John 17:11
I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name, the name You gave Me, so that they may be one as We are one.
Christ and His DisciplesJohn 17:11
Christian UnionG. Whitefield.John 17:11
Christian Union Attainable Only in ChristR. Cecil, M. A.John 17:11
Christians in the WorldJ. O. Keen, D. D.John 17:11
Christ's Care for His DisciplesH. Melvill, B. D.John 17:11
Influence of UnionT. Guthrie, D. D.John 17:11
Kept for Jesus ChristT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 17:11
Kept of GodG. F. Pentecost, D. D.John 17:11
Power of UnionH. G. Salter.John 17:11
Saints Divinely KeptC. H. Spurgeon.John 17:11
The Character of the FatherR. Mitchell.John 17:11
The Divine GuardianshipJ. Spence, D. D.John 17:11
The Divine KeepingM. Henry., W. H. Fan Doren, D. D.John 17:11
The Holy FatherF. Godet, D. D.John 17:11
The Nature of the Divine KeepingW. H. Van Doren, D. D.John 17:11
The Pathway to UnityDean Goulburn.John 17:11
The Preciousness of the Divine NameJ. Spence, D. D.John 17:11
The Preservation of ChristiansHenry Varley.John 17:11
Union and Christian LifeJohn Bunyan.John 17:11
Union in the Face of FoesJohn 17:11
Union is StrengthJ. Harris.John 17:11
Work Aids Christian UnityG. Hepworth.John 17:11
Jesus Praying for His OwnD. Young John 17:9-11
The Divine SuppliantD. Thomas, D. D.John 17:9-16
The Keeping of the SaintsT. Whitelaw, D. D.John 17:9-16
The Mediatorial PleaJ. Spence, D. D.John 17:9-16
Why Christ Did not Pray for the WorldF. Godet, D. D.John 17:9-16
Why Christ Prayed for the DisciplesF. Godet, D. D.John 17:9-16

I. THE EXCLUSION. We have here a striking illustration of the definiteness of the prayers of Jesus. He knows exactly for whom he is praying, and what he wants for them. He defines them positively, and he defines them negatively. It is not enough for him to call them his own.' It must also be said why they are his own. If they belonged to the world, and had in them, unchecked and unmixed, the spirit of the world, they would not be his. This is a very decided exclusion for the purpose which Jesus has in view; but no one who understands the whole drift of the work of Jesus will say that it is a harsh exclusion. When Jesus prays for his own, he is really doing the best he can for the world. What can the Father of Jesus do for the world, so long as it remains the world? He has nothing to give that the world cares for. What God bestows on the world is given irrespective of prayer - given to all; given, a great deal of it, to the lower creation as well. If more is to be given, it is because of the appearing of a spirit of recipiency which is in itself a sign of passing from the world to the Church. When Jesus prays for his own, he is really praying that they may so let their light shine as to attract and persuade the world. The very best things that Jesus can do for the world are to be done through the character of his own people.

II. THE GROUNDS OF THE REQUEST. Jesus prays to the Father for those whom the Father had given to him. What a view of the claims of the heavenly Father is here! When we give anything it implies that we have a right to give it. We have made it our own by purchase or manufacture; We could not take any human life and make a present of it to somebody else that he might use it for his own purposes. There would be a protest at once. But God makes this claim, and gives over human souls to the control of Jesus. To that control and to no other. The same truth is expressed when Jesus says that all authority is given to him in heaven and on earth. What an inspiration there should be in the thought that the Father reckons us worthy to be bestowed on the Son for him to use! What a folly and misuse of ourselves if we, who are intended for gifts to Jesus, should refuse to Jesus the necessary control! What an explanation of the frequent misery and waste of life! If Jesus cannot get a proper use of his own, how can we turn it to anything but misuse? But Jesus goes on to say how that in receiving he only receives to give back. "All mine are thine, and thine are mine." No wonder that, in the first fullness of Pentecostal blessing, the disciples had all things in common. The Father and the Son have all things in common. The Father gives humanity to the Son that Jesus may send out consecrated men and women to glorify him. And then these consecrated men and women, used as they only can be used by Jesus, are rendered up to the Father who bestowed them on the Son. The heavenly Father is the great Fountain of the highest good, and all that he gives comes back to him at last, having ministered strength and gladness to human hearts innumerable. All that is in God and all that is in Jesus are for us; and we are, not for ourselves - that is only a small part of the truth - but for the Son in the Father, and the Father in the Son. There is no serving the Son without serving the Father, nor glorifying the Son without glorifying the Father. And we need that the Father should strengthen and equip us through invisible means for all this serving and glorifying, because the Son no longer remains visibly in the world. The invisible ministry is far to excel in depth and extent the visible one. - Y.

And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world.
I. CHRIST IS NO MORE IN THE WORLD. All the purposes for which He came are accomplished. There is no further employment, therefore, for Him here.

