John 17:20-26 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, are in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me. And the glory which thou gave me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou have sent me, and have loved them, as thou have loved me. Father, I will that they also, whom thou have given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou have given me: for thou loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou have sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
‘One’ – this request for absolute unity is made five times (17:11, 17:21-23). Unity among Christians is necessary to convince the world that He had been sent by God. Is this why the world has not been convinced?
‘Are in me, and I in thee’ – the so-called doctrine of interpenetration, that is, persons entering physical into each other, is false. The Bible does speak of the Corinthians and Philippians being in Paul’s heart (2Cor. 7:3; Php. 1:7); God being in Christ (2Cor. 5:19); Christ being in God (John 14:20); God and Christ being in each other (John 14:10-11); men being in both the Father and the Son (1Jn. 2:24); men being in Christ (2Cor. 5:17); men and the Spirit being in each other (Rom. 8:9); Christ being in men (Col. 1:27; Rom. 8:10); man and Christ being in each other (John 14:20); all creation being in God (Acts 17:28); and satan entering into men (Luke 22:3; John 13:27). However, these passages refer to being in union with, being consecrated to the same end – one in mind, purpose, and life. They do not teach physical entrance of one being into another. It may be best understood by a man and woman becoming one in life together, being in each other’s plans, life, etc. Hence, satan entering into Judas simply means Judas submitted to satan’s temptation to betray Jesus. He became one with satan, like men become one in spirit with God when joined to Him in consecration (1Cor. 6:17).
‘That the world may know’ – if Christians want to know how to convince the world that their religion is of God, then let them become one as God and Christ are one. Make no mistake about it – this is the secret of the world’s recognition of Christianity. See what it did in the early congregations when they were one (Acts 1:14; 2:1, 46; 4:24, 32; 5:12). James 3:16 is so true: “For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.”
‘Before the foundation of the world’ this is the second statement here of Christ’s preexistence – see also Micah 5:1-2; John 1:1-2; Revelation 1:8, 11; 2:8; 22:13 and Col. 1:15-18.
‘Righteous Father’ – eight facts about the Father: He is righteous (17:25); He is holy (17:11); He originates from heaven (Matt. 6:14, 26, 32); He is the Father of Mercies (2Cor. 1:3); the Father of Glory (Eph. 1:17); the Father of Spirits (Heb. 12:9); the Father of Lights (Jas. 1:17) and the Lord of Heaven (Matt. 11:25).
‘Them’ – there are 169 pronouns used in this prayer. Plural pronouns are used of God and Christ in the same sense as used of disciples, proving plurality of persons in the Godhead (17:11, 21-23). There are 65 singular personal pronouns used of Christ and 53 of the Father; 43 plural pronouns are used of God and disciples.