New Defender's Study Bible Notes
17:20 for them also. This petition assures us that the Lord was praying for every one who would ever believe on Him, not just for the eleven who were with Him at the time. In fact, “He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Note the many assurances that He continually prays for us (e.g., Isaiah 53:12; Luke 23:34; Romans 8:26,34; I John 2:1; Hebrews 9:24). Thus, the wonderful requests He made in this prayer (see note on John 17:11) are for all true believers, and surely will be granted.
17:21 one in us. The prayer for unity is repeated five times (John 17:11,21-23) and is thus very important. However, it has been misused by ecumenicists to try to amalgamate true Christians and pseudo-Christians. True unity must be both unity of the Spirit and “unity of the faith” (Ephesians 4:4, 13).
17:24 may behold my glory. God will surely answer this prayer of His beloved Son. Thus we can be absolutely sure that, if we truly belong to Christ through faith in him, we shall one day “see the king in His beauty,” and “shall behold the land that is very far off” (Isaiah 33:17). And then, “when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is” (I John 3:2).
17:24 lovedst me before. The Father loved the Son long before there was ever any other kind of love, for this eternal love in the bosom of the Father existed before He created the universe. All other loves—marital love, parental love, filial love, brotherly love, love of country, any kind of love—have their source in the love of the Father for the Son (and, indeed, the love within all the Persons of the Godhead). It is significant in this connection that the Gospel of John uses the word “love” more than any other book of the Bible, and the first Epistle of John has its second most frequent usage. The first one of all these, significantly, is John 3:16, telling us that the Father gave the Son because of His love for those He had created! See also the notes on Genesis 22:2.