1. His humiliation is past and His glory begun.

2. His work is finished, and now His reward is received.

3. His warfare is accomplished and now He enjoys the spoils of victory.

4. His sacrifice is offered and He departs to plead its merits before the throne.

II. CHRISTIANS ARE IS THE WORLD. Like their Lord's, their's is —

1. A state of humiliation.

2. A life of work.

3. A course of conflict.


1. Waits to receive them into His glory.

2. Imparts to them the benefits of His atonement and intercession.

3. Is their Master and co-worker.

4. Is their Leader to victory.

1. Full of imperfections and infirmities.

2. Surrounded by temptations and snares.

3. Burdened with cares and afflictions.

4. Witnesses of Christ's glory.

5. Labourers for its moral regeneration.

(J. O. Keen, D. D.)

Holy Father, keep through Thine own name.
What formula could more thoroughly express the intensity and purity of Divine love. There is more spiritual philosophy and force in the two words, "Holy Father," than in the cream of all literature. Jesus alone knew how holy that love is that comes down to save man. In this name there is —

I. A GLIMPSE OF A GREAT CHARACTER. We ask, "What's in a name?" The man on 'Change answers, "Five per cent.;" the expectant might say there is a passport in it; another that there is in it a prophecy of failure, of doom. A name is something, but in what name is there so much that is transcendently glorious as in "Holy Father." The disturbed condition of humanity has made us so familiar with unholy paternity, that it is an immense elevation of spirit to have the idea of an absolutely Holy Father. Parentage in man ought thus to be a holy thing.

II. FULNESS OF HELPING POWER. We know what it is for sons to be respected and befriended for their father's sake. The social position open to many a young man, the manner in which he is treated on the public platform, the safe, yet prosperous circles to which he is admitted is owing to his father's name. But all this is increased in an infinite degree when we think of the name of the Holy Father. His name is good for any amount of helping power our souls require.

III. A GROUND OF GREATEST CONFIDENCE — that the affairs of the vast family, the interests of the vast home, will have that management which will secure the highest interests of every child. How often are families divided by paternal partialities, fortunes squandered by paternal weaknesses and sins; and children beggared through lack of that in the father that could bind the home in one. But the strong band that binds the childlike hearts together is this father-name.

IV. A GREAT ARGUMENT FOR CHILDLIKE CONDUCT. Blessed is the child who, when he looks at a human father, feels that he knows no more upright man than he. Such a father has a right to expect that his child should be good. Well, the "Holy Father," who is conscious of doing everything before His children that is fitted to command their love, has a right to expect that like Himself they shall be holy. We know what it is for the young man going to business, college, public life, to resolve on good behaviour and success if it were only for his father's sake. Such is the aspiration which the Holy Father expects of His children.

(R. Mitchell.)

The appellation "Holy Father" is in relation with the petition presented. With man holiness is the consecration of his whole being to the task assigned him by the Divine will. In God holiness is the free, deliberate, calm, and immutable affirmation of Himself, who is goodness, or of goodness, which is Himself. The holiness of God, then, so soon as we are associated therewith, draws a deep line of demarcation between us and those who live under the dominion of their natural instincts, and whom Scripture calls the world. The term "Holy Father" here characterizes God as Him who has traced this line of separation between the disciples and the world. "Keep them" has in view the maintenance of this separation. "In Thy name" makes the revelation of the Divine character the enclosing wall in which the disciples are to be kept.

(F. Godet, D. D.)

I. THE CONTEMPLATED CONDITION OF THE DISCIPLES, the peculiar ground of their need. "I am no more in the world," &c. The fact of His going to the Father could not but be to Him a satisfaction and joy. But He could not forget His friends. His thoughts went forth to their condition without His bodily presence, on which they had been so much accustomed to lean. His words suggest the thought of —

1. Their bereavement (Matthew 9:15). It is impossible for us to form an adequate conception of their loss.

2. Their exposure: "These are in the ungodly, careless, unbelieving world." Jesus knew well what it was to be in the world; hence His concern (John 16:33). Christ Jesus, in His bodily and visible presence, is absent from the world still, but His disciples are in it. It is well to know that His prayer and intercession for them are better than His human presence.

II. THE BLESSING REQUESTED FOR THEM — "Keep through Thine own name," &c. Here, for the only time recorded, Jesus addresses God as Holy Father. He appealed to the holiness of God; and surely no appeal could be more appropriate and beautiful, when preservation from the world and from evil was asked for. Holiness is the halo of unutterable splendour which surrounds the nature and character of the Almighty. This very designation suggests at once the power and the disposition of the Father to keep these disciples. It was the pledge of the preservation, and the guarantee of the safe keeping of all God's children now (Psalm 30:4; Psalm 97:12). Two remarks are here necessary. The Authorised Version says "through," but the preposition in the original is "in." According to the most ancient manuscripts, the petition reads, "Keep them in Thy name, that name which Thou hast given Me." Jesus alone had fully manifested the name of God. And the point is that His disciples might be kept in the name of God, not in a vague indefinite sense, but in that name as personally embodied in Christ. The Saviour prays for His disciples, that they might be kept —

1. In the knowledge of this name. Many temptations would assail them from Jewish prejudice and Gentile philosophy, from various forms of worldly wisdom and human speculation. They could only be kept right in their views of God, as they were kept by Him. It is human to err; and on no theme have men, when left to themselves, wandered more widely and disastrously than in their views of God.

