify me alongside yourself. Give me the same glory I had with you before the world existed.
This verse teaches the pre-existence of the Messiah; see 1:1aN. 

6. “I made your name known to the people you gave me out of the world. They were yours, you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.
I made your name known. This signifies that in his own person (1:18, 14:9) Yeshua revealed more directly than ever before God's authority, power and character. A literalistic understanding of the phrase, "I made your name known," became the theme of the scurrilous Toledot-Yeshu, the 6th-century C.E. anti-gospel (see Ml 1:18N) which said that the offense "Yeshu" committed that earned him the death penalty for blasphemy was the unauthorized use of the "72-letter name" of God to perform magic (see Encyclopedia Judaica, 7:711). 

7. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you,
8. because the words you gave me I have given to them, and they have received them. They have really come to know that I came from you, and they have come to trust that you sent me.
9. “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given to me, because they are yours.
10. Indeed, all I have is yours, and all you have is mine, and in them I have been glorified.
11. Now I am no longer in the world. They are in the world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, guard them by the power of your name, which you have given to me, so that they may be one, just as we are.
12. When I was with them, I guarded them by the power of your name, which you have given to me; yes, I kept watch over them; and not one of them was destroyed (except the one meant for destruction, so that the Tanakh might be fulfilled).
So that the Tanakh might be fulfilled. See Psalm 41:10(9), ciled in connection with Y'hudah from K'riot at 13:18 above; Psalm 55:13-16; and Psalm 109:8-9, cited at Ac 1:20. Prefiguring Y'hudah in these Psalms may be Achitofel, who turned traitor to King David (2 Samuel 16:14-17). 

13. But now, I am coming to you; and I say these things while I am still in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.
14. “I have given them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world — just as I myself do not belong to the world.
15. I don’t ask you to take them out of the world, but to protect them from the Evil One.
Believers are expected to be involved in what Judaism calls tikkun-ha'olam, repairing the world. Tikkun-ha olam is deeply embedded in the Jewish ethic; for this reason even secular Jews usually find themselves concerned with bettering society. Believers in Yeshua the Messiah are not to separate themselves altogether (1С 5:10) but to act like yeast causing the world's dough to rise (Lk 13:21). caring for widows and orphans while remaining unspotted through participation in the world's sins (Ya 1:27), not being conquered by evil but conquering it with good (Ro 12:21). 

16. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
17. Set them apart for holiness by means of the truth — your word is truth.
Separate... for holiness, Greek agiason, equivalent to Hebrew kadesh, "sanctify." (I avoid the word "sanctify" in the JNT because it seems archaic and removed from most people's reality today.) To sanctify is to separate for holiness, to set apart for God. This separateness is not a physical removal from other people and their concerns (see v. 15&N) but a spiritual relocation into God's sphere of being. 

18. Just as you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
19. On their behalf I am setting myself apart for holiness, so that they too may be set apart for holiness by means of the truth.
20. “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will trust in me because of their word,
I pray not only for these twelve talmidim, my shlkhim ("messengers," "emissaries," "apostles"), but also for those who trust in me because of their word. Here Yeshua is praying for all the millions down through the centuries who have come to trust in him because these twelve faithfully communicated the Gospel. The ensuing verses are Yeshua's one prayer specifically for us. 

21. that they may all be one. Just as you, Father, are united with me and I with you, I pray that they may be united with us, so that the world may believe that you sent me.
22. The glory which you have given to me, I have given to them; so that they may be one, just as we are one —
23. I united with them and you with me, so that they may be completely one, and the world thus realize that you sent me, and that you have loved them just as you have loved me.
That they may all be one. The content of Yeshua' s one prayer for today' s believers s tor their unity "in" the Father and the Son: Just as you, Father, are united with me nid I with you, I pray that they may be united with us.

The Greek preposition "en" is most often rendered "in" in this passage and in 10:38; 14:10-11,17.20; 15:4-7; and 16:33; but its sense is hard to convey by a single English Nord, for it can mean "in the sphere of, in connection with, within, inside, by, on, near, imong, with." Overall, the word conveys intimacy and involvement: Yeshua and the Father are intimately involved and concerned with each other's existence, even to the point of being "one" (here, 10:30). Yeshua uses this word "en" frequently, as does Sha"ul in his letters, to get across the notion of deep mutual concern and participation.

