Jesus: “I Pray for Them”
Jesus’ Prayer, John 17:9-19 NIV
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.
“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. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except he one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”
It would be easy to just read these words and not comprehend Who is actually saying them. Imagine, the very Word of God in the flesh, the Creator, Beginning and End, the One who makes intercession for us by His blood and life poured out for us on the cross, praying for His disciples–and us!
In the above verses, Jesus prays specifically for the eleven disciples with Him after the Last Supper. Later in the prayer, Jesus clearly prays for all who would believe in Him through their witness of His life (all believers). However, the principles revealed by Jesus in how He prays here are applicable to us today as well. This prayer provides insight into what is important to the Lord regarding His people.
“Protect them by the power of your name..”
~~This type of protection is to keep us from evil and the attacks of the enemy (vs. 15) Recall what Jesus said elsewhere:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV
~~This type of protection is also eternal! The apostle Peter, present as Jesus prayed in John 17, later writes in one of his letters:
“Praise be to the Father and God of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade–kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.” I Peter 1:3-5 NIV
We are shielded by God until we receive the complete deliverance, body, soul, and spirit, that God has for us. And our confidence, security, and inheritance is kept safe, and will never fade, because God has promised it! Another example of this eternal assurance is found in Jude 24-25 NIV:
“To Him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you before His glorious presence without fault and with great joy–to the only God our saviour be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore.”
Our Lord is able and He does keep us from falling away from His love and mercy. This assurance is forever!
~~This type of protection brings peace. As Isaiah said:
“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee: because he trusts in Thee. Trust in the Lord forever, for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength.” Isaiah 26:3,4 KJV
God keeps us in a place of rest in Him. This rest, this peace comes when we fix our eyes on Jesus, and focus our attention to His word. The setting of one’s mind on God results in faith to trust Him more for our needs, our strength.
~~This type of protection is guaranteed.
“Because I know whom I have believed and am convinced that He is able to guard (KJV, keep), what I have entrusted to Him for that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12-14 NIV
What have we ‘entrusted to Him?’ Our very lives, the lives of our loved ones, our cares, anxieties and concerns. Paul is convinced that He is able to keep all he’s entrusted to God. We, too, can be persuaded that the Lord is able to keep us in His love and protect us by His prayers. He is able!!
We have protection from the enemy, an eternal inheritance, perfect peace as a result of His care, and the continued promise of His all-capable guarding and keeping of everything we entrust to Him. We can rest in His love, because Jesus still prays to the Father for us.