2. In the experience of that name. This knowledge was not a barren truth, but mighty, formative, and fertilizing (John 1:12). As Jews, they had a knowledge of God as the God of Israel before; but the Divine name never had such power over them as when they came to realize its glory in Christ. It arrested, subdued, melted, purified them; it was in them a power for spiritual renewal and moral transformation. These disciples left in the world would be exposed to manifold malign influences; and only so long as they were kept in the consciousness of the power of God's name, could they continue true to their mission.

3. In the consolation of that name. "The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe" — safe from the accusations of conscience and the thunder of law, the perils of life and the fears of death. Just as a child in darkness, trembling for fear, is cheered by the sound of his mother's voice or the certainty of his father's presence, even though unseen, so does the name of God, as revealed in Christ, sustain and encourage the souls of His people in the dreary and often trying pilgrimage to heaven.

III. THE OBJECT DESIRED. "That they may be one, as we are." How much depended on their union, strength, safety, and success. Discord and disunion could not fail to bring disaster and failure at the very beginning of the Christian history.

1. The model of this union: "as we are one." Jesus does not ask that He may be one with the Father, but asserts this oneness as a fact. There was a oneness with the Father existing from eternity. But He here prays as the "Man Christ Jesus," whose purposes and plans, desires and hopes, were the same as the Father's.

2. What then would be the manifestation of this oneness? Unity of mind, will, and affection in relation to their Master and His work, a unity resulting from participation in His life and devotion to His glory? Only suppose that these disciples were to go forth with differing views and discordant purposes in their commission. Or, suppose that they were to go forth with clashing opinions about the claims of Christ Himself; one holding His supreme Godhead, another viewing Him as the highest of created beings, and a third regarding Him merely as a man, and so on; the issue in such a case could only be spiritual disaster and failure. There might be, and there were, differences between them in many things, but touching the character and claims of the Christ of God they were as one. And this oneness of view and feeling binding them to the Saviour, and pervading all their work for Him, was to be maintained by their being kept in the Father's name as revealed in Jesus.

(J. Spence, D. D.)

Our text is all about keeping. Three or four times over we have some tense of the word "keep." Greatly do we need keeping. You have been redeemed and regenerated; you are pure in heart and hands; you have aspirations after the holiest things; you are near the gates of glory; hut you must be kept. Here is —

I. A CHOICE PROTECTORATE. "I kept them." This care —

1. Was continuous. He made this the chief employment of His life. In this chapter you have "the ruling passion strong in death." He has kept them in life, and now He says, "I am no more in the world," &c.; and the one thought of His heart is, "What is to become of them?" He closes His life by commending them to the keeping of His heavenly Father.

2. Is ever needed. Sheep never outgrow this necessity. If the disciples always required keeping, you and I do.

3. Was ever personal. The Good Shepherd kept the sheep, not by proxy, but by His own hands. What must have been the effect of the personality of Christ upon those eleven? There are some men whose influence upon others has, for want of a better word, been called "magical." History tells us of warriors who have inspired their soldiers with boundless loyalty, grappling them to themselves with hooks of steel. The influence of the Christ upon those who actually lived with Him must have been superlative.

4. Was most successful. Of the eleven not one was lost. They were very fickle at first, extremely ignorant, and strongly tempted. Influences which made some go back would naturally have had the same power over them if Jesus had not kept them: yet of those whom the Father gave Him not one of them was lost.

5. Was attended with an awful sorrow. "None of them is lost, but the son of perdition." He knew that often people would say, "Can this Christianity be true which has such false-hearted traitors in its midst?" He allowed that objection to come up at the very first. But the Watcher over the sons of men could not lose even Judas without deep regrets.

II. A TEMPORARY PRIVILEGE. The eleven were not to have Christ with them always. They were to fall back on another mode of living common to all saints.

1. Now, why was Christ with them at all? It was because they were very weak. They wanted fostering and nurturing. You had great joys in your early days. You have not had them lately, it may be; for you have travelled to heaven at a steadier pace. Certain spiritual joys are the privilege and the necessity of our religions babyhood, and we outgrow them. The Lord went away that the disciples might grow to spiritual manhood.

2. Choice as the privilege was of having Jesus Himself to be their Pastor, apart from the grace of God, this special boon had no power in it. The Lord Jesus Christ might preach, but He could not touch the heart of the son of perdition. No ministry of itself can turn a heart of stone into flesh. "You must be born from above." Let this be a warning to such as are not profited under the Word when faithfully preached. Beware lest ye perish under the gospel.

III. A BLESSED PRAYER. "Holy Father, keep," &c.

1. "Father." It is the Father who keeps us! The Lord Jesus was tender to us when He selected that title, and did not say "Jehovah" or "Elohim."

2. "Holy Father." The keeping means keep us holy; and who can make us and keep us holy but He who is Himself holy?

3. "Keep them." We need keeping —

(1)From discord. "Keep them that they may be one."

(2)From error.

(3)From sin.

4. Through God's own name. It requires the very name of God to keep a Christian.

(C. H. Spurgeon.)


