Read John 17:6-19
Jesus prays for His disciples in a powerful way, words we humbly get to consume. Jesus connects Himself with the Father and points to His remaining eleven disciples as those who brought glory to Himself and therefore glorified God. We don’t get much time in this world, compared to eternity, but I pray that we will seek to strive to hear the words we read here spoken over us.
For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. John 17:8
Jesus Prays for Them
Most of the time, I don’t want to be part of “them,” you know, “those” people. However, in this case, I can only hope and pray that I can be a part of “them!” The ensuing eleven verses plant the seed that will burst forth in a matter of weeks at Pentecost. Jesus prays for the few within the remnant.
I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. John 17:9
These eleven men are the recipient of words from Jesus. The honor and privilege bestowed on these few are not a source of pride, they were not out looking for fame and fortune. My guess is they were not out looking for anything at all. They were just keeping the faith of their fathers to the best of their ability. Even back in the time of the prophets, though we don’t have a list of names, we know that there were some that remained obedient to God’s commands. The remnant.
Years ago, Frank Peretti’s novel, This Present Darkness, captured the theme inspired by the remnant. After reading his book, and the one that followed, I began seeing the theme over and over again in scripture. It’s amazing how we tend to focus on those who caused problems more than the unnamed to remaining faithful.
Don’t miss this amazing statement at the end of verse 10:
And glory has come to me through them. John 17:10
There is no greater honor to strive for than to hear such words spoken over us. Lord, may our actions, words, and deeds glorify You. Whatever it takes, however challenging this life can be, ultimately I pray that we glorify the Father.
Jesus promised there would be trouble in this world. He prays specifically for their protection, by His name.
Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. John 17:11
It turns out that most of those hearing this prayer will be martyred for their faith. How should we process this reality? The following verse gives us a clue.
None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled. John 17:12
The protection Jesus is praying for has little to do with our physical bodies. His concern is for our soul. His concern is for that which is eternal. This body will continue to decay until it’s buried, but my soul will spend eternity with the Father. As we alluded to in the previous post, this is a very new concept to the disciples and likely a foreign concept to those we meet who do not know Jesus. Our role is to stand in that gap.
15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. John 17:15-18
Such powerful words for these few that will ignite the world on fire through the Holy Spirit. It’s a huge point of contention and stress to be in the world, but not of the world. We’ve heard this so many times that we might simply gloss over the idea if we’re not careful. Songs have been written about the concept to help connect the notion to our hearts. It’s pretty easy to make the statement, but I wonder if we really get the idea.
Perhaps it’s something that happens sporadically, on occasion rather than all the time. While I want to be more consistent, I find that there are moments when I get a real sense of stepping out of the world and speaking the truth that convicts those who are present (including myself). My quest is to have more of these moments each day while I do the work set before me. No, I’m not trying to be some holy guru that sits on a pillow, rather, someone who recognizes that Jesus is Lord and Master and I can only bring Him glory when I separate myself from worldly desires.
The world will notice when we do this and most often it will criticize our behavior. This is what you signed up for when you asked Jesus into your heart, whatever that means to you and how that is bound between you and Jesus.
Lord, protect us as we wander in this world. Give us the courage to be in the world, but not of the world for Your glory. I look forward to that day when we celebrate our successes with You, that day when we see You smile!