Thus Yeshua prays that the unity between believers and himself, between believers and the Father and between believers and other believers will have the same character as the unity between himself and the Father. The history of the Christian church offers all too ample proof that his prayer was needed! Most Jewish people are at least confused, if not scandalized, by the distinctions between various kinds of Christians which seem to divide more than unite: Eastern Orthodox versus Western, Roman Catholic versus Protestant, hundreds or thousands of Protestant denominations (most of which are "versus" at least some of the others), and thousands of one-church "denominations" with no organizational affiliation. How many lives have been sacrificed over the centuries in wars between Christians? How often do the media report loveless castigations of one Christian group by another?

Jewish people look on this display of disunity with disgust or disdain, while the less virulent expressions may provoke mild amusement. For the Jewish community functions rather differently. It has a built-in unity partly based, like that of the Messianic Community, on God's having chosen them for himself. But Jewish unity is also based on a common history involving common social patterns, religious practices, persecution by outsiders (both Christian and non-Christian), and the biological element of descent from a common ancestor. A common expression is the feeling among many Jews, "We're all family to each other." While there are Jewish denominations — three major ones and several minor — and even some friction between them, this does not prevent unified community action when basic issues are concerned, such as support for the survival of the State of Israel or opposition to antisemitism. Only the Hasidic sects seem to produce the sort of discord between themselves that other Jews can regard as slightly ridiculous (but only rarely vicious). Thus Jews consider themselves largely immune from the kinds of divisions that seem endemic to the Christian Church, with such unpleasant consequences for both themselves and the rest of humanity.

It is no wonder, then, that Yeshua prayed as he did. While Scripture declares that there already exists a spiritual unity between believers in the Messiah (Ro 12:4-8&NN, 1С 12:12-27&NN), what we see is, to put it mildly, a very imperfect reflection of it. The modern ecumenical movement is a cross-denominational effort to create unity, although anxiety to achieve the goal can lead to generating an appearance of unity at the institutional level which glosses over real differences in doctrine and practice as well as unhealed relationships between people. On the other hand, opposition to ecumenism is someiimes voiced by those who, in the name of doctrinal purity, refuse to work through the crises of resolving differences with their brothers in the Lord.

However serious the schisms between the various Christian denominations, the greatest schism in the world is that between the Jewish people and the Body of the Messiah. The Jews are God's people, and so is the Messianic Community (the Church). It was never GtKl's intent that there be two separated peoples of God; for the Body of the Messiah, consisting of saved Jews and Gentiles, is built on a Jewish foundation; it springs from a Jewish root. And conversely, non-Messianic Judaism is a broken-off branch, although one with enough life to flourish if grafted in again to the living tree (Ro 11:17-26&NN). Messianic Judaism, by striving to be one hundred percent Jewish and one hundred percent Messianic, offers itself as one means to help heal this schism. If the schism between the Jews and the Church can be healed, how much more easily the schisms within the Church!

Finally, healing of these splits is given an evangelistic purpose in Yeshua's prayer: may they be one in us so that the unsaved world may believe that you (God the Father) sent me (Yeshua). 

24. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am; so that they may see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25. Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these people have known that you sent me.
26. I made your name known to them, and I will continue to make it known; so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I myself may be united with them.”
Yeshua as our cohen gadol (MJ 6:20) prays on our behalf to his Father. In this intercessory prayer we see deeply into the Messiah's heart — into the intimacy of the relationship between the Son and the Father, on the one hand, and between the Son and his talmidim, on the other. The depth of this prayer exceeds that possible to any mere human; it presupposes that Yeshua came forth from God, had the Father's glory before the world existed (v. 5), shares all that belongs to the Father (v. 10), can give the Father's glory to believers (v. 22), is eternal (vv. 5,24) and has uniquely intimate knowledge of the Father (v. 25). 

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