1. You have seen a beautiful garden planted and filled with rarest flowers, and all in such beautiful order. The explanation is to be found in the keeper, who moves among the flowers, pulling up a stray weed here, clipping off a branch there, training up a fallen vine, tying up a drooping plant, digging about the roots of that rosebush that seems a little weak, and bestowing a little extra care upon it with such tenderness as though he loved it. And from admiring the flowers, you turn to admire and love the faithful keeper, and ascribe the praise to him.

2. On the other hand, you have seen other gardens just as large, filled with the same precious variety of flowers. But how sad to look at the paths that are filled with grass! The vines have fallen down, and many beautiful plants have succumbed to the rude crowding of the rank weeds and are both dying and dead. How is this sad condition of things to be accounted for? The gardener was called in to plant it, but the owner of the garden dismissed him, thinking he could do it himself. For a while he did very well; but the pressure of business, &c., &c., and a general ignorance of flower culture, all interfered, and so the garden was allowed to run to waste. Occasionally he would rally and go vigorously to work, and things would look better for a while; but, alas I all too soon the same neglect would fall upon it.

3. These two gardens are two lives, one of which is kept and the other unkept. And I am sure there are more than a few Christians who see in the latter garden a picture of their own spiritual life. What is the matter? You need a keeper and to place in his hands your life.

II. WHO IS TO KEEP US? Our Holy Father.

1. The holiness of God, instead of being opposed to the salvation of the sinful, is the very ground of that salvation, and is put forth as the reason above all others why sinners should hope in God.(1) In general, we find it stated that God saves for His holy name's sake (Deuteronomy 6:8; Psalm 106:1-6). Holiness and love are one. This may be inferred also from God's coming in holiness to Moses to send him on the mission of mercy and salvation. "The ground whereon thou standeth is holy" (see also Luke 1:47-55). Who was it that remembered mercy? The Holy One (ver. 49), who has been the author of salvation in all ages, and the object of His people's trust (Psalm 22:3, 4).(2) The holy name stands for forgiveness (Psalm 103:1-3; Psalm 130:7, 8; Psalm 99:8, 9).(3) For pity — restoration (Ezekiel 36:20-22).(4) Compassion and wrath-restraining love (Isaiah 57:14, 15; Hebrews 11:8, 9).(5) Sustaining and delivering (Isaiah 41:10-14).

2. We find this holiness of God active against sin, hating and consuming it, and often afflicting His people for it. But that side of His holiness is only another side of His love (Psalm 99:8). He hates sin because it is the destroyer of the people whom He loves.


1. He will keep us unto the end — unto the salvation ready to be revealed at the last day. Many are deterred from confessing Christ lest they should not hold out. But against all these fears God has left exceeding great and precious promises (1 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Timothy 1:12; 2 Timothy 4:18; Jude 1:24).

2. With others it is not so much the fear of being finally lost as the dread of being left alone on the way, of "falling into sin and trouble," &c. Listen to the promises (Genesis 28:15; Isaiah 43:2).

3. It is not that I am afraid of being deserted in affliction, but that in the ordinary course of life I shall wander from the right way. God said to those of old, "Behold I send an angel before thee," &c. (Exodus 23:20). "When He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will lead," &c. So in this God makes ample promise.

4. So God is pledged to provide for all our wants, and keep us in the world. "The Lord God is a sword and a shield," &c. "The Lord is my Shepherd." "My God shall supply all your need."

5. But the temporal keeping is not what I want so much as to have my own life kept — to be delivered and kept from doubt, and fears, and anxiety, and vexation, and care (read Philippians 4:7; Isaiah 26:3).

6. But will He keep from sin? I know He will pardon sin, but will He keep me from it? Yes.(1) There is a promise to keep from evil, which is a generic term, and covers all sin and harm. The Lord's prayer — the prayer in this connection.(2) To keep from presumptuous sin (Psalm 19:13) and secret faults (Psalm 19:12).(3) From temptation. I will keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world. The Lord's prayer.(4) From sins of speech (Psalm 141:3).

IV. THIS KEEPING INVOLVES MANY TRIALS, AND, IT MAY BE, MUCH SUFFERING. To be freed from sin is a painful process. It is crucifixion, it is purging, it is refining. It is having your wills subdued, but it means holiness and godliness, with peace as our portion for ever.

V. HOW ARE WE KEPT? In the holy name of God.

1. As in a tower (Proverbs 18:20; Psalm 18:2).

2. As in a bank (2 Timothy 1:12).

3. As in a sheep fold (Psalm 23:1; Psalm 80:1).

4. As behind a shield (Psalm 84:11).

VI. TO BE KEPT WE MUST PUT OURSELVES IN GOD'S HANDS, nor must we draw back. He is a Tower, we must keep ourselves in it. A Shepherd, we must be near Him. A Bank, we must commit ourselves to it as a treasure deposited therein. A Shield, we must keep ourselves behind it.

(G. F. Pentecost, D. D.)

That they may be one, as we are.
The final state of the Church of God is to be a state of perfect unity; and that being so, their present state should be one of growing unity. Alas! how lamentably far from this are we, who profess the name of Christ at this time and in this country! In the text you have four points respecting it.


