Read John 17:9-19. What is Jesus praying specifically about in regard to His disciples?
Jesus prays next for His disciples, who are in grave danger of losing their faith in Him in the days ahead, when He, Jesus, will no longer be with them in the flesh. Thus, He commits them to the care of His Father.
The prayer of Jesus is for their protection in the world. As such, Jesus does not pray for the world, because He knows it intrinsically is opposed to the will of the Father (1 John 5:19). But because the world is the place where the disciples will do their service, Jesus prays that they may be preserved from the evil in the world. Jesus is concerned for the world; indeed, He is the Savior of it. But the spread of the Gospel is tied to the witness of those who will go and preach the good news. That is why Jesus needs to intercede for them that the evil one will not defeat them (Matt. 6:13).
One disciple, however, has been defeated. Earlier that evening Jesus had mentioned that one of them had decided to betray Him (John 13:18-30). Even though Jesus refers to the fact that Scripture had predicted Judas’s betrayal (Ps. 41:9), Judas was not the victim of fate. During the Last Supper, Jesus appealed to him in a gesture of love and friendship (John 13:26-30). “At the Passover supper Jesus proved His divinity by revealing the traitor’s purpose. He tenderly included Judas in the ministry to the disciples. But the last appeal of love was unheeded.” – Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, p. 720.
Knowing that envy and jealousies could divide the disciples, as it had done on occasion before, Jesus prays for their unity. “Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are” (John 17:11, NKJV). Such unity is beyond human accomplishment. It can be the result and gift of divine grace only. Their unity is grounded in the unity of the Father and Son, and this unity is an indispensable prerequisite for effective service in the future.
Their sanctification or consecration in the truth is also indispensable for service. The work of God’s grace on the disciples’ hearts will transform them. But if they are to witness to God’s truth, they themselves must be transformed by that truth.
|What does it mean to be “not of the world”? What is it about us, our lives, and how we live that make us “not of this world”?|