Chapter Eighteen – John 17:26

From “Studies in the Lord’s Prayer,” by Pastor K. David Oldfield

John 17:26

John 14 begins with one of the sweetest and most comforting passages in all of the scriptures. “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”

Isn’t it interesting that the blessing of these words are immediately disturbed by the lack of faith and the lack of understanding of two of the Lord’s disciples? “Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? And Philip saith unto him, Lord, shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us” – 14:5 and 8.

The blessings of the first three verses are absolutely dependent upon the Lord Jesus. “He is the way, the truth and the Life, no man cometh unto the Father” – and the mansions of the Father – “except through Christ. And no man is going to see God the Father except by way of the Lord Jesus” – verses 6 and 9. He that hath seen Christ Jesus has probably seen all of the Father that he will ever see or need to see. So obviously, there is no way that Islam or any other world religion can coexist with John 14 – one of the most precious of all the Christian Scriptures.

But having said that, it’s not a forgone conclusion that the saints of God fully understand the Lord’s words. If we did then we wouldn’t have the confused questions of Thomas and Phillip. I’m not so sure that I fully understand the words of the Lord Jesus either in John 14 or John 17.

As we come to the closing words of the Lord Jesus’ great prayer, He makes a statement that takes us back, in a sense, to what he taught us in chapter 14.

“And I have declared unto them thy name . . .”

“I have declared to those whom thou hast given me, to be with me where I am” (verse 17:24 and 14:2). “I have declared unto them thy name.”

I have no idea how many times in the last 12 or 24 months that I have reminded you that this reference to the name of God is not about the appellation or cognomen of God. (I wish that there was a better synonym for the word “name”, but there really isn’t.) The name is not a reference to tetragrammaton – the four letter name of God – Yawh or Jehovah. Nor is this the 72 letter, 42 letter or 12 letter Hebrew names for God. I haven’t made these things up, these are actual appellations that the Jews have for God.

When the Lord Jesus says, I have declared unto them thy name, He is talking about the person and the nature of the God behind the tetragrammaton – “Jehovah.” But just because I have told you and told you, doesn’t mean that this is easy to see. Our minds declare that a name is just a name, nothing more. But that is not usually the case when the Bible uses the word “name.”

So let me take you back to verse 6 where the Lord Jesus says almost the same thing – except with a different word: “I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world.”

The word “manifested” is “phanero’o.” James Strong in his concordance defines “phanero’o” this way: To make manifest, or visible, or known, what has been hidden or unknown, to manifest, whether by words, or deeds, or in any other way, to make actual and visible. Vine, in his Expository Dictionary defines “phanero’o” as to “uncover, make bare or expose.”

If the Lord Jesus was merely talking about the cognomen, the appellation, or the simple name of God, the word “manifest” wouldn’t be exactly appropriate. In looking at, or listening to, the Lord the disciples didn’t see the appellation of God uncovered. What they saw was the character and nature of God in the person of the Lord Jesus. “He that hath seen me, hath seen the Father.” Jesus might have said, “He that hath seen me, hath seen the name of God.” And obviously only deity could manifest deity.

In verse 26, the word that Jesus uses is “gnorizo”. The root of “gnoridzo” is “gnosko” – to know. The Lord Jesus reminds the Father that He has made us to know the Name of God. And what appellation did the Lord reveal to us that we hadn’t had revealed before? None. Once again, it was not the cognomen or appellation of God, but the person of the Father which the Lord Jesus made us to know. And in the majority of cases, when you have reference to the Name of God like this the Bible is not talking about the mere cognomen, but the Person of the Lord. Psalms 69:30 – “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.” Daniel 2:20 “Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his.” Romans 2:24 – “For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.” Revelation 16:9 – “And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.” The Lord Jesus prayed, I have declared unto them thy name. He has declared unto us God Himself.

I won’t pretend to imply that we are in any way like unto our Saviour in this, but this is what our ministry should be about as well: We are in the revelation business.

“I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it:”

There have been quite a few sermons preached and books written with the express intention of teaching the many Biblical names of God, and some of those studies have been long and extensive, but eventually everyone of those preachers and authors have come to the end of their understanding of the subject. In other words, the names of God have been expounded to the point that the human mind couldn’t go on any farther. But no man has yet to touch the hem of the garment when it comes to the God behind the name.

The Lord Jesus has made us to know the Father well enough that we have been saved, but we will be learning more, and more, of Him throughout eternity. Most people, including myself, have a hard time grasping the principle of infinity. Jehovah is infinite in every way. It is impossible to come to the end of any aspect of the Lord – His love, His omniscience, His grace. Our Saviour will be ministering to us in this revelation for ever, and ever, and ever, and ever.

“That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them . . .”

What kind of part of speech is the word “that”? I have no idea, but I do know that it implies that in order for the next clause to be true, the previous clause had to take place. Unless the Lord Jesus makes us to know the name of the Father, then the love that the Father has for the Son will never be found in us.

“I have declared thy name unto those whom Thou hast given me in order that the love that Thou hast for me may also be in them.”

And what do we know about the love that the Father has for the Son? I can know what the love is that I have for my wife and my children. And I know the love that I have for you and for this church. That kind of love is different from the love that I have for my family.

And I can begin to grasp the love that the Saviour has for His church, for which He gave Himself. That is similar, but infinitely superior, to the love that I have for my wife. I have my reasons for love, but I’m not exactly sure why the Lord loves His church, or why He loves me. And what about the love that exists between the Father and the Son? I doubt that we will ever understand what that entails and involves. But what Matthew Henry said I believe to be true: “We will not only to be satisfied with the love of God, we will be satisfied in the love of God.”

Whatever this love is, it hasn’t even begun to be enjoyed yet. It is so glorious and wonderful that it can be fully appreciated only in glory.

“I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Is this last clause “and I in them” an unnecessary addendum to Jesus’ thought about God’s love in us? What is greater or more important: God’s love in us or Christ in us? How much of a difference is there between these two? Certainly these are very closely related.

The moment that we become the children of God, the nature of God becomes a part of us. It’s not that we become gods or anything like that, but we are touched by that God. To talk about growth and maturity as Christians is the same thing as – more of Christ in us. “Christ in us” is not only the hope of glory,” that is precisely what glory is and what it is all about. Eternity in Heaven means the presence of Christ and the possession of Christ. Heaven on earth means Christ in us as well.

“I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

The practical conclusion and application is this: Is Christ, the hope of glory, resident in you? Are you a new creature in Christ Is Christ in you and you in Christ? Is the Lord Jesus praying for you in this chapter or just a million other eternally blessed people?

You need to make your calling and election sure.