1. Unity, wherever it exists, flows from God. If you have union in your families, with your relatives and friends, this is from Him. How much more, then, must the unity of His Church derive itself from Him, as its only head and centre (1 Corinthians 11:3). God the Father is the source whence the sacred oil of unity, shed in copious showers on the head of our Aaron, diffuses itself in fragrant streams over His whole body mystical — the Church — and goes down to the skirts of His garments (Psalm 133:2, 3).

2. He is also the exclusive maintainer of unity. He not only giveth His people the blessing of peace, but also keeps their hearts and minds in peace through Christ Jesus (Psalm 29:11; Philippians 4:7). Did He for one instant abandon His children, or cease to fold them to His bosom, every soul of them would become an Ishmael; strife and contention would split the holy camp into a thousand factions, and deliver them an easy prey into the hand of the powers of darkness. And it is to His guardianship of the world that we owe the shadows of Divine unity which we find in it. Peace and unity in families, among nations, between contending parties, whether in the State or in the Church.


1. What is meant by the name of God? In olden times the names of persons were very different from what they are now. Most of our modern names have no meaning at all; but, anciently, the name of a person almost always expressed some property or character attaching to the person who bore it. Thus the name of Jacob signifies "supplanter," and has reference to his having supplanted his brother. Israel means "Prince of God," because as a prince he had power with God in wrestling, and prevailed. So then "Name of God" stands for the nature, property, and character of the Most High.

2. What is this name and character? From Exodus 33:19, 20, cf. 34:58, we gather that the moral attributes of God are of two kinds — mercy and justice. Let us illustrate. Light (as seen in a rainbow, resolved into two different classes of colours, four of a bright and three of a grave tint) affords some faint idea of these two classes of perfections. Mercy, love, goodness, forbearance, and so forth, on the one hand — holiness, justice, truth, on the other. The latter are as essential as the former to the surpassing beauty and loveliness of the Divine character. God would be no God if He were not perfectly just and holy, as well as perfectly loving — even as the sunlight would not be that beautiful and delicate thing it is if it were not chastened and subdued by its three graver tints, On the one hand, sin will be visited by Him; on the other, He yearns over all His creatures with the tenderest mercy. And He will be known to each individual soul, and acknowledged by each individual heart, in both these characters. For He has signally glorified both His justice and His love in Jesus Christ, so as to keep the believer wakefully alive to both of them. For what shall keep him more wakefully alive both to the love and justice of God than the reflection that His justice could not consent to our acquittal before it had fastened upon a Divine victim, and that this boundless sacrifice which justice demanded, love was not slow to make? In the Cross of Jesus, behold the name of Jehovah — the goodness and severity of God — portrayed at once. And it is this unfeigned acknowledgment of Divine love on one hand, and Divine justice on the other, in which our Saviour here prays that God would keep His chosen. The effect is obvious. The little bickerings and animosities and party feelings — unclean creatures that hovered about in the darkness — will vanish as we sun ourselves in the light. Truly acknowledging the true God, we shall truly acknowledge our brethren also.

III. THE PERSONS BETWEEN WHOM THIS UNITY MAY BE EXPECTED TO SUBSIST. It is not represented as subsisting in the visible Church, but in the invisible, among God's elect — "those whom Thou hast given Me." How can unity, being a spirit and not a form, subsist in the visible Church, within whose pale there are (and must be) many hypocrites? If, indeed, it were a form, it might then be imposed from without upon a visible body. But it is a living spirit, which might indeed develop itself in a certain similarity of outward worship, if all the persons animated by it were gathered together, as one day they shall be, and not separated from one another by time and space, as now they are. Let us not look for it, then, or expect it where it is not and where it cannot be. Union, real vital union, cannot exist among or with those who are ignorant of God. It is idle for men who walk on still in darkness to talk of, to meddle with, unity. Their ceaseless petition must be, "Lord, that I may receive my sight!" For those who do thus know Him, they, by growing in that knowledge, will grow in unity. They will have fellowship with one another in exact proportion as they walk more strictly in His fear, more lovingly and enjoyably in His comfort.

IV. HOW CLOSE WILL BE THE BOND OF THAT FELLOWSHIP! "That they may be one, as we are." The whole body will be fitly joined together and compacted in an unity, like that subsisting between the Father and the Son. And what mortal shall comprehend the exceeding closeness of that unity — perfect unity of counsels, of will, of ends, of nature. And even such a bond shall clasp the elect together, nay, is now clasping them, and being gradually drawn more closely around them. To this state they will verge continually while they walk more and more in the light, as God is in the light.

(Dean Goulburn.)

(Jude 1.): —

I. WHO? The saints; those given by the Father to Christ.

II. WHAT? Keep them. As it were, Christ, having obtained them from the Father for safe keeping for Him, replaces them in the Father's hands for safe keeping for Himself.

III. HOW? In Thy name, 1.e., by graciously revealing in them Thy name, which I have outwardly manifested to them.

IV. WHY? Because Christ was returning to the Father (1 Peter 1:5).

V. WHEREFORE? That they might be one. Unless the Father keeps the saints they never will be one.

(T. Whitelaw, D. D.)

