6 “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.
In verses 6-19, Jesus prayed for the apostles’ future ministry. He would pray for believers other than the apostles later in the chapter (Jn 17:20f).
6 “I have manifested Your name
Jesus here spoke of His entire ministry on earth. He “manifested,” or made clear or plain, who the Father was in His nature to His 11 disciples. This word carries the ideas of disclosure or revelation. Our Lord successively imparted what the Father wanted Him to reveal to the apostles.
The “name” of the Father represents His extensively revealed character.
to the men whom You have given Me out of the world [the apostles].
The “men” here were the apostles in the context. The Father separated these men from others and gave them to Jesus to perform an office (Jn 16:2, 9, 24). The Father did not give them to Jesus because of anything intrinsic to themselves, but it was a matter of God’s sovereign decision. This is not a statement of divine election of every believing person, but of the 11 who were presently following Jesus.
Jesus could not possibly pray for the unregenerate world in the same way He prayed for true believers and for those especially chosen to carry His work to the world (Jn 17:21).
They were Yours,
The apostles were important to the Father’s strategic plan and mission. They were at the Father’s disposal to carry on Jesus’ mission. They were His to carry out His purposes in the world.
You gave them to Me,
The Father gave the apostles to Jesus for two purposes: (1) to establish them to carry on His ministry that He began on earth and (2) to be the link for His continued ministry after His ascension.
and they have kept Your word.
Jesus gave credit to the apostles for responding to God’s word. The word “kept” means they were faithful to His word (they started keeping it in the past and continued keeping until Jesus made this statement [perfect tense]). It is true that they were fickle and immature, but it is also valid that they remained loyal to the Father’s word whereas others such as Judas never accepted divine revelation.
The word “word” is singular, indicating all the collective teaching of Jesus (Jn 3:34; 6:63, 68; 14:10; 15:7). They did not pick and choose what they believed; they believed the comprehensive whole of His teaching.
Believers are the strategic link in prosecuting the work of God on earth.
Since the apostles came to believe in the collective teaching of Christ, they were now ready to execute Jesus’ mission on earth. They became the strategic link to Jesus’ continuing ministry on earth. This mission would take the new form of the church. Any believer who becomes part of the church also becomes a strategic link to Jesus’ ministry on earth.