How many of us parents, knowing we cannot protect and snatch our children from the world’s traps, pray for God’s power and protection to cover them? How many have wept over wayward loved ones and begged for God’s hand to hold their lives? How many young fathers or mothers, struck with a terminal illness, plead with God to care for the families they will leave behind?
I hear just such a prayer coming from Jesus. He has one last precious evening with his disciples. Jesus knows what is coming the next day; and, even though He has tried to explain everything to them, He knows His disciples do not realize that He will soon be gone, no longer with them. This chapter of His life on earth will soon be closed. He prays a tender prayer over them, asking for their protection. Listen to the love in His heart for them and for all who will someday also be His disciples.
“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.
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.
My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,”
Did you notice one of the reasons Jesus asks for protection? “So that they may be one.” “They are not of the world.”
And did you notice that this prayer also covered you? All who believe no longer belong to this world. And Jesus’ prayer asks God to make us one.
Many families go through turbulent times. They struggle through things that could break them apart and alienate them from each other for the rest of their lives. What keeps a family hanging together, even when they hurt each other, when ideas and goals are different, when perhaps they don’t even like each other very much? It’s a family. Something about that word has cement in it. Something prompts sisters and brothers, parents and children to act in a certain way, “because we’re family.”
Of course, families don’t always hold together. The cement in human families sometimes crumbles. But God, the glorious Father, has put us in a family where His power works to make us one.
Jesus came to this world in a form the world could recognize. He began to show man who God was and opened the door for humans to have a relationship with the Father, unencumbered by guilt and unworthiness.
When Jesus left this earth, He asked for protection for all who believed in His message, all who now belong to another realm beyond this world. He asked that God would makes us holy through the truth.
And then comes the Spirit of God, to live within each one who believes, to teach us the truth and connect us to each other! Isn’t that amazing!
And now I have to stop. This subject of the work of the Spirit is HUGE. The New Testament letters are filled with the Father’s explanations to His children about the Spirit that lives within us. So we’ll look at that in other posts …
For today, know that you belong to something beyond this world, that Jesus prayed for you, for your protection, for your guidance into truth, and for your connections to other believers.
Scriptures: John 17:11,15,20 (NIV). Read the entire chapter for all of Jesus’ prayer.