There is an aged Christian in Dublin with whom I have often spoken who passed through the following eventful experience: — "Some years since," he said, "I was travelling on horseback in one of the country districts, when the sudden report of a pistol-shot reached me. I was satisfied that I had been aimed at, but nevertheless thankfully conscious that I had escaped. Hastening onwards, I reached my home in safety, and went into the house. It had been my custom for years to carry a small Bible in the breast pocket of my coat. Taking it out on this occasion, judge my surprise at finding a leaden bullet imbedded in the leaves. It had penetrated as far as the Gospel of John. Removing the bullet, and opening the book at the spot where it rested, my eye fell upon the words, 'Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me.'"

(Henry Varley.)

I wish all names among the saints of God were swallowed up in that one of Christian. I long for professors to leave off placing religion in saying, "I am a Churchman," "I am a Dissenter." My language to such is, "Are you of Christ? If so, I love you with all my heart."

(G. Whitefield.)

Christians are like the several flowers in a garden, that have upon each of them the dew of heaven, while, being shaken with the wind, they let fall their dews at each other's roots, whereby they are jointly nourished and become nourishers of each other.

(John Bunyan.)

The union of Christians to Christ their common head, and, by means of the influence which they derive from Him, one to another, may be illustrated by the loadstone: it not only attracts the particles of iron to itself by the magnetic virtue, but, by this virtue, it unites them one among another.

(R. Cecil, M. A.)

When I was in the army before Port Hudson I remember that night after night, when our campfires were built, we boys used to sit around them and discuss various matters; and sometimes our discussions became very heated, and sometimes we lost our tempers, and sometimes we said angry words. But one night, right in the midst of a discussion, there broke upon us that awful, startling sound which, once heard, is never forgotten. Away off, on the right of the line, it began; but it rolled in a thundering, awful echo, until it chilled our hearts. It was the long roll, and every man was on his feet, and every man shook hands with his comrade and said, "Forgive me. When we were idle we could afford to discuss; but now there is work to do, it finds us brothers."

(G. Hepworth.)

On the day before the battle of Trafalgar, Nelson took Collingwood and Rotherham, who were at variance, to a spot where they could see the fleet opposed to them. "Yonder," said the Admiral, "are your enemies; shake hands and be good friends, like good Englishmen."

Separate the atoms which make the hammer, and each would fall on the stone as a snowflake; but welded into one, and wielded by the firm arm of the quarryman, it will break the massive rocks asunder. Divide the waters of Niagara into distinct and individual drops, and they would be no more than the falling rain; but, in their united body, they would quench the fires of Vesuvius and have some to spare for other volcanoes.

(T. Guthrie, D. D.)

Union is power. The most attenuated thread, when sufficiently multiplied, will form the strongest cable. A single drop of water is a weak and powerless thing; but an infinite number of drops united by the force of attraction will form a stream, and many streams combined will form a river; till rivers pour their water into the mighty oceans, whose proud waves, defying the power of man, none can stay but He who formed them. And thus forces, which, acting singly, are utterly impotent, are, when acting in combination, resistless in their energies, mighty in power.

(H. G. Salter.)

When it was once demanded of Agesilaus why Lacedaemon had no walls, he replied, "The concord of the citizens is its strength."

(J. Harris.)

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name.
Our Saviour had just passed through the agony when Judas came upon Him "with a band of men and officers" (John 18:1-9). Whatever might be the reason for mustering so large an array, in order to seize one who seemed so little likely to offer resistance, our Lord quickly showed how unavailing would have been the assault, had He not chosen to surrender Himself to the will of His enemies. By merely acknowledging Himself to be the party of whom they were in quest, Christ prostrated the whole host. But, as our Lord had no intention of delivering Himself from His adversaries, why did He give this signal evidence of having them completely in His power? For the sake of His disciples. "Let these go their way." The Evangelist still further limits the design of the miracle, that the very saying of the text might be fulfilled. These words must have had respect to more than a mere temporal deliverance. Christ had been praying, "Holy Father, keep through Thine own name," &c., and "the son of perdition," was not lost in any mere temporal respect. But what was the amount of the keeping which our Lord secured for His disciples on the occasion? Simply that they should not be made prisoners with Himself, and perhaps be condemned with Himself to an ignominious death. Here then is a promise which would contemplate nothing short of everlasting salvation, declared to be fulfilled by a deliverance from present danger and calamity. Had His followers been required at that moment to suffer with Him, we can hardly doubt, knowing what their conduct was on a far less amount of trial, that they would have apostatized in such a way as to have jeopardized their final salvation. Sooner or later these disciples were to die. Christ would not, then, have lost them by their dying at that moment, "except" St. says, "because they had not then the faith in Himself which was needful to secure them from everlasting death." So that we may believe that our Lord interfered miraculously on behalf of His disciples, because He foresaw that if He now required them to bear the Cross with Him, the trial would be too great for their strength. Let us see what special truths are suggested by this fact.

