Great Quotes

Samuel Eyles Pierce on John 17

These words spake Jesus. Which connects it with all contained in the two former chapters. He had opened his whole heart to his disciples in them. Now he opens his whole heart to his divine Father for them, and in it prays on their behalf. O what a Jesus! Who having loved his own which were in the world, with such a degree of affection as to leave heaven for them, now expresses what the whole of his heart would be, when he should be in heaven, by here praying in their hearing; so as they, and all his church throughout the whole world, down to the very end of time, might know what his heart and intercession is in the Holy of Holies. He had been dealing out and giving his apostles the memorials of his body and blood. He had uttered the most divine and consolatory things he could unto them. He now prays with them. And by uttering what he did vocally, he opens heaven and glory unto them.

They could have nothing to do with what Jesus offered, except it was to ponder it over in their minds, and hereby inwardly digest it, and say to every part and petition, request and demand in it, Amen. So be it, O Lord. Let us, secondly, behold and consider the person praying. It is the essential word—and the only begotten Son of God. Yet, not as the only-begotten Son of God. As such he is one in the incomprehensible Essence. As such he is coequal, coeternal, and coessential with the Father and the Spirit in the one Jehovah, true and very God. As such he could not pray. He being essentially, and by essential union with the Father and the Spirit in the Godhead, the Most High over all the earth. As such he could not pray.

But he prays as God-man, as Jehovah’s equal, the fellow to the Lord of Hosts. As Immanuel, as God manifest in flesh. Who as such is the Image of the invisible God, the eternal Head of his church, as the Mediator, as the one and alone Saviour of his people, as the great High Priest and representative of all his chosen ones. Who according to the will, council, covenant, and grace of the eternal Three, became incarnate. He laid aside his personal glory. He emptied himself, and became true and very man. Hereby he became poor, that we through his poverty might be rich. He is here praying on earth, just before his death, as God-man, as the great High Priest of his church and people, on their behalf, and for their everlasting benefit, as their great representative.

We have thirdly his gesture in prayer. He lifted ups his eyes to heaven. Expressive of the fixation of his mind, and his certain expectation of being heard and answered. It is from heaven all blessings come. He had been in heaven before his incarnation. He came down from heaven. Heaven was open when he prayed immediately after his baptism. Luke says, Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and
praying, the heaven was open. And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove, upon him; and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased. Chapter iii. 21, 22. Thus he was publicly introduced into his office of Priest, over the house of God.

As afterwards on the mount of transfiguration, he was proclaimed to be the great Prophet over the house of God, by a voice from the excellent glory, saying, This is my beloved Son, hear him. Mark ix. 7. From his gesture we
proceed, fourthly, to the person addressed. These words spake Jesus, and lifted his eyes to heaven, and said, Father. It is not my father, our father, but Father. Christ stands in a relation to God, and God to him, which we do not. I am not here going to enter into the great mystery of Christ’s person, and the doctrine of the divine personalities, as this will be more suitable in a further entrance on, and unfolding this prayer of our Lord’s, it will come in more properly after. The term Father here, is expressive of his faith and confidence in him, and of his covenant engagements with him on behalf of his chosen ones. An eternal compact had been entered into between the Father and the Son. It had been carried into execution, and was almost finally accomplished. It became the Father to acknowledge his coequal Son in the lowest state of his humiliation. Nothing could break in upon, or dissolve the union between the Father and the Son. Christ says Father, pointing out how he stood, and was as such engaged to be with him. To bear up his humanity when under, and sustain it, under the imputation of sin, and under the infliction of the curse upon the soul and body of the Mediator. Fifthly, Here is the time expressed, thou hour is
come. Our Lord means the hour of his sufferings. It was a peculiar way of expression often made use of by our Lord, as recorded by this evangelist. When his virgin mother addressed him at the wedding at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, he said unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee, mine hour is not yet come. John ii. 4. It was expressive that as all the works of God go forth in their proper season, so our Lord in his incarnation, life, ministry, and miracles. Had his proper season to display his mediatorial grace, and glory. It is therefore said, on an occasion when our Lord had preached himself to be the light of the world, and spoke of the ruin of the Jewish nation and people on account of their unbelief.

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