John 17:20

Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also who shall believe on me through their word;
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
When our Lord had prayed for His disciples, whom He named also Apostles, He addeda prayer for all others who should believe on Him; Neither pray I for these alone, but for all others who shall believe of Me through their word. All, i.e. not only those who were then alive, but those who were to be born; not those only who heard the Apostles themselves, but us who were born long after their death. We have all believed in Christ through their word: for they first heard that word from Christ, and then preached it to others, and so it has come down, and will go down to all posterity. We may see that in this prayer there are some disciples whom He does not pray for; for those, i.e. who were neither with Him at the time, nor were about to believe on Him afterwards through the Apostles’ word, but believed already. Was Nathanael with Him then, or Joseph of Arimathea, and many others, who, John says, believed on Him? I do not mention old Simon, or Anna the prophetess, Zacharias, Elisabeth, or Jo...

Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
1. The Lord Jesus, in the now close proximity of His passion, after praying for His disciples, whom He also named apostles, with whom He had partaken of that last supper from which His betrayer had taken his departure on being revealed by the sop of bread, and with whom, after the latter's departure, and before beginning His prayer in their behalf, He had already spoken at length, conjoined all others also who were yet to believe in Him, and said to the Father, Neither pray I for these alone, that is, for the disciples who were with Him at the time, but for them also, He adds, who shall believe in me through their word. Whereby He wished all His own to be understood: not only such as were then in the flesh, but those also who were yet to come. For all that have since believed on Him have doubtless believed, and shall yet believe till He come, through the word of the apostles; for to themselves He had said, And ye also shall bear witness, because you have been with me from the beginning...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their words. Up to this point Christ prayed for the Apostles, and for those who were immediately converted by them. Now He prays for the whole Church, and for all future generations of Christians, for He is their Father and Patriarch, King and Prince, Pontiff and Hierarch. All these (says Toletus) did Christ as man behold in the Divine Essence, as distinctly and perfectly as though they were present, or perhaps it was by infused knowledge. For it was this latter that pertained to Christ as Prayer of Manasseh , inasmuch as He was merely a wayfarer (viator); whereas the sight of the Divine Essence would be His, not as journeying, but as beatified. So Suarez. With that knowledge then He beheld us one by one, and all the faithful who would hereafter be born, and for each and all He asked and obtained from God the grace which was fitting for each. And it is by the force of this prayer, that the faithful, eac...

Cyprian of Carthage

AD 258
And subsequently He beseeches the Father for all, saying, "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in us."

Cyril of Alexandria

AD 444
CHAPTER XI. That the Son is naturally One with God His Father; and that He is in the Father and the Father in Him, according to the essential bond and character of their Unity; and that likewise also we ourselves, when we receive faith in Him, are proved one with each other and with God, both in a corporeal and in a spiritual sense. Christ is, as it were, the Firstfruits of those who are built up into newness of life, and Himself the first heavenly Man. For, as Paul says: The second Adam, is the Lord from heaven. Therefore also John wrote: And no man hath ascended into heaven, but He That descended out of heaven, even the Son of man. And in close connexion with Him, the Firstfruits, yea, and far nearer unto Him than others, were those who were chosen to be disciples, and who held the rank of His followers; who also with their own eyes beheld His glory, ever attending upon Him, and in converse with Him, and gathering in, as it were, the firstfruits of His succour into their hearts. T...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
After having prayed for his apostles in particular, he now begins to pray for all that would afterwards, by their preaching, believe in his name; (St. Augustine, tract. 109. in Joan.) and by this he likewise comforts his disciples, shewing them, that they would prove the instruments of the salvation of others. (St. Chrysostom, hom. 80. in Joan.) This divine prayer of Jesus Christ is a great comfort to all Christians; it is introduced in the holy Canon of the Mass, before the consecration, as here it was made just before his visible sacrifice on the cross. (Bristow) ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
And this unity is recommended by the great example of unity: As you, Father, are in Me, and I in you, that they also may be one in Us, i.e. that as the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father, so after the likeness of this unity, all may be one in the Father and in the Son. Heretics endeavoring to get over the words, I and My Father are one, as a proving unity of nature, and to reduce them to mean a unity simply of natural love, and agreement of will, bring forwards these words of our Lord’s as an example of this kind of unity: That they may be all one, as You, Father, is in Me, and I in You. But though impiety can cheat its own understanding, it cannot alter the meaning of the words themselves. For they who are born again of a nature that gives unity in life eternal, they cease to be one in will merely, acquiring the same nature by their regeneration: but the Father and Son alone are properly one, because God, only-begotten of God, can only exist in that nature from which He i...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Another ground of consolation to them, that they were to be the cause of the salvation of others. And with this prayer for unanimity, He concludes His prayer; and then begins adiscourse on the same subject: A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. This as again does not express perfect likeness, but only likeness as far as it was possible in men; as when He says, Be you merciful, even as your Father, which is in heaven, is merciful. For there is no scandal so great as division, whereas unity amongst believers is a great argument for believing; as He said at the beginning of His discourse, By this shall all men know that you are My disciples, if you have love one to another. For if they quarrel, they will not be looked on as the disciples of a peacemaking Master. And I, He says, not being a peacemaker, they will not acknowledge Me as sent from God. By glory, He means miracles, and doctrines and unity; which latter is the greater glory. For all who believed through the...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
2. For since He was dying for them, and said, that For their sakes I sanctify Myself, lest any one should think that He did this for the Apostles only, He added, Neither pray I for these only, but for them also who believe in Me through their word. By this again He revived their souls, showing that the disciples should be many. For because He made common what they possessed peculiarly, He comforts them by showing that they were being made the cause of the salvation of others. After having thus spoken concerning their salvation, and their being sanctified by faith and the Sacrifice, He afterwards speaks of concord, and finally closes his discourse with this, having begun with it and ended in it. For at the beginning He says, A new commandment I give unto you John 13:34; and here, ...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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