What does John 17:23 mean?
ESV: I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
NIV: I in them and you in me--so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
NASB: I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and You loved them, just as You loved Me.
CSB: I am in them and you are in me, so that they may be made completely one, that the world may know you have sent me and have loved them as you have loved me.
NLT: I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
KJV: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
NKJV: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
Verse Commentary:
For those who are not saved (1 Corinthians 2:14), the only way to "see" God and His influence is through the example of Christian believers (Matthew 5:13–16). Jesus previously indicated that His actions demonstrated that He was sent by God (John 14:11, 31). The same is meant to be true of born-again believers (John 17:21). Those who sincerely love God will obey God (John 14:15), and that means showing Christian love for other believers (Colossians 3:14). As much as Christians are obligated to rebuke those who teach false things (Galatians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 5:11), there is also a command to be lovingly unified (Romans 14:1).

In this High Priestly Prayer (John 17:1), it's important to note this emphasis. When Jesus began to pray specifically for those who would come to faith through the work of the apostles (John 17:20), the main request He makes is for unity. While in other passages, Jesus is more direct about His divine nature (John 8:58–59; 10:30; 14:9), this reference to being "in" is part of this ongoing prayer for harmony between fellow Christians (John 17:22).
Verse Context:
John 17:20–26 completes the High Priestly Prayer offered by Jesus just before He goes to Gethsemane, where He will be captured by His enemies. His prayer has included requests on behalf of Himself and His closest disciples. Now, Christ begins to pray for those who will come to faith in Him through the writings and teachings of those apostles. A major theme of this prayer is for love and unity.
Chapter Summary:
In this passage, known as the High Priestly Prayer, Jesus speaks to God about three main topics. First is Christ Himself, asking God the Father to glorify Him so He can glorify the Father. Next, Jesus prays for the faith and courage in His closest disciples. Finally, He prays for those who will come to faith because of the apostles' writing and teaching. This moment occurs before Jesus enters Gethsemane, where the other Gospels will record His final anguished prayers before being arrested (Matthew 26:36–46; Mark 14:32–42; Luke 22:39–46).
Chapter Context:
Over the last several chapters (John 13—16), Jesus has been giving last-minute instruction to His closest disciples. These lessons composed a large part of the Last Supper. Among those teachings were several warnings about persecution, with the encouragement of knowing the Holy Spirit would come. In chapter 17, we read Jesus' High Priestly Prayer, making requests on behalf of Himself, the apostles, and future believers. After this, Jesus will go into Gethsemane where Judas will turn Him over for arrest and His eventual execution.
Book Summary:
The disciple John wrote the gospel of John decades after the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke were written. The author assumes that a reader is already familiar with the content of these other works. So, John presents a different perspective, with a greater emphasis on meaning. John uses seven miracles—which he calls "signs"— to prove that Jesus is, in fact, God incarnate. Some of the most well-known verses in the Bible are found here. None is more famous than the one-sentence summary of the gospel found in John 3:16.
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