I. WHAT A COMFORTING THING IT IS TO KNOW THAT CHRIST WOULD SOONER WORK A MIRACLE TO RESTRAIN THE ENEMIES OF HIS SERVANTS, THAN LEAVE THOSE SERVANTS TO AN ENCOUNTER TOO GREAT FOR THEIR STRENGTH There is often a fear, on the part of the disciple, that such or such a trial would be more than he could bear. And the fear may be altogether just, so far as it arises from comparing the strength then possessed with the danger then supposed. But the fear is altogether unjust, so far as it assumes the possibility of God's exposing His people to a trial, for which He does not communicate adequate grace. We might not be able always to die for Christ; but we are not always called to die for Christ. If we were called to die for Him, then we may be confident that we should be strengthened to die, even as martyrs died, with a smile upon the cheek, with a song upon the lip. We may not always feel as if we could in a moment resign without a murmur this or that object of devoted affection; but wait till we are actually called upon to resign it, and then, if we be truly of those who acknowledge God in all their ways, we shall find ourselves enabled to exclaim, "The Lord gave," &c. Trials are not accidents; they may be often unexpected by us, they are never unprovided for by God. God holds the balances in His hand. In one scale He puts the trials, in the other the strength; but the trial does not come to our share till outweighed by the strength which He sees fit to communicate. And, if anything can, this should encourage us to "patient continuance in well doing." So then, whilst there is everything to encourage the meek, there is nothing to warrant the presumptuous. God keeps His people by enabling them to keep themselves. When you read in Jeremiah, "I will not turn away from them, to do them good," it might seem to you as though good were secured, be your conduct what it may; but when you-read on, "I will put My fear in their hearts, that they should not depart from Me," you should learn that God's not turning from us is through the withholding us from turning from Him, and that, therefore, he who strives not against sin has no promise of salvation. And when we have thus warned you against expecting to be kept, though you are not diligent to keep yourselves — for whilst it is most true "Except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain," think ye not that it is also true, that the Lord will not keep the city where the watchman sleeps? — having done this, we may yet by the miracle wrought on behalf of the disciples, encourage you to the building confidently on that most blessed truth, "God will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able."

II. BUT in place of procuring for His followers an opportunity for escape, MIGHT NOT CHRIST HAVE IMPARTED AN ABILITY TO ENDURE? The saying would thus have been only the more evidently fulfilled. Of course, He might had it accorded with His dealings and purposes. But He could not consistently with the laws which prescribe His dealings with accountable creatures. It would have taken more grace than could be bestowed without destroying all freedom of will. Remember that grace is that in which you are bidden to grow; and in spiritual stature no more than in bodily is the infant made the giant with no stage between. You must pass from point to point, improving what you have as the condition of your receiving more. Ye are to present yourselves "a living sacrifice," otherwise it will be a compulsory, and not a "reasonable service." Thus also with apostles. They have not yet grown into fitness for the honours of martyrdom; they might have been presented in sacrifice — they would not, in the true sense, have presented themselves. They had yet a long discipline to pass through, of "taking up the cross daily." So that, though there are some dangers which at one time God turns away from His people, because too great for such a measure of grace as would consist with present spiritual stature, He would have them faced at another time, because the spiritual stature is such as accords with the requisite strength. And the great practical truth to be derived from this is, that you are not to expect to become Christians by any sudden leap, but step by step. The spiritual temple rises stone by stone, as beneath the hands of a builder; it does not soar at once — wall, dome, pinnacle, complete — as beneath the wand of an enchanter.

III. IN COVENANTING TO KEEP US TO ETERNAL LIFE, CHRIST HATH ALSO COVENANTED THAT WE MAY BE KEPT FROM ALL THE POWER OF THE ENEMY. And it is delightful to think of the one covenant as including the other; so that we have the same reason for believing that nothing really hurtful shall be suffered to happen to us of a temporal kind, as that nothing shall finally separate the believer from the "love of God which is in Christ Jesus."

IV. The saving of the disciples from bodily danger might be taken as AN ASSURANCE THAT CHRIST WOULD NOT FAIL TO CONDUCT THEM SAFELY TO HEAVEN; and therefore was it a sort of primary accomplishment of the gracious purpose that none of them should be lost. And what a brightness would it shed over present deliverances, what a sweetness would it give to present mercies, were all in the habit of regarding them as so many earnests of a rich inheritance above! Then might every day of life be to us a sort of herald of eternity. We should not receive blessings as merely to he enjoyed and then forgotten; for they would serve to us for even more than the Ebenezer of old, a stone on which to inscribe, "Hitherto the Lord bath helped us," but on which also to engrave afresh the most comforting declaration, "Those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost." Truly a most comforting declaration, forasmuch as it shows that our safety is in better keeping than our own. The Christian will be disquieted and harassed, a prey to frequent doubts and fears, till he come to regard the Redeemer as having taken upon Himself the work of his salvation, and bound up His own glory with the carrying him through. "I know whom I have believed," &c.

(H. Melvill, B. D.)

"Have guarded," not the same word as that rendered "kept" in the first clause. This is an intensified expression of His vigilant care. "Kept as with a military guard." The first "kept" points to their preservation in the truth revealed to them; the second to the watchfulness by means of which the result was obtained. The former may be compared to the feeding of a flock, the latter to the care which protects from the wild beasts around.

(W. H. Van Doren, D. D.)

