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John 17:13-19 1
13 “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. 14 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. 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. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Background 2

Our Scripture for today is Christ’s prayer for himself and His prayer for his disciples The first thing we notice is that Christ prayed as a man and as an Intercessor for His people. He is praying to God on our behalf. Yet He spoke with majesty and authority, as one not only with but equal to God Himself. Eternal life could not be given to believers unless Christ, their Hope, both glorified God, and was glorified Himself. This is the sinner’s way to eternal life. When this knowledge is perfect in us, holiness and happiness will be fully enjoyed by us.

The holiness and happiness of the of Christ’s resurrection and the grace granted by His Father, God Himself, is the joy set being offered to us. It is the sole purpose for which Christ endured the cross and suffered the shame of death itself. Christ’s glory was the end of the sorrow for His soul, and by obtaining it, He was fully satisfied, completing His task here on earth. We are taught that our glorifying God is needed as evidence of our belief in Christ, through whom eternal life is God’s free gift. Christ is praying for Himself.

Christ goes on to pray for those that are His. God gave them the people as sheep to the shepherd, to be kept, protected just as a patient to the physician, to be cured of their infirmities.  God gave Christ the people of the world as children to a tutor, to be taught and saved. It should be a great satisfaction to us, in our reliance upon Christ, that He is who He is and He told us what He did.  Christ offered this prayer for His people alone as believers, not for the world at large.

No one who desires to come to God, and is conscious that they are unworthy to come on their own, need be discouraged by Christ’s declaration. Christ is both able and willing to save all that come to Him. Observe the basis on which  Christ makes His plea, “All mine are yours, and yours are mine.” This speaks to the fact that the Father and the Son are one.

Christ does not pray that we might be rich and great in the world, but that we might be kept from sin, strengthened for our duty, and brought safe to heaven. The prosperity of Christ’s prayer is for the soul. He pleads with His holy Father, that He would keep us by His power and for His glory, that we might be united in love for one another and in the work we do together. Christ did not pray that His disciples should be removed from this world, or that they might escape the rage of men. They were tasked to do great work for the glory of God, and the benefit of mankind. He prayed that God would keep them from  evil, from being corrupted by the world. Christ prayed that the remains of sin in our hearts and the power of Satan would not impact our journey through this world.  By this prayer, we can see that we are not left here to pursue the same worldly desires as those around us, but to glorify God, and to serve our generation. The Spirit of God in true Christians is opposed to the spirit of the world.

Christ prayed that His disciples might not only be kept from evil, but made to be better. It is the prayer of Jesus for all that are His that they may be made holy. Even disciples of Christ must pray for sanctifying grace. The means of obtaining this grace is, “through the truth and the Word of God is truth.” Christ prays to God to sanctify us, set us apart for God and His service. Christ prays that God’s own hand go with us in all we do. The real holiness of all true Christians is the fruit of Christ’s death, by which the gift of the Holy Spirit was purchased for us; He gave Himself for His church, to sanctify it.

Items for Discussion

  • What does it mean “not to be in the world?”
  • How do we hand down our faith to others in the world?
  • What are the struggles of being a faith filled person in a faithless world?
  • How do disciples of Christ maintain their strength when the environment (the world) works to destroy our faith?
  • What are the things we can do to recharge our “Faith Batteries?”

Discussion Challenge

  • This prayer is many things: leave-taking reflections; summary words; a call to spiritual struggle and commitment; and most of all, a prayer for someone who loves his followers deeply. How can a body of Christians pass the love of our Savior to those who are around us?

Notes:

  1. NIV New International Version Translations
  2. https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=mhc&b=43&c=17
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