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John 17:8b:

They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

I'm guessing that this is a translation issue, but I'm curious to hear expert opinion. Here Jesus is praying about "those you have given me" (verse 6 & 9), by which I presume He means His disciples or all Christians.

But a few verses earlier (John 16:31), Jesus says:

“You believe at last!”

From other texts, I gather that the disciples often lacked faith.

So why does Jesus here say they were certain about Him?

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G-d talks about His people at the best light possible.

Take for example David, after he murdered and committed adultery 1 Kings 3:14

Hebrews 11 is a classic example. Here is a list of examples of faith. But another look at the list you have deceivers, drunks, and murderers.

You are right that at that time the disciples lacked faith. A few hours after that prayer Peter did not want to be associated with Jesus. John 18:17

  • Welcome to Biblical Hermeneutics.SE! I don't disagree with anything you say here, but I think the text is a bit more complicated than Jesus putting people in the best light. I wonder if I could convince you to expand on this answer a bit. It sounds like you are attributing wishful thinking to Jesus, but I'm sure he was well aware about the level of doubt his followers were currently experiencing. There's the seed of an answer here, but it would help if you filled in our picture of the text. Thanks! – Jon Ericson May 1 '12 at 16:51
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Isa 43:10 Ye [are] my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I [am] he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.

Though Peter may be used as a classic example of lack of faith as he denied Christ, faith is a different issue than knowing, believing and understanding.

Peter had been given a subtle revelation that Jesus was the Messiah, the son of the living God. Mt 16:16 He had a sure knowledge of that. He did not understand the need of the Messiah to die, and so it shook his faith.

He had done the works sufficient to know that he was the incarnate God, though they would not comprehend the true meaning of that until after the cross.

Their declaration that they know he is from God, precedes his declaration that they know. Joh 16:30

The declaration "You believe at last!" is the point at which he can be finished with the works of the disciples. He can sit (be finished) on the garments (works) of the disciples as he rides into Jerusalem on a donkey.

Now he can face the cross and trust they they will understand at some point that even the cross was the plan from God.

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