I. THE SAVOUR'S GRACIOUS CARE FOR HIS DISCIPLES. While He was with them, He had done all that was needful to keep them in the name of God. The second word, translated "kept," is not the same as the first, and expresses more fully the idea of guardianship, the result of which was successful preservation. Thus we have suggested to us that the disciples were in danger even while their Master was with them, from their weakness, Jewish prejudices, and spiritual pride.

1. He kept them by —(l) His teaching. The whole bearing of His instructions was that they might discern the perfection of the Father's character, and apprehend the saving power of His love.(2) His example. They saw Him ever true to the name and character of God. They often beheld Him wearied and faint, yet ever finding His meat and drink in doing His Father's will.(3) His influence. The influence of a parent over a child, of a teacher over a pupil, of a friend over his fellow, is often powerful. How great and sacred must the influence of Jesus have been over His disciples!(4) He graciously kept them. Their dulness, waywardness, and forgetfulness were often provoking; but He was ever patient and gentle with them.(5) He tenderly kept them, with a heart ever over. flowing with kindness and love.(6) His keeping of them, moreover, involved some anxiety. In the relation which they sustained to Him, and in the work which was before them as the heralds of His truth and the champions of His cause, His thoughts were much with them.(7) Earnestly did He care for them, that they might be faithful to their position, and fitted for His service.

2. But was there not a painful, an awful exception to the success of His guardianship? We must regard the giving here as applicable to Judas as well as to the others. They were all given to Jesus as disciples, and He taught and guarded them all; but Judas did not respond to His teaching and care. But Jesus did not lose him; he lost or rather destroyed himself, and in his perdition the Scripture was fulfilled. The quotation cannot imply that he perished for the sake of fulfilling the word of God, but to show that all things are foreknown to the omniscient God.

3. Does Christ not with equal zeal and care preserve His followers now? Are not His instruction, example, and influence available for us? True, we do not hear His voice, nor see His face, but His advocacy, with the promised presence of the Comforter, is mightier and better for our preservation than if we could actually gaze upon Him.


1. The object which He sought was that "His joy might be fulfilled in themselves;" not that His joy in them, as His disciples, might be fulfilled; but that they might realize something of His own personal and perfect joy. How great and blessed and pure must have been His joy, as the incarnate Son of God! It was the joy —

(1)Of the complete consciousness in Him of God.

(2)Of perfect duty.

(3)Of the assurance of victory.

(4)Of the consciousness of pure benevolence.This joy, then, Christ wishes His disciples to realize in themselves, that it might be their strength and protection. The world gives sorrow, anxiety, disappointment, bitterness, and trouble; but to share in Christ's own joy must ever be sunshine in the soul: for the human heart it is a joy unspeakable and full of glory. Participation in this joy, then, comes down to us, and we must rejoice in the Lord, not only as a privilege, but as a duty.

2. The means adopted to produce this joy. "These things I speak in the world." Jesus might have presented His petitions for them silently. How was this audible prayer calculated to minister to their joy? We feel how important it is in daily life to have feeling made known. Sometimes you may have gone in doubt, in heaviness of spirit and sadness of heart, when a word spoken in love would have relieved your gloom, lifted your load, and cheered your path. The Saviour was more lovingly thoughtful for His disciples. It would have made no real difference to their safety if His prayer had been unheard by them; but it would have made a great difference to the cheerfulness of their hearts. Christian thoughtfulness therefore should ever prompt us to let those whom we love hear or know of our interest in them and our affection for them. This audible prayer would minister to their joy —(1) By strengthening their faith. Although He was about to leave them, they would see that He cared for them as much as ever.(2) By promoting their love. They could not but love a Master who in such manifold ways proved His deep affection for them.(3) By inspiring their hope. Christ had told them that in the world they would have tribulation, but when they heard their gracious Master thus praying they knew that, whatsoever might await them, they would be safe.

(J. Spence, D. D.)

Concerning all saints it is implied —



III. THAT THEIR SALVATION IS DESIGNED, for it is that to which they are kept (1 Peter 1:5).


V. THAT THEY ARE KEPT IN HARMONY WITH THEM MORAL FREEDOM, "kept by the power of God through faith."

(M. Henry.)

None of them is lost but the son of perdition. — A son of perdition implies the quality expressed by perdition — "None of them perished but him whose nature it was to perish." The term is a well-known Hebrew idiom by which the lack of qualitative adjectives is supplied by abstract substantives which express that quality. Thus a disobedient child is "a son of disobedience," and so "children of light" and "of darkness." Judas lost himself. Even after the betrayal he might have been saved had he fled to the cross. There is no "keeping in God's name" independently of "keeping God's word." This Judas did not do.

(W. H. Fan Doren, D. D.)

John 17:11 NIV
John 17:11 NLT
John 17:11 ESV
John 17:11 NASB
John 17:11 KJV

John 17:11 Bible Apps
John 17:11 Parallel
John 17:11 Biblia Paralela
John 17:11 Chinese Bible
John 17:11 French Bible
John 17:11 German Bible

John 17:11 Commentaries

Bible Hub
John 17:10
Top of Page
Top of Page